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Month Of Kong: Meet Donkey Kong's Extended Family

Posted by Conor McMahon

The gang is all here

As you're probably aware by now, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hits the Wii U on February 21st. To mark this momentous occasion, we're running a month of Kong-related content on Nintendo Life — the first of which is this intriguing look at the famous simian's extended family. Grab some bananas, set your phone to "do not disturb" and enjoy!


We're used to playing the lone hero in many Nintendo titles; the warrior out on their own against overwhelming odds. Link alone carries the burden of saving Hyrule, Samus is constantly thrust into isolation on desolate, totally alien worlds. But when Donkey Kong gets called into action, he brings his whole family along for the ride.

The Kong clan are an eclectic bunch, and we've seen them in action quite a few times before. They're a proud and powerful family that wouldn't really look too out of place in Westeros, and with so many distant cousins or estranged relatives, it can get a little difficult to keep track of them all. But worry not, ape fan, because we here at Nintendo Life have got the definitive guide on this banana-filled family tree.

The Main Family

First of all, we've got the main bunch (pun entirely intended). These guys should look pretty familiar to you, and most will be playable in the upcoming title Tropical Freeze.

Diddy and Donkey Kong – Almost certainly the most active Uncle/Nephew duo in gaming, these two hairy pals are chilled out just as long as their banana hoard is fully-stocked. With a taste in fashion that definitely didn't extend to wearing pants, they kicked off the Donkey Kong Country series together on SNES and never looked back.

DK is the face of the family, and has appeared in pretty much every title out there — even joining Mario for some parties, kart racing and a little competitive sport. He's surprisingly agile for a giant ape, but we can't deny he's got a bit of a temper. Diddy is a little more sprightly, and enjoyed success as the lead character in Donkey Kong Country 2 before taking to the track in Diddy Kong Racing on the N64. Often unfairly labelled as the 'Scrappy Doo' of the Kongs, he's got enough charm to last a while yet....but that might just be the jetpack talking.

Cranky Kong – The wizened old patriarch, always ready to whip those young'uns into shape and finally ready to show us how it's done as a playable character in Tropical Freeze. He's Donkey Kong's grandfather, and is generally believed to be the original barrel-throwing menace from the arcade classic, just a lot older. He's constantly reminiscing about the good old days, but if it's true then it means Donkey Kong is really just some codename title handed down amongst the elite, like a jungle James Bond...

Dixie Kong – One of a pair of sisters, she's Diddy's love interest and a mainstay of the Donkey Kong Country series since the second title. She actually ended up taking the lead in Donkey Kong Country 3, making her the first female character in the (extended) Mario Universe to star in their own game — even before Princess Peach.

Funky Kong – Although not playable in Tropical Freeze — he is visible, however — this ''cool'' Kong is definitely worth mentioning here due to a pretty surprising link. Take off those shades and you've got an uncanny resemblance to DK himself, leading many to believe these two are brothers. All that American surfer stereotyping aside, he's always been an ally, and ready to offer transportation and weaponry. This guy was a real speed demon in Mario Kart Wii as well.

DK Island Crew

Donkey Kong 64 was a real game-changer for the family, opening up a whole 3D world to swing around with a new cast of characters as well. You've heard the rap (we've all heard the rap...), but just who are they?

Tiny Kong – She's Dixie's younger sister and another blonde, able to use her ponytails to fly around as is a nice bonus. She can also shrink in size, just...because.

Chunky Kong – A real gentle giant, this guy is the strongest of them all but wouldn't even hurt a fly. He's Dixie and Tiny's cousin, as well as older brother to the similarly chunky little Kiddy Kong. Hobbies include hurling boulders and playing the triangle, but according to a quiz in Donkey Kong Country 2, he also owns a plane.

Lanky Kong – This is where things get a little weird, as Lanky Kong is so suitably described by Cranky as being ''a twisted twig on a distant branch of the family tree''. We'll chalk him up to being a distant cousin, and he's definitely a memorable one. With long stretching arms, ginger hair and a bright red clown nose, this orangutan must really steal the show at Christmas dinner.

Wrinkly Kong – Being Cranky's wife and DK's Grandmother, this kindly old timer would have taken a spot higher up the list with the rest of the main family, except for one very important fact. She's dead. Before passing away she ran a school named Kong Kollege, where klasses would konvene for some important lessons. Even as a spirit, she's still eager to pass on a few hints.

Loose Bananas

We've covered most of the main Kongs, but we really weren't lying when we said they're all over the place. Let's tie things up with the last few remarkable members.

Swanky Kong – This Kong has got cash and he isn't afraid to show it. He's a possible cousin but all we know for sure is that he's got a thing for hosting quiz shows and carnival games. With his winning smile and sparkling waistcoat, it's safe to say he probably doesn't settle for living in a treehouse.

Candy Kong – The first female Kong ever seen in the series, and probably the most sought-after on the whole island. She's known for helping our heroes save the game, but is also heavily implied to be dating Donkey Kong, that lucky boy. In the televised animated series she worked for the slimy Bluster Kong at his factory.

Minkeys and Mankys – You don't get to the top without being a little ruthless, and the Kong family are all about solidarity, so when there are a few rotten eggs in the basket they aren't afraid to toss them out. Both the Minkeys and the Mankys appeared as enemies in the Country series, going against their simian brethren to toss barrels and acorns in their path. Described as ''Kong rejects'', they've been exiled completely from the family, and it seems as though they're still a little bitter about it.


So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to some key members of the Kong clan. Do a little research yourself and you're sure to find out even more; they're a surprisingly storied group with enough speculation to compete with the island from the TV show LOST. The only question now is...who's your favourite?

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User Comments (78)

Capaneus

#1

Capaneus said:

I saw the headline and immediately thought "I bet they missed Manky Kong", but he's in there. Well done

antipop621

#3

antipop621 said:

My favorite video game family. This past Monday I bought me a little Dixie Kong figure.

Xiao_Pai

#10

Xiao_Pai said:

Thought this was going to show another playable character in Tropical Freeze or something. lol
(is there a 4th? I remember that game rewards show asked Reggie and it sounded like there was one but he couldn't say, lol)

NathanVS

#16

NathanVS said:

Eh, Diddy and Donkey aren't related at all. You need to change that. Gameinformer said the same thing and it got on my nerves, lol.

NoPLo

#19

NoPLo said:

Did you really forget about one of the Donkey Kong Country 3 main characters? O.o

ChuJelly

#20

ChuJelly said:

Diddy isn't Donkey Kong's nephew. He has been called that on occasion, but the only canon game he's been mistakenly called a nephew (DK64) had also called him a "nephew wannabe" so it can pretty much be assumed he's just Donkey's really close friend. I don't think he's blood related to any Kong at all, and they certainly have never said he was in any recent game.

And you missed putting Kiddy separate on the list? For shame!

SquidzillaStaff

#21

Squidzilla said:

Kiddy gets a mention under Chunky's section, as he's his younger brother! Didn't think there was much to say as he's sorta just a strong baby.

NathanVS

#26

NathanVS said:

Stanley the Bugman needs to come back. I miss him. Diddy Kong is my favorite and all around best kong in terms of gameplay.

Whopper744

#28

Whopper744 said:

Cool article!
Not to add flame to the fire, but as a side note, Funky does say Kiddie is his nephew in DKC3 I believe (also making Chunky his nephew if true).
I've also heard a theory that the original DK is the DK we all know now's dad, and Cranky's son.
Who knows though. I don't think Nintendo intended it to be that deeply looked into I guess though. Haha

NathanVS

#30

NathanVS said:

I only know of the Kotaku article and you refering Diddy as the ''Scrappy Doo'' of the Kongs. Everybody I know prefers him over DK because we all know who the true hero of the series is. Heck, most people who played DKCR killed of DK in 2 player just to play the superior Kong.

NintyMan

#34

NintyMan said:

Awesome article!

My favorite is the prime primate himself, Donkey Kong. My other favorites are Diddy, Cranky, and Dixie, who are all playable in the next game! This article did a good job describing the Kong family except Kiddy Kong should have gotten his own spot, not just a mention. He was the second main character alongside Dixie in DKC3 after all.

It's very nice of NL to dedicate a month to the Donkey Kong series. It would be interesting if there was a feature about Donkey Kong villains, such as King K. Rool, Wizpig, Cactus King, Tiki Tong, the Snowmad leader, and Mario. Looking foward to seeing what features are coming!

Capt_N

#35

Capt_N said:

I'm not too big into the DKC series, but I'm pretty sure most "relations"(parents, grandparents, nephews/nieces, cousins, etc.) are not 100% consistent w/in the series. So, the arcade DK might be Cranky, or not. Diddy may be DK's nephew, or not. Dixie may be Diddy's cousin, or not. That said, I think it's mostly open to interpretation, so I guess this article has it fairly mainstream accurate, I guess(?).

Edit: I will be checking out Tropical Freeze, though.

Rensch

#38

Rensch said:

What about Kiddy Kong, Dixie's companion in DK Country 3. Quite an omission there Nintendo Life.

Mk_II

#39

Mk_II said:

Currently playing DKCR 3D.. if you haven't already, buy it now! Plays much better than the Wii version because that was seriously gimped by the control scheme.

cookiex

#42

cookiex said:

"Chunky Kong – A real gentle giant, this guy is the strongest of them all but wouldn't even hurt a fly."

Except when he has to punch giant dragons, obviously.

Untitled

Yoshis95

#43

Yoshis95 said:

Put your hands together if you wanna clap, as we take you through this monkey rap. Huh! dk, donkey kong, dk, donkey kong is here!

unrandomsam

#47

unrandomsam said:

@Mk_II I think the wii controls are fine. (Better than a gimped framerate anyway). Either is ok really. (The normal ones are less annoying when propeller Mario was a long time ago).

Fededx

#48

Fededx said:

@Lebon14 Yep, I read it, but he deserved more than a mention, as he's a playable character. Yet all he's got is just a mention...

AltDotNerd

#50

AltDotNerd said:

If Funky Kong is DK's brother, that would (or at least should) also make him Diddy's father. Nintendo should confirm this.

ningeek185

#52

ningeek185 said:

Great article, Nintendolife! I think it was a great idea to clear up the family's relations. I personally love DKC games, and I believe that they're a bit underrated. Hey, DKCTP is one of the reasons why I even want a Wii U!

Although I do think that a family tree might be even better...

SparkOfSpirit

#54

SparkOfSpirit said:

Not a fan of any of the post-DKC2 Kongs. They got more irritating than funny by that point, I think.

ThreadShadow

#57

ThreadShadow said:

Technically Diddy is a monkey because he has a tail, so he couldn't actually be related to any of the ape Kongs.

Ever wonder if King K. Rool is actually Wart from SMB2? Or maybe Wart is a brother, or at the least a Kremling? Something to think about.

I've heard many conflicting stories about the relationship of Cranky and DK with regards to DK (8bit) and DKjr. (8bit).
I thought that since Cranky was the original the DKC Donkey was DKjr.. If DK from DKC is Cranky's grandson, then what is the solution to the identity of DKjr.?

Anyway, so many good times with all these games!

duffmmann

#60

duffmmann said:

@ThreadShadow DK jr must therefore be Cranky Kong's son and DK's dad, making the DK we all know and love to be DK the 3rd. (I imagine he'd look like something of a hybrid of DK and Cranky, probably looks more like DK, but his face would show some age with wrinkles and the like).

gefflt

#62

gefflt said:

@Squidzilla Kiddy was one of only two main characters in DKC3 while Chunky was only one out of five in DK64, what's up with that?!? :P

StarDust4Ever

#65

StarDust4Ever said:

Maybe I'm just a little kooky, but I always thought Candy Kong was a hottie in the N64 original. The SNES/N64 RARE published games were definitely the glory days for Donkey Kong titles.

Bryon15

#68

Bryon15 said:

Lame. You guys forgot about Kiddy Kong. From donkey kong country 3. Who is Chunky's little brother and Dixie's and Tiny's cousin.

Kolzig

#70

Kolzig said:

There's just something so so very wrong about the title image and Candy Kong(?)...

Henmii

#71

Henmii said:

There's also Hillbilly kong, but he is from the beta-version of Diddy kong pilot (later changed into Banjo pilot)! And there is Kiddy kong! And not to mention the ones from the not-so-good tv series: Bluster, Eddy, baby kong, oh and there is also dk junior!

Its still a pity that Wrinkly is a ghost nowadays! I give credit for the originality, but in my heart I would love it if she came back to life! Why can't they make a game where Cranky goes on a quest to revive her?

Oh, my favorite may be Kiddy! I also love Chunky! I did love Diddy, but my love has withered a bit because of the awful sounds he nowadays makes! Oh, and Cranky has become to yolly! He should be more Cranky, and also look that way!

And there is something wrong with the new Dixie model, though I don't know why! Maybe its the eyes?

ThreadShadow

#72

ThreadShadow said:

@duffmmann I guess that sounds about right. The last time we saw DK jr. was in Super Mario Kart I think. I always thought that DK in DKC was DK jr. all grown up and Cranky was his dad.
I wonder what the official word is from Nintendo.

NathanVS

#75

NathanVS said:

@Henmii

Diddy sounds like a normal monkey. Its a lot better than what he used to sound like. Kiddy over Diddy? Really? Youz crazy!

tripunktoj

#77

tripunktoj said:

What about the evil Kongs in Jungle Beat, DK Jr, Baby DK and his toy versions?

Also I hope at least 3 of the Kongs and King K. Rool (or even a kremling) make it to Smash Bros, instead of continuing the current trend to saturate the game with Mario characters and random pokémon.

Henmii

#78

Henmii said:

Yeah, what where their names? Kung-fu kong, ghastley kong, cactus kong? I am not entirely sure!

"Its a lot better than what he used to sound like"

I don't agree! Just give me the snes voice! Same goes for Donkey kong!

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