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Game Review

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Alex Olney

Donkey wish your girlfriend was Kong like me?

Having stunned audiences with Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, Rare had an awful lot to live up to on the final entry of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! sees the titular hero take centre stage after being second to the delightful Diddy Kong in the previous game, and as unique as she is as a Kong, Dixie just doesn’t have the same level of personality as Diddy. Joining her is her cousin – and younger brother of Chunky Kong – Kiddy Kong, a toddler who plays and behaves almost identically to Donkey Kong in the first Donkey Kong Country.

Graphically the game is as good as its predecessors, but the environments the Kongs have to overcome aren’t quite as exciting as those that came before. This instalment does feature a free-roaming overworld, though, as opposed to the linear series of paths presented in the past two games — you do feel a greater sense of freedom. There are also secrets hidden in the overworld that weren’t a part of the previous games, so you can’t simply rely on the levels to unlock everything as you could in Donkey Kong Country 2, which adds a nice change of pace.

The bonuses that you have to find are much the same as they were in Donkey Kong Country 2, which isn’t really a point against the game, as the method of attaining said bonuses is so well done that there’s no obvious way it could have been improved. The Bonus Barrels are a little easier to find though, so it’s probably better for those less experienced in the platforming genre.

Speaking of difficulty, this is the easiest one of the bunch. Lives are plentiful and enemies and bottomless pits are few; the levels also don’t have quite the same variety as its immediate predecessor, in particular. Levels in a similar world will often have not only the same assets but feel overly familiar; that could be fine for any normal platformer, but when you’re the follow up to two excellent games — with the second arguably one of the finest games to grace the SNES — a little more effort would have been welcome.

One of the most impressive features of Donkey Kong Country 2 and the original was the amazing music that the developer managed to get running on a 16-bit system like the SNES. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Donkey Kong Country 3. The soundtrack is by no means bad, but most of the songs are largely forgettable with only a few gems hidden here and there, whilst the second outing’s offerings were so much more creative and memorable.

All of these points are not to suggest that Donkey Kong Country 3 is a bad game. On the contrary, it is still one of the best platformers on the SNES, with spot-on controls, beautiful visuals and a handful of interesting new mechanics brought into play. One of these can be discovered early on in the game in the form of doors that have to be housed open and passed under before slamming shut in your Kongs’ faces. It’s something that’s been around in gaming before, but it’s new to the series and adds an element of speed that was previously only really felt in the time-orientated bonus areas.


There’s not much to say about Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! that hasn’t already been said about its predecessors. It’s an immensely well-polished game with an excellent atmosphere and hugely enjoyable levels. It’s just that the game had so much to live up to it would have almost been impossible to succeed Donkey Kong Country 2, particularly. This game doesn’t bring an awful lot of new ideas to the table, but rather feels like an extension of what came before — that should, nevertheless, be reason enough to download it and complete your Donkey Kong Country Virtual Console collection. If you’ve not played the second entry in the series, play this one first so your experience ascends in the most pleasing manner possible.

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User Comments (50)



bro2dragons said:

Kiddy is my favorite of the three playable Kongs. He and the overworld are the only parts of this game that to me stand out as better than the other two. The environments are different, and I like the greater presence of water to set the feel apart, but all in all, it doesn't have QUITE the same level of quality as the other two.

But, as the review says, that doesn't mean it's not a MUST-HAVE for any and all platformer fans.



Mk_II said:

OTOH i think this one just hits the sweet spot with regards to difficulty. DKC 2 really is a bit too difficult with lots of instant death traps.



Samuel-Flutter said:

There's just something about these older Donkey Kong games that the newer ones can't capture. I love all three of the original DKC games, but this was my least favorite. It probably has to do with the fact that the level of challenge wasn't as high. When you have to play through five levels before reaching Funky's flights or Candy/Wrinkly save points, it can get quite difficult.



ricklongo said:

For me it goes:

DKC2 - 10/10
DKC / DKC 3 - 9/10

Still think this is overall better than the first one, though.

EDIT: Oh, about the music: David Wise was barely involved in this one, which is why it doesn't measure up to DKC and (especially) DKC2. That said, there are quite a few memorable tunes, my favorite being "Water World".




ULTRA-64 said:

Best tag line since ....forever!!! Truly great work, who came up with that one? =)



Captain_Toad said:

"Speaking of difficulty, this is the easiest one of the bunch." Ohh, so this is why I had an easier time fully finishing DKC3 than DKC2 when I was like 6 or is it 10-12. (Mostly since my cousin's DKC2 had an unreliable save battery.)



Yorumi said:

Meanwhile in the US noa still hates us. Seeing all these reviews has made me really want to play these games again. I don't have them and when they were said to have been going away I tried to get on an get them but they were already gone. Nintendo just doesn't like money anymore.



Dpishere said:

Looking forward to picking this one up in order to complete my collection! Now it just needs to come to the Americas!



Giygas_95 said:

Water World and Rockface Rumble really are the best songs in this game. Hope the DKC games get released on the Wii U over here in North America soon.

Personally, though, as far as actual level design goes, I'd have to say that this is the hardest of the bunch. It's more forgiving than the first two as far as saving your progress is concerned though.



NintyMan said:

I actually really like the northern, temperate environments in this game. They did a fantastic job capturing the atmosphere. It feels like I'm playing through the Rocky Mountains.

While not bad at all, I agree that the soundtrack wasn't as good as the first two games. Even the GBA remake's soundtrack was better. But there was still a few good hits like Rockface Rumble and Hot Pursuit.

I don't like it as much as the first two games, but it's still a very good game and a must-play for any DK and/or platforming fan.



DRL said:

This is my favorite of the original trilogy. I just love the atmosphere of the Northern Kremisphere.



MussakkuLaden said:

I like the settings of this one most. By contrast, I hated the second for its settings, especially the first couple of levels.



Obito_Sigma said:

DKC2 is still the best for me. I am just waiting for these games to come out to the west...



NintyMan said:

Even though it is the easiest of the trilogy, there were still some tough levels. Remember the level with the lightning that would try to strike you throughout the level? Yikes...

The minigames against Cranky Kong are fun.

When not judging it by the other two games, Donkey Kong Country 3 is still a very good game that I enjoy playing. I hope that whenever this and the others release in North America that more people will appreciate the look and feel of this game, as I think that's what really stands out with this installment.



Taceus said:

Tagline +1.
This is the only DKC game I've yet to play. I have to correct that asap.



SMW said:

Now this game is my favorite DKC of the three! I love the hub map, the variety of stages, the bosses, the music, Swanky's pitching minigame, the sidequests, and of course the Kongs themselves!

On a side note, that one underwater lurchin boss, Barbos, drove me insane! Now Bleak's House, thats one of my all time favorite bosses. Snowball fight!



Anchel said:

Seems like I'm one of the few (maybe even alone?) who prefer DKC3 over any of the other titles in the series.

I found the level design of this game way more entertaining, the characters more charming, the environments more colorful and detailed, and the overworld fun to explore with its mysteries and the bears giving you items.

The music seems to get lower scores for most people, but I for one loved themes like the one for the bonus levels, the underwater theme, the tree levels... I found it cheerful or moody at the right times.



NintyMan said:

The boss battles are pretty cool in this game, the one against Bleak the evil snowman especially.

One thing about the music that I kind of don't like is how dark it sounds in some levels. The forest music sounds really ominous and doesn't fit some of the levels, but it does fit the one where a giant saw chases you up the trees.



Kafei2006 said:

This one is, in my opinion, less good looking (not as many crazy graphical effects in the backgrounds and seemingly less contrast in the colours used) and sounding than the second one (understand me, I'm not talking about sound quality but in terms of the genius in the compositions), but offers a better balance of difficulty overall, better level design. DKC2 has more pretty straightforward FLAT levels that were just successions of hazards one after the other, whereas this one has more levels that have you go horizontally AND vertically in comparison. And this one also offers better distractions from the main platforming with its more adventure oriented ideas, that consolidate the overall experience for me.

DKC2 was more in your face visually and audibly, but also more straightforward in terms of what you can do, more unfairly hard in places (and even in terms of bonus room placements, which got ridiculous in DKC2 at times), and also a heck of a lot more glitchy.

DKC3 is less polished in everything that springs to the eyes and ears but is more polished in pretty much everything else in my opinion. If I had to have my kids start playing the trilogy today, I'd have them start at 3, for gameplay reasons, it controls better overall in my opinion. DKC3 is also a sign of things to come from Rareware at the time methinks, where a platform game from them is more than just a platform game but branches into nice distractions on the side, like exploration, mini-games, etc (see Banjo-Kazooie and co.)

DKC3 is my favourite between 2 & 3 for the aforementioned reasons, but DKC2 is an awfully close second place, also for the aforementioned reasons (DAT MUSIC!!!).



Whopper744 said:

Truly one of the best series ever. Only about 8 more months until this is released in the U.S.!!



Franklin said:

"Donkey wish your girlfriend was Kong like me?"

That tagline is both a very sad and very happy event, like a star dying and being reborn.



khululy said:

DKC forever!!!

I love all of them, I can't decide which one I like best so I like them equally for different reasons.



Mario500 said:

Were you referring to the United States? If so, where did you get the idea that the first three Donkey Kong Country games would be released through the Virtual Console service for Wii U systems in the United States about eight months from now?



Whopper744 said:

@Mario500 I was just being a smart elec really. While we get some big games like Smash Bros first, our VC seems to be several months behind with many releases, such as with Super Mario Kart, Sper Mario Bros 3, and Fire Emblem that we still don't have.



Luffymcduck said:

DKC1= Jungle Island
DKC2= Epic Hollywood movie
DKC3= Canada
While not as good as DKC2 it's better than the first one. DKC3 is easiest game in the trilogy but the variety of ideas for levels makes it a wonderful adventure. This is what Nintendo should do with Mario games. No more reused locations or same enemy models, make the art style different with sequels. Kinda like Super Mario Sunshine, but with more level themes than just tropical island.



PigmaskColonel said:

Something many critics don't seem to mention is the fantastic level design and variety of each stage in DKC3. While DKC1 had generally good level design, some levels could occasionally feel similar. DKC2's level design was very tough, but it had many unique assets for many levels that made it very fun to play.

DKC3, on the other hand, is amazing. Each level has some sort of new object, enemy, vehicle, level mechanic, or whatever! There's a ton of variety, and it's easily the best of the original trilogy IMO.

And Kiddy Kong isn't just DK reskinned; He holds barrels lower, like diddy, is faster, has the water skip (which was much more useful than the hand slap), and can be used like a steel keg.

So please, stop saying Kiddy is pointless, people.

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