15. Donkey Konga (GCN)

Donkey Konga (GCN)Donkey Konga (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Namco
Release Date: 27th Sep 2004 (USA) / 15th Oct 2004 (UK/EU)

Nintendo manufactured the DK Bongos and actually supported them with a surprising number of releases. Donkey Konga - merged into one entry here with its sequels - predated Guitar Hero by a year in a time before music-loving gamers' households were filled to the roof with plastic guitars and bulky drum kits. The premise is old-hat nowadays, but Donkey Konga works very well and, provided you've got the requisite number of bongos, makes for an excellent party game for up to four players. Donkey Konga 2: Hit Song Parade and the Japan-only Donkey Konga 3 delivered more of the same (if you're peeved that they've been combined here, just imagine them sitting in the two places above and there you go) and are worth investigating if you're a rhythm game gamer who didn't perish under a mountain of peripherals a decade ago.

14. Donkey Kong Land 2 (GB)

Donkey Kong Land 2 (GB)Donkey Kong Land 2 (GB)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 1st Sep 1996 (USA) / 28th Nov 1996 (UK/EU)

The first Donkey Kong Country-style platformer on the list and Donkey Kong is barely in it! Donkey Kong Land 2 has Diddy and Dixie rescuing the captured DK from the clutches of vile crocodile Kaptain K. Rool. By simplifying background elements in comparison to the original Game Boy rendition, it's a little easier to see what you're doing here and, as with all the DKL games, the way it captures the look and feel of the SNES DKC games is impressive to this day.

13. Donkey Kong 64 (N64)

Donkey Kong 64 (N64)Donkey Kong 64 (N64)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 24th Nov 1999 (USA) / 6th Dec 1999 (UK/EU)

There are some who blame the collapse of the collectathon 3D platforming craze on Donkey Kong 64, and while it's hard to argue that Rare perhaps went a little too far with the huge number of inconsequential collectable doohickeys, it's a game which turns everything up to eleven and there's something admirable about its unapologetic 'more is more' approach. With five playable Kongs (you know them well), huge worlds and an abundance of mini-games (including emulated versions of the original arcade Donkey Kong and Rare's Jetpac), DK64 was one hell of a value proposition back in 1999 and we think it probably deserves reevaluation after 20 years of bashing. C'mon Cranky, take it to the fridge.

12. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)

Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo Software Technology
Release Date: 24th May 2004 (USA) / 19th Nov 2004 (UK/EU)

Our penultimate entry for the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series is the one that kicked things off. Originally it was planned as a sequel to the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong and this is the only game in the series that gives you direct control of Mario rather than his Lemming-like Minis. You'll still guide the Mini-Mazzas here and there, but for the most part you're controlling the plumber in a lovely little platform puzzler which really carries the spirit of the original Donkey Kong with it.

11. Donkey Kong Land (GB)

Donkey Kong Land (GB)Donkey Kong Land (GB)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 26th Jun 1995 (USA) / 24th Aug 1995 (UK/EU)

We remember the first time we saw Donkey Kong Country on the SNES and wondering how a 16-bit machine could pull off its 'amazing' graphics. Time hasn't been kind to those pre-rendered sprites, but it felt pretty special at the time. Seeing those sprites approximated on the lowly Game Boy hardware in Donkey Kong Land felt like actual dark magic, though. With impressive animation and detailed backgrounds, sometimes the you could get lost for a moment as enemies blended into the backdrop, but the way it managed to capture the essence of its 16-bit brethren makes it a fascinating and worthy entry.

10. Donkey Kong Land III (GB)

Donkey Kong Land III (GB)Donkey Kong Land III (GB)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 29th Sep 1997 (USA) / 29th Dec 1997 (UK/EU)

Donkey Kong Land III is a handsome Game Boy title which sounds particularly lovely and caps off the Donkey Kong Land GB trilogy in fine fashion - it's arguably the pick of the portable bunch. Lucky Japanese gamers even got a version enhanced for the Game Boy Color which looked even lovelier. This was to be Rare's final 2D platformer featuring the DK clan and they certainly went out on a high.

9. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (DS)

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (DS)Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo Software Technology
Release Date: 14th Nov 2010 (USA) / 4th Feb 2011 (UK/EU)

The fourth entry in the sub-series, 2010's Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! is our favourite of the bunch. With crisp visuals, adorable mini versions of your favourite Mushroom Kingdom denizens and a wonderful soundtrack to boot, the gameplay really shines on DS with its touchscreen and stylus. There's a host of secrets and optional objectives to enjoy here and, perhaps most importantly of all, Donkey Kong is back to doing what he does best: nabbing Pauline and legging it up a tall structure.

8. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (SNES)

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (SNES)Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (SNES)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 22nd Nov 1996 (USA) / 19th Dec 1996 (UK/EU)

Rounding off the Super NES DKC trilogy nicely, Dixie and Kiddie's adventure is still a pleasure today. It arguably can't quite reach the highs of the second chapter in Rare's trio of DK delights, but Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! looks better than ever and gives you some choice with a non-linear map to explore and options should you hit a roadblock on your adventure.

7. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN)

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN)Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 14th Mar 2005 (USA) / 4th Feb 2003 (UK/EU)

Nintendo is at its best when its doing something no-one else would do, and a platformer you play with a pair of bongos is something you're unlikely to find elsewhere. This was made by the team who would go on to make Super Mario Galaxy for anyone doubting the pedigree and this really is a special experience. The New Play Control Wii version is also an excellent game, although for some reason Nintendo didn't make it DK Bongo-compatible. The Wiimote and Nunchuk are surprisingly excellent substitutes, so it's worth tracking down if that's your only option, but there's nothing quite like the original Donkey Kong Jungle Beat on GameCube for the authentic experience.

Yes, the authentic experience where you control a digital ape with plastic bongos. Video games, eh?

6. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

Donkey Kong Country (SNES)Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 21st Nov 1994 (USA) / 24th Nov 1994 (UK/EU)

Rare's first foray into the world of DK and his cronies, we recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and despite the visuals not wowing like they did back in 1994, the template put down in Donkey Kong Country would influence every DK title to come. The character's look here is still the basis for his current appearance, the music is incredible and there's a stunning attention to detail in every aspect of the game. While not quite as polished as you remember, DKC is still a classic that should be tracked down and played - much easier now that it's included as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Super NES offering.