After the success of Donkey Kong Country it wasn't particularly surprising that sequels appeared; the first SNES follow-up is now available to New Nintendo 3DS owners, allowing them to enjoy this wonderful platformer on the go. Donkey Kong has been kidnapped, so this time around Diddy has teamed up with Dixie Kong for the platforming action.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (to give it its lengthy box title) has you doing similar things to the previous games, with gaps to jump over, enemies to bounce off of and secret things to find. As in Donkey Kong Land there are levels where you climb up masts, but obviously here things are a lot more visually impressive than the 8-bit title. Like the previous SNES game, the pre-rendered visuals create a fancy-looking game with plenty of detail and good effects such as fog and rain. There can be a lot going on but the action is easy to follow even with the move to the smaller New 3DS screen.
There are still barrels to fire out of and regular jumping sections, whilst the roller coaster levels are like the mine cart equivalents from the first game, but there are also new ways through stages such as leaping from hooks or riding a balloon over lakes of lava. New animal buddies include the spider Squitter, who can create web platforms to get across gaps, and Squawks the parrot who provides flight on certain levels. You can also lift up the other Kong and throw them to collect out of reach bonuses or to utilise them as a weapon, but you should be careful not to misjudge and throw them into danger. Like the first SNES game, Diddy's Kong Quest can also be tackled in two-player mode (either alternating or co-operative); the usual Z and Y method being used to change "controllers".
Sound effects add greatly to the experience, with howling winds and splashes of water as well as a range of bumps, crashes and creature noises. Once again there is some excellent music in the game, with adventurous, excited pieces alongside atmospheric mysterious ones. There are plenty of good tracks here and there's a lot of enjoyment to be gained from a visit to the (hidden) sound test.
The game can get very tricky, but the difficulty curve is well-judged, gently easing you into things. Saving is done via Wrinkly Kong's "Kong Kollege", which could annoy as you have to clear a few levels to get there and coins are required too. Of course, being a Virtual Console release, suspension and restore point functions ensure this is not something you need to worry about.
The two Kongs have some differences (such as Dixie's useful ability to slowly float), but don't feel hugely different from one another. Nevertheless playing through the game is very entertaining thanks to excellent level design and the range of colourful enemies and different locations. Secret places are a bit easier to find than the previous SNES game, but there's more to discover including Kremkoins, banana coins and Cranky's video game hero coins, and finding everything will keep you occupied for some time. There's some frustration as Kremkoins are required to access levels in the "Lost World", whereas Donkey Kong Country's stages could be experienced without finding secrets, but it's a minor grumble in such an enjoyable game. Your save file displays your progress and a time, so if you do find everything you can try again; this time aiming to be a little quicker.
Like Donkey Kong Country, this is a great-looking game that provides a lot of enjoyable platforming action. The fantastic music adds to the enjoyment and finding all the secrets should keep you busy. Even once you've mastered the game there's a lot of fun to be had trying to get through quicker or just revisiting your favourite levels and soaking up the atmosphere. Diddy's Kong Quest is a classic you won't want to miss out on.