02 Dec, 2004

Donkey Konga Review

GCN Review | Is the rhythm in this game?
Every console has a fantastic Christmas lineup this year, while the Gamecube does have an admittably smaller lineup that doesn’t mean that it is any less than stellar. There are some huge titles which are being released for the Gamecube including Metroid Prime 2, Pikmin II and the title we have in front of us, Donkey Konga.

It is important to note from the outset that Donkey Konga isn’t your conventional Donkey Kong game. The game (which retails for a very modest $99.95) comes bundled with bongo drums in a box that’s nearly as big as the Gamecube console box itself. The drums plug into one controller port of the Gamecube, so setup couldn’t be any easier.

Donkey Konga features thirty songs and the object of the game is to hit the drums to create rhythm, the better the rhythm the higher the score. It’s a relatively simple concept and many of these types of games have been making their way to our shores lately including the Eyetoy, Singstar and the upcoming Mario Party 6. Just like these other games Donkey Konga really is a pick up and play title.

There isn’t too much of a story to this title but Nintendo have done their best to construe one. One day, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong were strolling along the beach when they found a pair of mysterious bongos. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong took the barrels to the “famous” Cranky Kong and he told them that the bongos are legendary. From this point on Donkey Kong wanted to use them and drum and clap his way to becoming a famous musician, we told you it wasn’t much of a story.

There are quite a few modes to Donkey Konga which ensure the game doesn’t get too repetitive to quickly. Street Performance mode is just a standard performance mode, more like a free play option where any one can jump into. Challenge mode will play every song consecutively with the aim being for the gamer to stay “alive” and get through every song. This is a really hard mode and could be the one that most people spend most their time on.

Battle mode is a two player battle. Donkey Konga comes with one pair of Bongos but an extra pair can be purchased from Nintendo Australia for $49.95 The battle mode is a little unfair as some of the POW blocks can immediately drop an opponent’s score by a lot, making for an easy victory. The Jam session mode is just a quick play option which has no score, it is good for practice but most people won’t spend too much time on the game at all.

There is also an Ape Arcade included which contains mini games which can be purchased at the Monkey Shines. There are three main mini games including a juggling banana mini game, a whacking game and a vine climb. These are all relatively novel ideas of using the bongos and we think that Nintendo have made these games a little funner, but they do serve as a quick distraction.

The thirty songs included in the game are not licensed, which is a shame, but the singers have done a wonderful job to make them sound similar to their original artists. The thirty songs included are:

• Canned Heat
• Alright
• Don't Stop Me Now
• Lady Marmalade
• 99 Red Balloons
• I Want You Back
• Tubthumping
• Back For Good
• September
• Richard III
• Cosmic Girl
• Louie Louie
• The Loco-Motion
• All The Small Things
• Oye Como Va
• You Can't Hurry Love
• Dancing In The Street
• Para Los Rumberos
• Wild Thing
• The Impression That I Get
• Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)
• Busy Child
• Hungarian Dance #5 in G Minor
• Turkish March
• Super Smash Bros. Melee Opening
• Donkey Kong Country Theme
• Rainbow Cruise
• Super Mario Bros. Theme
• Legend of Zelda Theme
• DK Rap
• Donkey Konga Theme

The game play in Donkey Konga isn’t as good as we were hoping. There is a severe lack of a proper long game mode which means that often the game didn’t hold our attention for more than half an hour. This does actually make us question the lastability of the game, except in multiplayer mode. (and that would require at least another $50 bongo purchase)

There also aren’t many graphics to judge in the game. This doesn’t necessarily make it a bad game, like all of these games it really isn’t pushing the Gamecube to the limit. None the less, the game looks clean and there are no clear graphical hitches or problems.

The audio is obviously the biggest asset of the game. Thirty tracks means there is a lot of variety and most people will find something they like. The included Nintendo tracks make for good nostalgia and also help to reinforce it is a Nintendo game, even though a lot of the time it feels like it isn’t. The problem with music is that everyone has different tastes and for every few songs that we liked, we found a few we didn’t, and if we did like the song then we might not have liked the version of the song we were listening to. However, there is nothing that Nintendo can do about this and the songs are mostly entertaining.

Donkey Konga really is one of those novel games. It is apparent from the beginning that this was Nintendo’s intention, they have fully succeeded and Donkey Konga is a pick up and play title that is as fun for five minutes as for an hour. However, the game isn’t as deep as we’d like it to be, the music isn’t licensed and Donkey Kong feels a little out of place in a rhythm game. We suggest that everyone at least rents this game and makes their own personal opinion up about it, but as it stands I was a little disappointed, maybe the sequels will improve upon Donkey Konga’s shortcomings.
The Score
Donkey Konga is exactly how Nintendo wanted it to be, a quick pick up and play title, but we would have loved to have seen more depth in the game.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Donkey Konga Content

Binge & Purge: Pounding the Mainstream
18 Oct, 2004 A game! Featuring plastic Kongas! Featuring a Monkey (ape)! Featuring frantic friends and family pounding the silly toy in your living room! Mainstream gaming nirvana! But we’ve been here before, so I’ll be at the bar.
9 years ago
Luckily I didn't pick it up when mangaman told me to.
9 years ago
hey, that's everyones "gaming" opinion.
What did everyone think of Halo?
We've got a "friend" who thinks it was perfect in every way.
For me, it was another shoot-'em-up.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Memory Blocks:
  3 blocks

Bongo Drums
60 Hz

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