Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64
Donkey Kong 64
North American box art
Developer(s) Rare
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) George Andreas[1]
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto[2]
Composer(s) Grant Kirkhope[1]
Series Donkey Kong
Platform(s) Nintendo 64
Release date(s)
  • NA November 24, 1999
  • PAL December 6, 1999
  • JP December 10, 1999
Genre(s) Platforming
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
System requirements

Expansion Pak

Donkey Kong 64 is a platform game, developed by Rare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was released in North America on November 24, 1999 and in Europe on December 6, 1999. The game is a follow up to the Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Many of the levels are based on levels from the original 3 DKC games, such as the mine carts and the bonus stages. Donkey Kong 64 follows the adventures of Donkey Kong and four of his simian relatives as they try to win back their hoard of Golden Bananas and banish King K. Rool. Players can control all five Kongs in eight individual levels as well as a greater worldmap, a multiplayer mode, and several minigames.

Donkey Kong 64 was the first game to require the Expansion Pak, which provides 4 MB more RAM for enhanced graphics and more expansive environments[3] (the only other game to require the Expansion Pak for any gameplay whatsoever was The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask; all others were optional with the exception of Perfect Dark's limited gameplay).[4] Donkey Kong 64 went on to become a Nintendo 64 Player's Choice title.[5] For reasons unknown, this is one of the only Donkey Kong games not to be available on the Virtual Console.[6][7] Rare mentioned on their Twitter account that they do not own the rights to the game, but Nintendo does.[8][9]



The game is a 3D adventure with strong platforming links, similar to that of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. There are a total of five playable Kongs, each with unique (and upgradeable) abilities. The player starts out with access to Donkey Kong only, then goes on to unlock each of the other four Kongs as part of the gameplay (in the order of Diddy, Lanky or Tiny, and then Chunky). Unlocking all 5 Kongs is necessary to defeat character-specific bosses in each level. There are a total of 7 areas (subtracting the DK Isles, the overworld for the game and Hideout Helm): Jungle Japes, Angry Aztec, Frantic Factory, Gloomy Galleon, Fungi Forest, Crystal Caves, and Creepy Castle. Each new Kong that is freed can be accessed as playable through tag barrels that are scattered throughout each world. Additionally, each Kong is represented by a color which works alongside the game's unique collecting system where objects such as bananas and coins can only be collected by the Kong who has that color on the object. The colors are as follows: Yellow for Donkey Kong, Red for Diddy, Purple for Tiny, Blue for Lanky, and Green for Chunky.

Each playable Kong has several different collectables within the game. First and foremost are the Golden Bananas. There are five Golden Bananas per Kong in every level that only that specific character can get. (One Golden Banana per Kong per level can be collected by delivering the color-appropriate blueprint to Snide after getting them from the Kasplats.) The Golden Bananas are used as payment to get past B.Lockers that guard the entrance to every new level.

Each character can also find 100 color-appropriate bananas per level - single bananas, bunches of 5, or balloons to be popped that are worth 10. The regular bananas are necessary to unlock boss fights and acquire Boss Keys. There are eight boss keys in all (though seven of the eight are actually obtained via defeating the area's boss). Boss Keys in turn are used to free K.Lumsy, who in his excitement often unlocks new levels to be completed.

Donkey Kong in the Jungle Japes level.

A third important thing to collect is character-specific colored coins. With these coins, each Kong is allowed to buy essential combat items: Cranky Kong's special ability potions, Funky Kong's guns, and Candy Kong's musical instruments (as well as upgrades of the same). All of these skills and supplies are necessary to complete the game, either just by killing enemies or because of specific pads and switches that needed to be activated.

Two single items of grave importance later in the game are the Nintendo and Rare(ware) Coins, that can be obtained in classic games in the game. 15 Banana Medals, which are obtained when a Kong gathers 75 of the 100 regular bananas each can get, will allow the player to play Jetpac to get the Rareware Coin. The Nintendo Coin can only be found in the game's third area, Frantic Factory, with Donkey Kong, by playing the original Donkey Kong Arcade game and winning twice (first for the Golden Banana, and second for the Nintendo Coin).

Other items to be collected are ammunition for guns, orange grenades (usable by all 5 Kongs, and rather self-explanatory), Crystal Coconuts, used to fuel Cranky's special abilities, film for taking banana fairy pictures, and headphones scattered in each level to restore the instruments' powers that Candy gives each Kong.


Multiplayer can be played by up to four players at one time. It features three arenas, one special arena and six gameplay modes. The five playable characters from the single player adventure are used in the multiplayer mode, along with a secret character, Krusha. If only two players play in the special arena, random baddies will appear to make the game more difficult.


King K. Rool is trying to destroy DK Isles with a large laser called the Blast-O-Matic, but it malfunctions after a crash that puts his floating, mechanical hind face-to-face with DK Isles. To buy some time, he captures Donkey Kong's friends and locks them up, and then steals Donkey Kong's precious hoard of Golden Bananas. As Donkey Kong frees his fellow apes, they set off to recover the bananas and defeat King K. Rool and his army of Kremlings and other evil creatures.


  • Donkey Kong, the titular character and the first playable character in the game, is a large, muscular Mountain Gorilla who wears a red monogrammed necktie, and his weapon of choice is the "Coconut Cannon". His instrumental attack, fittingly, is the "Bongo Blast".
  • Diddy Kong, who debuted in Donkey Kong Country, is a monkey in a red baseball cap and T-shirt, then later bearing a yellow star on the back, his weapons are the "Peanut Popguns" (pistols that fire peanuts). His instrument is a guitar (bearing the same star as on his shirt) with the deafening attack "Guitar Gazump".
  • Lanky Kong, a newcomer in the Donkey Kong series, is a Sumatran Orangutan whose long arms allow him to handstand. He can also inflate himself to float. His weapon of choice is the "Grape Shooter" (similar to a blowgun). His instrument is the trombone and his move is the "Trombone Tremor".
  • Tiny Kong is a Chimpanzee, and younger sister of Dixie Kong from the Donkey Kong Country games. Just like her sister, her pigtails allow her temporarily to float through the air, and unique to Tiny is the ability to shrink in size to fit into places the other Kongs cannot reach, her weapon is a "Feather Bow" (a crossbow that fires sharp feathers). Her instrumental attack is the "Saxophone Slam".
  • Chunky Kong, the older brother of Kiddy Kong and cousin to Tiny Kong, is a strong yet cowardly Eastern Lowland Gorilla who can lift heavy objects, but (as explained in the theme song) is slow and unable to jump high, and his weapon is a "Pineapple Launcher" which is the most powerful gun in the game. Appropriate to Chunky's "gentle giant" demeanor, his instrumental attack is the "Triangle Trample".

Other characters include Cranky Kong who sells the Kongs various new moves via his potions, Funky Kong, who sells them guns, Snide the weasel, who had formerly been King K. Rool's henchman before he was fired and thus collects blueprints for the Kongs, and Candy Kong, who supplies the Kongs with musical instruments. Some other notable characters are K. Lumsy, who opens up levels, Squawks, who points things out, brings you Golden Bananas when his attention is attracted, and can carry Tiny to new heights. There is also a Banana Fairy Queen, who requests that the Kongs rescue her citizens and in exchange teaches the Kongs an invincible technique. Collecting Banana Fairies unlocks many new options outside of one-player mode, including cheats.

Rambi and Engaurde appear in the game. Donkey Kong can turn into Rambi the Rhino in Jungle Japes. He can batter into objects and immediately kill any enemy. Lanky Kong can turn into Engaurde the Swordfish in Gloomy Galleon. He can swim at high speeds, leap out of the water, and strike with his "sword".

The game has several antagonists as well. The main villain is the Kong's main antagonist, King K. Rool, who tries to destroy DK Isle. The level's bosses are Army Dillo (a heavily-armoured armadillo who is the boss of Jungle Japes and Crystal Caves), Dogadon (a giant dragonfly who's the boss of Angry Aztec and Fungi Forest), Mad Jack (a gigantic jack-in-the-box who is the boss of Frantic Factory), Pufftoss (a large Blowfish who is the boss of Gloomy Galleon), King Kut Out (a cardboard cut-out of K. Rool who is operated by two Kremlings and is the boss of Creepy Castle), and the final, extremely difficult boss, King K Rool (in a boxing match where each Kong must fight). The game's secondary antagonist is a Minecart Kremling [Krash], not actually a boss, and operates mines throughout Jungle Japes, Fungi Forest and Creepy Castle.


The music for the game was composed by Grant Kirkhope who was asked to help out at the beginning of the project.[1][10] The intro cut scene of the game is a music video that features a full-length song with vocals, entitled the "DK Rap". The song was criticized by many (EGM, Error Macro)[citation needed], and the line "His coconut gun can fire in spurts. If he shoots ya, it's gonna hurt!" was named the fourth worst game line ever in the January 2002 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly.[citation needed] The rap also features the line "this Kong's one hell of a guy" (referring to Chunky Kong); a remixed version of the "DK Rap" was in Super Smash Bros. Melee as part of the Kongo Jungle stage, in which the word "hell" was replaced with "heck". This version was also one of the selectable songs in Donkey Konga, but only has the parts of the first three characters. The remixed version heard in Melee was also in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The song is performed by James W. Norwood, Jr. in Melee, who used several different voices and effects for the remix in that game.

There was also a scrapped level from another Rare platformer Banjo-Kazooie. It was later made for Donkey Kong 64, and used the same music.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 88%[11]
Metacritic 90 of 100[12]
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 8.37 of 10[11]
GamePro 5 of 5[11]
GameSpot 9.0 of 10[13]
IGN 9.0 of 10[14]
Nintendo Power 8.6 of 10[11]
GameSpot: Editors' Choice Award[13]
E3 1999 Game Critics Awards: Best Platformer[15]

Donkey Kong 64 was released to highly positive reviews. Review scores range from 80% to 100%, with an average of 88% on review aggregate site GameRankings. The most commonly cited issue was the lackluster multiplayer mode and unwarranted tediousness and difficulty of some parts. GameSpot claimed "it lacks enough 'wow factor' to exert the revolutionary influence that Donkey Kong Country had"[13] and IGN reports that while it is "not the leap and bound that Donkey Kong Country was for Super NES, [it] is still an excellent platformer all the same".[14]


  • Nintendo Power Award for 1999's overall game of the year
  • E3 1999 Game Critics Awards: Best Platformer


  1. ^ a b c "Donkey Kong 64 Video Game Music Compositions". Grant Kirkhope. Archived from the original on 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  2. ^ "ドンキーコング64第3回". ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞. 13 January 2000. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Accessories / Expansion Pak". Archived from the original on 2001-06-10. 
  4. ^ "Nintendo 64 Accessories". Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  5. ^ "Player's Choice". Archived from the original on 2001-06-11. 
  6. ^ Rare Ltd. (September 18, 2009). "Welcome To Rare Version 2.0". Archived from the original on 2009-09-18.,%202009.txt. 
  7. ^ "Who Knows Why Donkey Kong 64 Hasn't Been Released on VC? Not Rare". October 15, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  8. ^ Valay, Wii (September 20, 2010). "Rare reaffirms that Donkey Kong 64 belongs to Nintendo". Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  9. ^ @RareLtd (September 20, 2010). "What's with all the "let Nintendo put DK64 on Virtual Console" emails over the weekend? It already belongs to Nintendo, you crazy kids.".!/RareLtd/status/25013528136. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  10. ^ "The Rare Music Team". Tepid Seat. Rare. December 2004. Archived from the original on 2006-01-01. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Donkey Kong 64 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  12. ^ "Donkey Kong 64 (n64: 1999): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  13. ^ a b c "Donkey Kong 64 for Nintendo 64 Review - Nintendo 64 Donkey Kong 64 Review". GameSpot. 1999-11-22. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  14. ^ a b "IGN: Donkey Kong 64 Review". IGN. 1999-11-24. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  15. ^ "Game Critics Awards". Game Critics Awards. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 

External links

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