Video Game Thoughts: Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble was a 1996 platforming game by Rareware (now Rare, Ltd.) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I wasn’t able to play it until recently on the Wii U Virtual Console. The Donkey Kong Country trilogy was made up of the last big games for the Super Nintendo, but Donkey Kong Country 3 was largely overshadowed by the brand new Nintendo 64 console with Super Mario 64. The Super Nintendo was old news then. This game fell quietly under the radar. I didn’t even know it existed at the time. It wasn’t until high school when I started reading about video game history that I found out there was a third game in the series. I probably would have known this if I had a Super Nintendo.

I was never able to convince my mom to get me a Super Nintendo. She always said the old regular Nintendo was good enough. It probably was, but as a kid, I wasn’t satisfied. Finally, after stores stopped selling the old Nintendo games, she let me get a new Nintendo. By then, the Nintendo 64 was already out. I wanted the new technology despite the Super Nintendo having more classic games at the time. I wasn’t really in the know about the big Super Nintendo games.

I was lucky to have a Super Nintendo with Donkey Kong Country 2 for a few months one summer. I played that game extensively, collecting and unlocking everything. I was able to play a few minutes of Donkey Kong Country at my cousins’ place. I never played Donkey Kong Country 3 at all until these past few months. Nintendo put all the games up on the Wii U’s online store. It was an easy decision to buy them all. Now I got to play this third game that I never knew much about.

The gameplay was very similar to the previous games. There were no more refinements over Donkey Kong Country 2, but they added several new game mechanics in each level to keep things interesting. The graphics weren’t better than the previous game, but they were just as good. The sound effects were good. To me Donkey Kong Country 3 didn’t really surpass the previous game. It was just more of the same. That was fine though because the previous game was amazing. Donkey Kong Country 3 was easily as good. Since I played that second game extensively though, I didn’t have as much fun playing this game. I had tons of fun, but it just wasn’t as new. I think this is one of those cases where the a player will prefer whichever game they played first. Since I played the second game first, I liked it a little more.

There was nothing objectively bad about Donkey Kong Country 3, but there were some things I didn’t like as much. I didn’t find the music to be as memorable or catchy as in the second game. There were some good tracks, but a lot of them just didn’t resonate with me. The story was more light-hearted. That was fine, but the story just didn’t have the same “weight” to it. They went from a heavy pirate theme on a dangerous island to a nice vacation spot with big evergreen trees and blue lakes. The nice thing about this is that it made the game feel a little more casual. I didn’t feel pressured to play right this second to beat it, but it also didn’t pull me in as much.

One thing I really didn’t like was the harder difficulty. The game started out easy enough, but some of the later levels were just too hard for me. I beat the game, but haven’t collected or unlocked everything. I will probably try some more, but I’m not sure if I will have the patience to do everything. Part of this could be from my older age now. I don’t have the same reflexes as when I was a kid. I also don’t have as much free time to try the same stuff over and over until I perform the button presses perfectly. I did a little research to see if it was just my old age, but it seems that Donkey Kong Country 3 really is harder than the previous game. I prefer my games to be mentally challenging now, not a physical challenge. I do exercise to challenge myself physically. I’m not looking for that out of a video game.

My criticisms of Donkey Kong Country 3 are all very minor though. It was easily worth the low price I paid on the Wii U eShop. Even if I never do everything in the game, my one playthrough was already worth the purchase price. I loved being able to experience a piece of gaming history. Very few people played this game because of its late release day. Now I am one of the few that got to. I recently bought several of these old games I always wanted but never got to play as a kid. I will be writing my thoughts on at least one of them each week.

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