Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (JP) is a 2.5D platformer game for the Nintendo GameCube that was released in March 2005. The game's main gimmick stems from the use of the DK Bongos controller, previously affiliated with Donkey Konga, as the recommended controller, though a standard Nintendo GameCube controller may still be used.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is the first console Donkey Kong platformer since the release of Donkey Kong Country to not be developed by Rare, since the company, which lost the rights to the Donkey Kong series due to the fact that it was trademarked by Nintendo, was bought out by Microsoft. Due to the change in developers, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was very different than the Donkey Kong Country games in gameplay, characters, and, perhaps most notably, the personality of Donkey Kong, who is shown to be more aggressive than in the past titles. This was also the first game to be given the "E10+" rating from the ESRB. It is one of the few games to use the DK Bongos, and is the only one to take it to either an action, or platformer game, with the others either being music or racing. In the game, you take control of Donkey Kong by drumming on the bongos, and clapping with your hands.
Story from the instruction booklet:
Pound anything that gets in DK's way as he conquers the kingdoms and becomes the king of the jungle lands!!!
It was stated by game director Yoshiaki Koizumi in an interview in response to the game's minimal story that "The only thing Donkey Kong needs is to be the best, and to become the king of the jungle."
An expanded storyline was added in the Wii re-release.
As it did in the past, Donkey Kong will have to do a new adventure by gathering more bananas and drowning the wicked King Gorilla emerging on the jungle's fate in a series of clashes.
The game is divided into four worlds (plus a final level) and each game world is divided into three distinct platform sections, the third of which ends with the boss of the world, for a total of thirteen levels. Donkey Kong jumps, runs, climbs, swims and fights brazenly and frantically in a glowing color environment.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat uses essentially few but immediate commands: knocking your hand on the right or left bongo will go in the same direction, hitting both of them the gorilla will jump, while a beat of hands will stand up or be tied to a series of specials events. Although the DK Bongos let you think, Jungle Beat is not a real musical game, since the soundtrack does not act or is involved in the action of our hero.
In the Wii version, you move with the Nunchuck analogue lever, jump with the A button, you bend with B, and knock your hands at Donkey Kong with a jolt given to the Wii Remote or the Nunchuck. Unlike the GameCube version, the effect of the beat of hands only affects the direction in which Donkey Kong is turned and not all around. In addition, the system of health and life has been altered, which is no longer guaranteed by the number of beats on the bongos but by the hearts that can be collected during the adventure, for a maximum of three. The Wii version is not compatible with the DK Bongos, but the display has been added to 16:9.
Donkey Kong's moves
- Once you clap your hands, DK will do so with his. This will cause enemies to be knocked over, or effect other items around the level as well.
- Hit the left bongo to go left, and while attacking and enemy it will hurt it.
- Hit the right bongo to go right, and while attacking and enemy it will hurt it.
Rumble Falls, a stage found in Jungle Beat, is featured in the Wii video game Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a scrolling stage. Mulitple stickers, trophies, and CD's are also featured in the game that are based around Jungle Beat in one way or another
- See also: New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
Development on the game started after director Yoshiaki Koizumi and producer Takao Shimizu attended a meeting featuring the bongo controller developed for Donkey Konga. The team spent some time thinking of mechanics that would fit the controller.
After working on several titles using a traditional controller, Koizumi wanted to make something a different input method. He also heard various complaints that controls in contemporary games were becoming too complex and thus desired to develop a simpler game. As such, he was pleased when the game's E3 2004 demo was well-received by female and "casual" players.
The development team wanted to keep the game's mechanics and presentation as simple as possible to appeal to players intimidated by the complexity of modern games. Characters from previous Donkey Kong games except Donkey Kong himself and "the banana" (whom Yoshiaki Koizumi apparently considered to be a character) were ignored, as EAD Tokyo felt the aesthetics of the series were not "fresh enough".
Nintendo sent out fifty people dressed in gorilla costumes to compete in the Los Angeles Marathon on March 6, 2005, to promote Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Several of said runners were wearing Donkey Kong Jungle Beat-themed t-shirts and sweatbands, and some were also carrying DK Bongos.
Reception and legacy
At release, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat received generally favorable feedback from critics. It received praise for its advanced graphics, as well as for the unique use of the DK Bongos controller, which many critics called innovative. However, the game's main criticisms were for its short length and departure from the classic Donkey Kong Country gameplay, as well as a lack of replay value.
The game was rated the 95th best game made on a Nintendo system in the Top 200 Games List by Nintendo Power in its February 2006 issue, and in the final issue the game was rated 130 in the 285 best Nintendo games of all time list. Nintendo's EAD Tokyo studio would also use the same experience from Jungle Beat's development when they went on to develop Super Mario Galaxy.
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- Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is the first-ever video game to have received an "E10+" rating from the ESRB, requiring young players to be 10 years old and older. This was due to to the amount of violence in the game that is above the level of an "E" rating, but not enough for a "T" rating.
- Much of the crew from Nintendo EAD Tokyo would later work on the more-successful Wii title, Super Mario Galaxy, which would also share the same/similar features.
- Sound programmer Masafumi Kawamura is known for his work in harmonizing the game's sound effects to emphasize the visual factor of the player. His feature was previously implemented in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The feature, along with many sound effects, are reused in the Galaxy and present 3D Mario games.
- The helper monkeys that instruct the player to perform a certain move (e.g. hitting the bongos, wall-jumping, etc.) later became a returning factor in the Galaxy games where background characters would instruct the player to perform moves.
- Mahito Yokota's first game since joining Nintendo in 2004, he would later work on Super Mario Galaxy and later mainline 3D entries. It is also his only Donkey Kong game, to date.
- The "jingle" heard when Donkey Kong defeats certain enemies before the fruit goal appears is reused in Donkey Kong Country Returns and its sequel when the player reaches the goal barrel.
- Donkey Kong's voice clip when he dies was also used in the later Country games in the same instance.
- This is director Yoshiaki Koizumi's first and only Donkey Kong game; he also produced the Wii version of the game.
- This is the only Donkey Kong side-scrolling platformer outside of the Country games.
- This is the first Donkey Kong game since Donkey Kong for the Game Boy to not feature Diddy Kong.
- One of the bosses in this game, Karate Kong, is voiced by Hironori Miyata, the current voice of Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda series. Coincidentally, Takashi Nagasako, the voice actor for Donkey Kong in this game and in the current Donkey Kong series, had previously voiced Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
- NSider translation of an interview (original Japanese interview available here)
- IGN: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
- Casamassina, Matt (March 8, 2005.) Apes Run Rampant. IGN. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- Brain (December 12, 2012). Nintendo Power ranks the top 285 Nintendo games of all time. Nintendo Everything. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- Iwata Asks: Super Mario Galaxy (accessed March 07 2012)