Way Back When
Rare’s 1995 SNES classic Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest was a truly special 2D platforming experience that defined a generation. Widely considered the best of the original SNES trilogy, Diddy’s Kong Quest took everything that worked in the original Donkey Kong Country and expanded on it, offering more diverse locations, more intriguing gameplay mechanics, and more creative and challenging obstacles for players to overcome. It managed to do all of this while remaining faithful to the first game with its core design philosophies, too, maintaining a sense of familiarity to fans who had jumped onboard with Rare’s revival of the titular mascot in 1994.
Diddy’s Kong Quest saw Donkey Kong himself abducted by King K. Rool and his band of evil Kremlings, who demanded the Kong family’s banana hoard as ransom for the great ape. Unwilling to play into K. Rool’s hands, Diddy Kong took off to tackle the Kremlings on their home island of Crocodile Isle, placing players in the shoes of the young ape as they played through 52 challenging and exciting levels on their quest to rescue his dad. Joining him as an additional playable character was his friend, Dixie, whose long hair could spin rapidly and allow her to float. And you can be sure that SNES gamers definitely needed all of that extra maneuverability, as Diddy’s Kong Quest was consistently challenging and occasionally brutal, testing the meddle of even the most hardcore platforming veterans of that era. The notoriously difficult mine cart sections returned from the first game, of course, but it was imaginative new hazards like cautiously navigating mazes of briars or using honey to stick to surfaces that injected complications for returning players.
All of that added difficulty, however, seemed to only make Diddy’s Kong Quest more lovable for fans. Much like its predecessor, the game was a critical and commercial hit. Reviewers rained praise upon it for improving upon the original’s already gorgeous pre-rendered graphics – achieved using the same ground-breaking SGI technology as the first game – and they showed immense appreciation for its thrilling and inventive level design, higher-quality character animation, and stellar soundtrack. The game was the second best-selling title of 1995 and ended its run as the sixth best-selling title of the SNES generation, going down in history as one of the best 2D platformers ever made. It was followed up with a 1996 sequel called Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! before the series fell silent for over a decade. Retro Studios later revived the property and have released two games since, including Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for the Wii U, both of which were re-released for newer systems (3DS and Switch, respectively) later in their lifespans.
Where You Can Play It Now
There are a few methods of playing this excellent sequel, but if you’re hoping to dive into Diddy’s outing right away with access to the most features, your best option will be to check it out via the Nintendo Switch Online service. Do keep in mind, however, that the subscription costs $3.99 a month or $19.99 a year.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest:
- Wii U (Virtual Console)
- New Nintendo 3DS (Virtual Console)
- Nintendo Switch (via Nintendo Switch Online membership)
The original Donkey Kong Country is available on all of those same platforms, as is the final game of the SNES trilogy, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! Working through those three will get you all caught up with the classics, then you can make sure to take a look at Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii, 3DS) and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U, Switch) to finish up the entirety of this popular Nintendo franchise. You’re almost guaranteed to be clamoring for a new entry in the series immediately afterward.