Donkey Kong Country 2 is the consummate definition of "middle of the road." So much so in fact that it's in danger of getting run over - not that I would shed a tear.

Where do I begin with my assessment of DKC 2? How about, "It's exactly like DKC only different?" Despite the obvious contradiction, this game is very similar to the last one - with a few minor differences. It's not quite an exact port of the decade-old SNES version but it's close enough for comfort. Anyone that's familiar with that old game will feel right at home. I can't really see too many people getting misty eyed on a DKC 2 nostalgia trip since it wasn't really a great game to begin with. It's a decent platformer but the whole gameplay was overshadowed by the much-hyped graphics.

There can be no debate that the graphics of DKC 2 were legendary for its time, but such is not the case with this re-release. The graphics have lost their edge. There's not much else to "wow" gamers who must now face the fact that this game is just an average platformer.

Donkey Kong is not a playable character in this game, instead we get to control Diddy Kong and his gal-pal Dixie Kong. She's capable of using her ponytail as a whip to take out enemies and also to glide in the air as she spins them like a helicopter. Not exactly unique moves to the platform genre but certainly new to the DK series.

Alas, most of the moves are of the standard run, jump and bounce variety. There is a buddy toss move which lets you pitch your companion into the air to access areas that would otherwise be out of reach. Other moves include the cartwheel roll and the Diddy dash. Don't forget that there are still plenty of vines to climb up and down on.

All of the moves serve a useful purpose and despite my surly attitude toward this game I must admit that the controls are extremely solid. In general, the entire gameplay mechanics are excellent.

Collecting plays a huge role in the game. Accumulating extra lives is as easy as breathing. It seems there's no limit to the amount of lives that you can collect which lowers the challenge of the game to about the same difficulty as breathing.

Up to four players can take part in the mini games. In one, you have to fly through hoops while another is an ostrich race. These games are nothing special and shouldn't be used as an incentive to purchase this game. The mini-games in Wario Wares are more fun and there are hundreds of them.

Graphically the game doesn't look bad compared to other GBA games but it's exactly the same as the last version. The music is thicker sounding and less arcade influenced. It sounds great with the headphones. The sound effects are average but they do the trick.

Playing DKC 2 is the equivalent of going to a restaurant and only ordering the appetizer. Sure, it's something to eat but you're missing out on the filet Minot by chewing on cheese-covered tacos. In other words, it's a good game for younger kids who would rather have a hot dog than the Chicken Kiev.

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System: GBA
Dev: Rare
Pub: Nintendo
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Shelby