Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo. Just saying it sends a whirlwind of memories for most people. There were many great games for the SNES, but I want to talk about the music of the first DKC game. DKC was a game produced by Rare. This is back when Rare actually made good games. Rare has gone through a rough stretch since it was bought out by Microsoft, but that doesn't mean we can't remember the good times. Anyway, DKC was an amazing game. The gameplay and the graphics helped make this game stand out, but what's a great game without a kick-ass soundtrack? DKC featured some of the most memorable tunes to come out of the 16-bit era. That's why I will be doing a Top 7 list of my favorite theme songs from this game. Why Top 7? Well……… I don't know? I was hoping you would. As with everyone countdown/list, my list is going to differ from just about anyone. The beauty of a list is there is NO right or wrong answer. In other words, don't get pissy that your favorite tune isn't in my top list. I'm also only going to be talking about the first DKC game, so please keep that in mind. Without further delay, let's begin. It's on like…..Donkey Kong? Yeah, I got nothing.
#7: DK Island Swing/Jungle Groove
Oh yeah. We are starting off with the theme you hear in the first level of the game. You can go into a cave and check out your banana hoard. Oh, so we already found it? Well, that was easy. Time to kick back and enjoy a banana smoothie and…..
Dammit, Rare. They trolled you and we aren't even one minute into the game. We can sit back and laugh about it today, but that was a kick in the balls. The music fits the area as you're swinging around from vine to vine, while you rumble through the stage with Rambi, Expresso, or Winky. Speaking of which, what ever happened to Expresso and Winky? They never appeared in another game after DKC 1. Are they in the witness protection program? It would be nice to see them get a comeback in the later games since Rambi is practically in ever Donkey Kong game. Anyway, the second you heard this tune, you knew you were going to be in for something special. We can gush over this scene a little more, but we still have six other tracks to look at.
#6: Forest Frenzy
Something about this tune is relaxing, but it can be a bit irritating. Mainly because of what you encounter when you hear this music. It probably has to do with falling in a pit of disaster if you missed a jump or getting hit by vulture eggs. You would think the Kremlings would be Donkey and Diddy's greatest enemy, but I think you get hit by the eggs most of the time. That's right. The giant, mutant alligators are no problem, but don't mess with the eggs. Nobody f***s with the eggs. Something tells me Yoshi would do wonders in this world. Despite the fact that you are being attacked by an omelet, at least you have some soothing music to jam out to.
#5: The Credits Concerto
The final piece of music you hear once you complete the game. It's so satisfy to be sitting back after completing this epic quest. You get an enemy rundown on the creatures you fought on this journey. Some of the names contained bad puns, but that's what makes it awesome? It's funny how the enemy rundown is occurring in DK's house. You would think DK would mind that his rivals are running around in his house, but it doesn't seem to bother him. I would be like, "Get the hell out of my house". I always liked how Cranky Kong kept trying to steal the spotlight during this bit. I wish I could beat this game in under an hour and using only one life. Cranky's a boss. It was also hilarious to see DK and Diddy beat each other up at the end of the game. Even being DK's nephew, it doesn't get him any special treatment with his uncle. Anyway, the Credits Concerto is very rewarding after a job well done……despite Cranky not being impressed. He's never impressed.
#4: Fear Factory
Damn, this is one catchy tune. You can literally bop your head to this song. I always enjoyed these levels since I felt the scenery was fitting. Then again, the game featured some really detailed artwork for 16-bit standards, but I always liked the artwork with the factory setting. I don't really know why I like it, but something about it was well done. I felt with the combination of this artwork and the music, I think it really makes it stand out. Of course, there was some frustrating aspects with this tune. Probably one of the most exasperating levels had to be Blackout Basement. Better known as the level that turns the lights on and off. Who in the world keeps flipping that switch? I always wondered that. If I had to guess, it was Cranky, but you never find out who's doing it. It totally sounds like something he would do. The levels can be a challenge, but at least you have something cool to listen to while you make you way through some well-timed jumps.
#3: Aquatic Ambiance
You can almost hear the nostalgia with this song. Most people remember this as the tune you hear in the underwater levels. I like how Nintendo logic comes into play since you have monkeys with the ability to breath underwater. So, monkeys can breath underwater, but speedy hedgehogs will drown? What's even more baffling is hedgehogs can breath in space. Okay, we are really getting off track here. I found this to be a very relaxing tune. You can almost fall asleep to this music since it's so mellow. I find this particular score to match well with the underwater feel, so grab Enguarde and have some fun exploring the sea…..pond….lake……ocean? You get the point.
#2: Gang Plank Galleon
Oh, I bet many of you are not happy with me. You're probably screaming, "How is this not #1?". Believe me, it's a surprise in my book as well. I love this song, but there was one other tune I liked just a little more. I can't take away how amazing this tune is. It starts off innocent, but then the tempo rises as you're in a dueling match against a psychotic alligator. It was more than satisfying once you defeated King K. Rool. Well, time to drop the controller and watch the Kredits. These are some strange credits. Everything starts with the letter "K". Not only that, but all the Kredits consisted of enemies you fought throughout the game. As you…..What was that? Why did the screen brighten up? Why is K. Rool back up? Pick up the controller and……NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Be honest. How many of you fell for the fake credits? I'm not ashamed to admit that I felt for this trap when I was a kid. I guess that's why I NEVER put down the controller over the ending credits. Thanks Rare for keeping gamers on their toes. I think it was this Nelson Muntz moment that an already great game even better. Back when Rare used to be good, they use to add creative things like this all the time. Of course, later work like Banjo-Kazooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day really showed it off, but you gotta remember back when Rare had a Simian family and mutated frogs to make their inspiration. One of the best final boss themes in video game history.
At the end of the day, there can only be one. Time to reveal who is #1.
#1: Life in the Mines
My personal favorite tune from DKC1. I like how it starts off. You can hear the raindrops as you explore these underground caverns. You make your way through some tricky platforming as you try to find your way out of the cave. The music starts to get a little more optimistic as you can see the goal in sight. Still, all those fuel barrels, missed jumps, and Krushas are getting too tough to handle. The music once again speeds up, but it still remains in that calm movement from before. That's when you realize that you can beat this. You have gained bravery and courage along your adventure and you can make your way out of here. I know that seems a little silly, but that's how I felt when hearing this music. This music was given a very appropriate title, since I think it fits the atmosphere and setting. As much as I like Gang Plank Galleon, Life in the Mines always gives me a sense of hope. Sometimes when I'm having a bad day, this song can really bring me back to reality. Almost as if the song is telling me, "Things are going to be all right". It really helped because this tune had two of the most difficult levels of the game, Tanked Up Trouble and Platform Perils. I died so many times trying to get to the goal. The game was making me upset and sad, but the music would give me that boost to keep on trying. Once you leave the cave, you reflect back on what you went through. Sure, you went through hell. And some of you probably tossed the controller to the ground, but you will never forget the experience and music. It's music like this that really makes you appreciate the world of video games.
That does it for the Top 7 DKC1 musical tracks. I hope you enjoyed it. I admit that this decision kinda came out of nowhere, but I do want to talk about other things besides wrestling. Overall, I think DKC is one of the best games made for the SNES and I recommend you got out of your way and add this game to your collection. If you have a Nintendo Wii, get it off the Virtual Console. If you want to be authentic, go get yourself a Super Nintendo and a DKC cartridge and just slap that in there. I'm sure you will have a great time. Hmm…it makes me wondering what I will discuss the next time I step outside the squared circle….
…..See you next time.