August 12, 2013
Gaming in Stereo: The Return of Donkey Kong
One of the best titles to come out of the 6 year life cycle of the Wii was Donkey Kong Country Returns. A fan of the SNES originals, DKCR returned the titular ape to his side scrolling roots and gave back a difficulty many gamers were clambering for. I am finally finishing the title after I have decided to finish games in my backlog before buying new ones. I made it to the last section of the island last night after wanting to throw my Wii remote against a wall for using 20 lives in one level (the game can have a crushing, though refreshing, difficulty). But after I finally completed said level and took down the chicken walker boss in less than 5 lives, I calmed down to replay a few levels that had some of my favorite tunes in them. The music in DKCR is a mix of familiar tunes from the SNES titles (composed by David Wise and Eveline Fischer) that were rewritten by Kenji Yamamoto, the main composer for the Metroid series (starting with Super Metroid). While some have a very Metroid Prime’s electronica vibe, the second track today, is a far from that as possible with an excellent jazz beat.
Factory Friction – Life in the Mines Returns
One of the more famous tracks from Donkey Kong Country returns with a new beat. The main melody is virtually unchanged, even at places (1:04 mark) are retained with little alteration. The background beat and soft acoustic guitar are new, but it feels like they fit with out being obtrusive. I love how the newer mix takes over the track at the (3:04 mark) but you can still hear the fine Donkey Kong noise sampling that was in the original track. It is just a great relaxing track to help ease the pain of falling to your death for the 20th time, though the level this track is in, I completed it in 3. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Palm Tree Grove – DK Island Swing
This track is in a couple of levels, though there are slight variations with each, the most recent one I played was Foggy Fumes. The great thing about this track, outside the awesome jazz rendition, is the art style of the levels it accompanies. Above is a picture of Palm Tree Grove, Foggy Fumes has the same art style, and I love the black and red style. The noir styled visuals give the swinging jazz the added oomph to make these levels memorable. I have had this track on repeat now and can do nothing but picture Donkey Kong at a jazz club, wearing a trench coat and hat, looking for his next case. I was trying to figure out certain sections to highlight, but the whole track is a highlight. Sit back and enjoy the smooth sounds of the DK Island Swing.