Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 14, 2005
System: GameCube
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Probably the world's first and only bongo-controlled platform game.

0:01 Pressing the start button to start a game is so passe. Clapping your hands to start is where it's at.
0:02 Instead of ponderous text, the game uses simple on-screen pictures to tell you how to play. Hitting the right bongo moves right, left bongo moves left, both together jump, and clap is attack/action. The whole tutorial is over in about a minute. This is how it should be done!
0:04 The focus of the first level seems to be getting you to beat the bongos as much as possible. I have to take off my ring because of the constant clapping.
0:05 Monkeys in the background clap and play instruments with the background music. The little things matter!
0:06 A little bonus game has you pounding bongos as fast as possible to eat bananas. Again, the point seems to be maximum drum beatage.
0:09 The levels so far are pretty straightforward and easy to blaze through in a couple of minutes. If you stop to look for secrets, though, there's much more to them.
0:10 Frog's blow up into Shrek-style balloons when you clap. So cute! The whole game, in fact, is full of a vibrancy and life that used to be much more common in games. What happened?
0:12 Already at the first boss battle, a one-on-one fight with the dreadlocked "Dread Kong." I know it's the first boss and all, but I beat him simply by constantly banging the drums. He doesn't even touch me. No strategy at all... way too easy.
0:14 The kingdoms so far are called Banana, Orange and Watermelon. I sense a pattern....
0:15 I start the next level riding a bull?! No cut scenes or explanatory text, just dive right in. Nice and old school.
0:17 The level ends with a bull-jumping contest off a ski-jump. Loads of fun. Then I'm into the next level within five seconds. The pace in frenetic!
0:21 Annoyance #1: There's a big, zoomed in Donkey Kong in the corner for no apparent reason. Totally unnecessary.
0:22 The second boss battle is better. I have to jump, latch on to an egg, and beat it with bongos. Still easy, but at least there's some strategy and sense of a threat.
0:25 This minute primarily spent clapping, to great effect.
0:27 Donkey Kong spikes the pig-like enemies into each other, volleyball style. Whee!
0:31 One of the most striking things about the game: the camera zooms in dramatically to highlight important moments. Helps with the timing and pacing.
0:37 My palms and elbows are sore from all the pounding. A game hasn't hurt me this much since Dance Dance Revolution.
0:42 Turret Tusk is most interesting boss yet. I clap to pick up pineapple grandes,turn then clap again to throw them. For a game with only four inputs, they manage to squeeze out a lot of control versatility.
0:48 I've encountered so much weird stuff, I don't know where to start. There are flowers floating everywhere, I ride on giant birds and red stretchy parachutes, electrified kumquats are weapons, etc. etc. It's like Donkey Kong in Wonderland.
0:51 I'm picking up on stringing banana collection together to get large combos going. It's lots of fun to try and stay in the air for more points.
0:52 My arms hurt as I type this.
0:56 The most surreal moment yet, Donkey Kong is sucked into a flower and spit out in a floating soap bubble.I like the light, floaty music.
0:58 Swimming controls a little awkwardly. DK naturally floats up, the bongos make him swim down and to the side slightly. This is the opposite of most platformers, where you naturally sink. Does DK just have a lot of air in his head?
1:01 The gentle flow of most levels reminds me of Loco Roco, except with much better control.
1:03 Karate Kong is an actual hard boss. Finally. Another one-on-one battle, but this time I actually have to clap to dodge his attacks, then find an opening. Interesting timing fun.

Would I play this game for more than an hour: Hell yes!
Why? Just to see what other crazy stuff there is. But I think I'll rest my weary arms first...

This review is based on a retail version purchased from Gamestop, with the Bongos, for $10. Cheap!


PsyGuy said...

fun game. the only reason i got into it was because of donkey konga, another great game.

awesome review by the way.

PacoDG said...

Holy crap, $10, I think I will be going out to the two GameStops in my area.. (or at least call them.. in fact.. yes, that is what ill do)

bionerd said...

DK:JB, a very fun game, but a little short. I played it everyday for about an hour or so until I beat it (double meaning there). A lot of people complained about the bongo controllers, but I found them rather enjoyable for a game like this. I just wished that there were more games for the 'cube that used these input devices like DK:JB does. Nice review by the way.

Nounet said...


Anybody knows if this is playable on the Wii (are the Bongos connectable?)

I don't think so, but who knows?


Kyle said...

It definitely works on the Wii. In fact I played it on my Wii. Just open the flap at the top to reveal the GameCube controller ports.

Nounet said...


Let's find one on ebay :-)

JohnH said...

Wait until you see the sky level!

As for finding the game, you might not even have to look on eBay, check your local game store, for some reason lots of them overstocked on both the game and bongos.

I'm hoping that Barrel Blast will retain bongo support as an extra.

Anonymous said...

Apparently in Japan you have 2 sequels to that game. Too bad the Wii and gamecube are region locked.