Attention, Donkey Kong Country fans: Straighten your oversized red ties and jump into your exploding barrels. As you may or may not be aware, Nintendo surprised everyone during their press event at E3 last week by unveiling Donkey Kong Country Returns. The crowd went bananas.
Although it seems like an eternity ago, E3 was only last week. The sheer volume of gaming news that gets dropped during E3 week is staggering, and you'd be forgiven for not taking it all in. You're not Rain Man. Well, if you indeed missed out on seeing the grand unveiling of Donkey Kong Country Returns at the Nintendo Press Event, by all means watch it here. If you have seen this on the internet already, I offer you our own crisp, clean version in radiant 720p. It's better than the ones you've seen edited directly from the press event for the specific reason that ours does not begin with an edited cut-away of Reggie Fils-Aime's looming face before the trailer begins.
The original Donkey Kong Country was a strange beast - I don't mean the gorilla himself, which he is, but rather the game. The visuals were revolutionary at the time and truly a sight to behold on the modest-yet-versatile SNES. Essentially taking complex 3D models of all the on-game assets and flattening them down to 2D sprites gave a very convincing illusion of true 3D. The atmospheric soundtrack, sounds effects, graphics, and gameplay mechanics were so perfectly in-sync with one another that the experience as a whole was sublime. That being said, introducing the roster of Kong's relatives was almost inexcusable. Funky Kong and Dixie Kong? I'll assume these characters happened when Miyamoto went on his lunch break.
Donkey Kong Country Returns looks to be surprisingly loyal to its roots, aping the original's look, feel, music, and gameplay in almost every way. Though the trailer shows several new features, the most noticeable additions are the deforming/crumbling environments and the ability to occasionally jump into the background scenery, presumably to look for bananas.
Nintendo, you had me at exploding barrel. Ranters, are you going ape for the monkey business that awaits in Donkey Kong Country Returns?
Donkey Kong Country Returns is tentatively dated for release during Holiday 2010, exclusively for the Nintendo Wii.