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Donkey Kong Land 2

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Released: 1995

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Game Boy

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Rare

Submitted by: James Reid

With the news of great composer David Wise leaving great developer Rare, I couldn't help but reflect and realize how much of my childhood the man composed. Being a crazed Nintendo kid in the mid-to-late nineties, I grew up with what might be considered the golden age of Rare (if not, silver at least?). In particular, I'm reminded of Donkey Kong Land 2.

To many, the game might seem insignificant. A poor man's version of what some might consider a poor man's platformer (something I contest with). But you need to see this from the whimsical eyes of my six year old self. As an unexpected sixth birthday present, DK-Land 2 sucked me in with its surprisingly dark setting, its gripping sense of adventure and some tough, sink-or-swim gameplay. Kids eat that stuff up, I know I sure as hell did.

Despite the “poor man's” point of view, the Game Boy hardware may have helped that, and this is where Senór Wise comes in. What some consider blips I consider some of the most atmospheric melodies to engross my young mind, assisted by a sound chip better than most give it credit for. And Game Boy was very much a solitary experience (we'll save link cables for another discussion); the atmosphere was there to suck only you in all the more so.

Of course, this is without getting at the solid platforming, or the proud sense of teamwork in the duo of Diddy and Dixie, or etc etc. This wasn't a dumbed down port, it was its own beast, whilst admittedly borrowing elements from another masterful game. Not to mention it was ideal for me, never owning a Super Nintendo until 2002 (Mega Drive to N64 it was until then).

I'm not saying you should whip down to your knees and worship Dee-Kay Land 2, but respect it for what it is. If nothing else, look up the music from it or Country 2 on Youtube, you'll be surprised and all the more saddened to see such great talent leave such a great company.