Level Select Thursdays: Jungle Hijinx!
When people think of level 1 for video games their minds will most likely drift towards Super Mario Bro’s World 1 level 1, Green Hill Zone or the intro stage from Mega Man X. All of those are great examples of intro levels, but it appears to me that one level seems to get left out of the discussion constantly. As you can by the title screen I’m talking about Jungle Hijinx from Donkey Kong Country. I’ll go ahead and say this right now, but the Donkey Kong Country is my favorite pure platformer of all time. Just for note I will also be looking at the updated version of Jungle Hijinx from Donkey Kong Country Returns. So lets how well Jungle Hijinx stands up with the rest.
To start off, I will that will say that I really enjoy the music for this level. While it isn’t as iconic as previous titles mentions that doesn’t take away how effing catchy this piece of music is. It’s a actually a nice change considering that it has a Jazz influence and it’s excellence use of drums helps distinguishes itself from other intro levels. Now comparing to the Wii version maybe it’s just nostalgia talking but I just prefer the 16 bit sound quality to the updated version. There is nothing wrong it and it doesn’t ruin the music it’s more of a matter of preference.
From a visual stand point this game looks great and it blows my mind that the Rare was able to push the SNES graphic limitations to give the illusion of it a 3D models for not only DK and Diddy but virtually all the enemies as well. I remember being blown away when I first saw this game I could not believe that a game could look like this, and I’m pretty sure that Country’s visual style helped back in the day.
So we know that the game sounds pretty and is visually appealing, but what about the gameplay itself? In case you don’t know you control not only Donkey Kong in this game, but you get his pal Diddy Kong who feels faster and it might just be me but Diddy Kong’s jumps seems easier to handle in mid air. It could be that I just suck as DK, but I’m going to slide my chips onto the control aspect. However all this is mute in Donkey Kong Country Returns, as in single player you only get to play as Donkey Kong with Diddy serving as a extra two hits (poor Diddy). So that to mean hurts Returns when comparing the two games side by side.
Finally the first level in any game has to be able to demonstrate all the game mechanics in a simple and easy way through actually playing the game. As you progress through the level you’ll get used to control DK and Diddy as well as finding Ramby the Rhino which leads to the bonus areas. All of that in the span of a few seconds! Returns does a good enough job and the improved drum mechanic is fun enough but again I just prefer the original to the new one.
So with all that being said I firmly believe that Jungle Hijinx deserves to be up there with some of the more memorable level ones in video games and it would all lead into one of the most difficult platform games from the 1990’s. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a well made game that I do enjoy playing from time time.
So do you agree that Jungle Hijinx is a memorable first level? Write in the comments and also tell me you’re favorite first level from any game!