Monkeying Around: Donkey Kong 64 N64 Review

Donkey Kong has been a beloved character in the gaming world for several decades now. Developed by Nintendo, the franchise has given us some of the most memorable games in video game history. Among these games, Donkey Kong 64 stands out as one of the most iconic. In this article, we will take a closer look at Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64 and provide our thoughts on the gameplay, story, graphics, and overall reception of the game. Our goal is to give you an in-depth understanding of what makes this game so enjoyable for so many gamers. So, let’s adventure together with Donkey Kong and his friends, as we explore the gameplay, world, and everything in between of this classic game.

Game Overview and Mechanics

Donkey Kong 64 was released in 1999, and it’s a game that left a lasting impression on many gamers. The game is a 3D platformer that features five playable Kong characters, each with unique abilities. The objective of the game is to collect golden bananas and progress through various levels, each with its own challenges and boss battles.

The controls in Donkey Kong 64 are smooth and responsive, making it easy to maneuver the environment and defeat enemies. The game utilizes the N64 controller, which offers a unique gameplay experience. The joystick controls the character’s movement, while the other buttons are used to jump, attack, and interact with the game world.

Compared to previous Donkey Kong games, the mechanics in Donkey Kong 64 are more complex and layered. There’s a greater focus on exploration, puzzle-solving, and collection. Each Kong character has various abilities that are required to progress through the game, such as Diddy’s jetpack or Donkey Kong’s strength. This adds an extra layer of strategy and problem-solving to the game, making it more engaging and challenging.

One of the standout features of Donkey Kong 64 is its multiplayer mode. The game includes various multiplayer game modes, including a battle mode, tag mode, and racing mode. The addition of multiplayer mode adds a lot of replayability to the game, making it fun to play with friends and family.

Overall, Donkey Kong 64 offers an enjoyable, engaging, and challenging gaming experience. The game mechanics are deep and layered, and the addition of multiplayer mode only adds to the fun.

Story and Setting

When you think of classic games that took the gaming world by storm, Donkey Kong is one of the first that comes to mind. The monkey with a red tie has been around for decades, captivating gamers through his various escapades. With Donkey Kong 64, released in 1999, the audience was treated to a new adventure in the Donkey Kong Country universe.

The storyline of Donkey Kong 64 revolves around Donkey Kong and his friends’ quest to retrieve the Bananas Hoard from King K. Rool and his minions. The player controls the various Kongs as they overcome numerous obstacles throughout their journey to rescue their stolen bananas. This storyline may seem basic, but the game universe is fascinating, with its distinctive charm and design, contributing to why it is beloved by millions of gamers worldwide.

One of the significant achievements of Donkey Kong 64 is its unique world-building. The game universe is vast and intricate, with each level boasting its distinctive design and layout. For example, players travel to different areas like Aztec temples, ice worlds, factories, and jungles. Each setting not only looks unique but also has distinct elements that make gameplay different in those areas.

The environment is not just an aesthetically pleasing addition to the game. It is also an integral part of the gameplay. The different areas of the game interact with the player’s movements and abilities, providing a sense of depth that is missing from many other games. In addition, players must solve complex puzzles in each area to progress further, thus highlighting the importance of the environment in the game.

Finally, Donkey Kong 64’s unique feature is the Five Kongs system where players can switch characters depending on their level of progression. Each Kong has its unique skills, such as chunky strength and tiny’s ability to access small spaces, making them critical to succeeding at tasks and puzzles. This system added an extra layer of depth to the game universe, further emphasizing the rich and intricately designed setting of Donkey Kong 64.

Graphics and Sounds

When it comes to graphics, Donkey Kong 64 was a significant step forward for the N64 console. The game’s graphics offer a unique combination of 3D and 2D elements, which make it stand out from other N64 titles. The use of vibrant colors and detailed textures adds depth to the game’s environment, bringing the world of Donkey Kong to life.

The game’s sound design is another standout aspect of Donkey Kong 64. The distinctive sound effects and upbeat music perfectly complement the game’s fun and playful atmosphere. The sound effects for the game’s various weapons are unique and satisfying, making the combat mechanics of Donkey Kong 64 all the more enjoyable.

One of the most visually stunning aspects of Donkey Kong 64 are the epic boss battles. The game boasts a range of diverse and challenging bosses, each with their own unique design and attack patterns. From a giant armadillo to a massive mechanical dragonfly, the bosses in Donkey Kong 64 are impressive and memorable.

In terms of sound, the voice acting in Donkey Kong 64 deserves special mention. Each character in the game has their own unique voice, adding personality to the diverse cast of characters. The voiceovers for the game’s cutscenes are particularly well done, adding to the game’s cinematic feel.

Overall, Donkey Kong 64’s graphics and sound design make it a standout title for the N64 console. The attention to detail in both areas elevates the game’s overall quality, making it a must-play for any fans of classic platformers.

Critique and Analysis

When Donkey Kong 64 was first released, it received mixed reviews from critics and gamers alike. Some praised its graphics, sound, and creative use of the N64 controller, while others criticized its lack of innovation and tedious gameplay. However, over time, the game has gained a cult following and is widely recognized as a classic among N64 enthusiasts.

In terms of its overall quality, Donkey Kong 64 is a solid platformer that builds upon the mechanics of its predecessors. The game introduces new features, such as the ability to play as different characters and the use of a unique combat system, which gives players a fresh experience that differs from traditional Donkey Kong games. However, the game’s pacing can feel repetitive and tedious at times, which can detract from its overall quality.

One criticism of the game is its over-reliance on collecting items to progress through levels. While this was typical of platformers at the time, the sheer number of items required to complete Donkey Kong 64 can be overwhelming and frustrating for players. Additionally, some players take issue with the game’s camera controls, which can make it difficult to navigate certain areas of the game.

In spite of its flaws, Donkey Kong 64 has several unique features and moments that make it stand out from other games of its time. The game’s soundtrack, composed by Grant Kirkhope, is widely regarded as one of the best in gaming history, featuring memorable tracks such as “DK Island Swing” and “Jungle Japes.” The game also includes several creative boss battles, such as a fight with a giant boxing glove, and a minecart sequence that has become a fan favorite.

Overall, while Donkey Kong 64 is not a perfect game, it remains a beloved classic among N64 enthusiasts for its memorable characters, unique features, and timeless soundtrack.


After analyzing Donkey Kong 64 in detail, we conclude that the game has stood the test of time and remains a classic Nintendo 64 title. From its engaging gameplay mechanics to the unique world-building, the game offers an unforgettable experience.

Throughout the article, we examined the game’s gameplay, story and setting, graphics and sounds, and provided our critical analysis of the game’s reception. We have highlighted the unique features that make Donkey Kong 64 an unforgettable experience that every gamer should play at least once in their lifetime.

Our verdict is that Donkey Kong 64 is a game worth playing for both seasoned gamers and newcomers to the genre. Its multiplayer feature and high replay value make it an excellent addition to any game collection.

In conclusion, if you are looking for exciting gameplay, a classic story, and an unforgettable adventure, Donkey Kong 64 is a game that should not be missed. It is a testament to Nintendo’s golden age of gaming and a game that will remain an iconic classic for years to come.


1. Can Donkey Kong 64 be played on any console other than the N64?

No, Donkey Kong 64 is exclusive to the Nintendo 64 console.

2. Is there only one playable character in Donkey Kong 64?

No, the player can switch between five different Kongs with unique abilities throughout the game.

3. How does the multiplayer feature work in Donkey Kong 64?

The multiplayer feature allows up to four players to compete against each other in several mini-games inspired by the main game’s gameplay mechanics.

4. What was the critical reception of Donkey Kong 64?

Donkey Kong 64 received generally positive reviews, but reviewers criticized the game for its high level of required completion and the game’s camera system.

5. What makes Donkey Kong 64 stand out from previous Donkey Kong games?

Donkey Kong 64 was the first Donkey Kong game to feature 3D graphics and gave the player control of five different playable characters.

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