After a popular and successful release of Donkey Kong Country on the Super NES, Rareware developed a portable Nintendo Game Boy version in 1995. Rareware amazed the gaming world by creating a Game Boy game with rendered graphics - Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and all the other elements of DKC appear in their gloriously rendered formats, albeit in monochromatic format (or a limited color selection on the Super Game Boy).

Donkey Kong Land plays much like its big brother, although there are several differences. The first thing most people notice is that Diddy Kong no longer tags alone behind Donkey Kong (and vice-versa). Instead the backup ape waits off screen and is whisked into action, replacing the playable character after a hit or when a swap is made by pressing the Select button. Next, in order to save the game you must collect the letters K-O-N-G in each level. I find this a bad idea on Rareware's part because the whole nature of a portable game is that it should be able to be turned off and restarted later at a moment's notice. Frankly, it's a pain to have to collect letters just to shut the darn thing off.

Levels are based on their DKC counterparts: jungle, ice, mine, and cavern. Most all of the enemies from DKC return, and a few new ones (such as the flying pig) make their debut. The bonus barrels are back, too. Completing a level is accomplished by jumping into the whriling vortex found at the end of the stage. Some levels have more than one exit, and usually the second one is hidden. Jumping into the hidden exit usually leads the player to a hidden stage.

Unfortunately, the worst thing about the game is its dreadful collision detection. The apes are constatly being knocked out by coming just a little too close to an enemy or by not jumping on them accurately. Fortunately extra lives are abundant, but still... it's annoying!

Donkey Kong Land is somewhat of a rare find these days, although its still around if you look hard enough. The game was popular enough to spawn three sequels: Donkey Kong Land 2, Donkey Kong Land 3, and a remake of the original Donkey Kong Country for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance.

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