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Donkey Kong Country: What Did Critics Think in 1994?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 21, 2014   |   Episode 8 (Show Archive)  

Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

With the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for Wii U, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at what critics thought of the original Donkey Kong Country on the Super NES. Spoiler alert: Everybody pretty much fell in love with the graphics and overlooked any of the shortcomings. See what I mean when EGM, GamePro, Die Hard Game Fan, Nintendo Power and even Next Generation chime in about Donkey Kong Country.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Donkey Kong Country
[ Company: Nintendo | Console: Super NES ]

DIE HARD GAME FAN (November 1994)
100 out of 100

"Absolute 16-bit perfection. It just does not get any better. SGI graphics that make you gasp for air, scrolls out of the ying-yang, play mechanics galore, hidden stuff up the wazoo, and music to die for!! Donkey Kong Country chuckles at the Jag and 3DO, as it flies by, untouched. The SNES must be a 32-bit in disguise!!" -Skid

10 out of 10

"Donkey Kong Country is simply the best game out there. No other game comes close in terms of graphics, playability, and sound. Nintendo does with 16-bit what others can't do with 32. I loved this game from beginning to the end. If you own a Super NES, you have to play it at once. It's like the Mario games with better graphics. Trying to find all the secrets will drive you mad. The game is perfect!" -Ed

90% out of 100%

"Put simply, this isn't the sort of game to come out of one of Nintendo's R&D teams in Japan. Look with a magnifying glass and you'll see the hallmarks of British game design. Even the game's supposed original sections, such as the 'stop-go' cave levels are based on ideas which were first seen in platform games years ago. A fine game in its own right, and everyone who buys it will be pleased with it. But not as pleased as they might well have expected." - Tony Mott

VIDEO GAMES (December 1994)
9 out of 10

"If you already own a Super NES, you should be out the door and hunting down your own copy of Donkey Kong Country right now. If you don't own a SNES, maybe now is the time to buy one; this game is just that good." -Chris

4.4 out of 5

"PLUS: The ultimate graphics in the best action adventure game ever for the Super NES or any other video games system. It's simply the best. Battery backed-up memory. 100 bonus areas. MINUS: Players may miss many of the bonus areas and think the game is shorter than it really is. (You must try everything to get the full impact!)"

4 out of 5

"After all the hype, Donkey Kong Country really is an amazing cart. However, the gameplay falls a hair short of the typical Nintendo blockbuster. Although it's no Mario or Zelda, the game plays well with plenty of hidden items and secret rooms to keep even the most dedicated players busy for some time to come."

9 out of 10

"Hello? Is this really the Super NES I'm playing? It's hard to believe the graphics and sounds like this are coming from a 16-bit system. But that's not all -- combine those features with an extremely long and playable game and you have one helluva winner. Who needs 32 or even 64-bit when Nintendo can keep pulling marvels out of the 16-bit hat? Donkey Kong Country is simply mind-blowing." -Danyon

DIE HARD GAME FAN (November 1994)
100 out of 100

"When you see Donkey Kong Country for the first time, you'll do what I did ... turn into a blabbering, drooling idiot! This is the most amazing 16-bit game yet, and that's a fact. Simply everything about DKC is kick-butt rocking magnificent ... you'd swear it was 32-bit. If you possess a SNES, you have no excuse not to buy this game NOW." -Mr. Goo
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 92% - While every magazine loved Donkey Kong Country, Die Hard Game Fan went overboard. All three of their critics gave the game 100 out of 100, making it one of the best-reviewed games in the magazine's history. EGM also loved it, but only Ed gave the game a perfect 10 (everybody else settled on 9). Compared to EGM and Game Fan, Nintendo Power's score seemed low. They may have only given it a 4.4 out of 5, but they did call it the "best action adventure game ever for the Super NES or any other video game system." Who do you think got it right?



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