For anyone who has a smartphone mobile device such as an android or iPhone, then you probably know a thing or two about ‘free running’ games. Free running games are basically games that feature a character running endlessly through a specific environment until the player essentially dies, be it from hitting an obstructing obstacle or falling into a pit. This style of gameplay because immensely popular with Temple Run, then from there has been quite a few immitations but nothing quite as good. If you haven’t played Temple Run or any of the other free running titles, then perhaps there is something else that you surely have experienced that somewhat similar: a minecart level in Donkey Kong Country.
The minecart levels in Donkey Kong Country and its follow-ups were and remain still some of the best levels of theh franchise. It’s the fast paced intensity of not knowing what will be ahead and requires quick reflexes to avoid it in whatever way necessary. Generally it’s just a matter of a simple button press at the appropriate time to avoid an obstacle or ensure that you’re going to survive over that next dreadful pitfall. So if you notice the similarities here, then you can easily acknowledge the fact that Donkey Kong Country’s minecart stages were the precursor to todays ever-so-popular free running games.
The key difference here between Donkey Kong Country and Temple Run for instance, is that in DKC the levels don’t continue on with no end in sight. There is more to the game that follows afterwards so there had to be a goal at somepoint. Nonetheless, the gameplay and similarities between the gameplay types is similar enough to warrant the question of whether or not some inspiration for the free running games was taken from the minecart level chaos. It would make sense, yes?
When thinking about the two, I can’t help but also wonder how it would be if there actually had been an endless “minecart mode” for DKC back in the day. Imagine an endless level where your primarty goal would be to survive and collect as many bananas along the way as possible? If Rare were ever able to develop a new game in the DKC franchise, then I honestly could see them taking advantage of the free running popularity and do something similar to this. It would be a bit ironic in a way as well. The very gameplay type they potentially inspired nearly two decades ago comes full circle with Rare creating a mode that actually utilizes similar gameplay. Perhaps it may never happen, but it’s a pontential mayhem of minecarting bliss that I would welcome with open arms.