Donkey Kong Country offers around forty uniquely designed levels of platforming bliss. Each level has something different to add to the game be it a new enemy or gameplay mechanic; but it’s that very first level that sets the stage for everything else that follows.
From the very beginning of Jungle Hijinx, players are able to put their platforming skills to the test and see just how this newfangled platformer starring Mario’s previous arch nemesis, Donkey Kong, differs from other platforming games already on the market. This is achieved by jumping across the level’s treetops. While it isn’t nearly as complex or difficult as the game’s later levels, jumping from treetop-to-treetop showcases how the platforming in the game works and just what you’re capable of doing as the pair of Kongs. In most platform titles, you simply jump from one platform to another and if you want want to reach a platform further in the distance, you must hold down the run button to extend your jump. Donkey Kong Country is no different, but what it does do is take that a step further with Donkey Kong’s trademark rolling and Diddy Kong’s trademark cartwheeling. The very first time where this is utilized is among those Jungle Hijinx treetops as you must use either the roll or cartwheel move to reach a distant treetop to collect a Green Balloon, which will grant you two extra lives.
Aside from the platforming, the treetops also serve as an introduction to Donkey Kong’s ground slap attack. By holding down and pressing the roll button at the junction that connects some of those trees, DK will do his ground slap move and a Banana Bunch will appear, granting you with ten extra bananas. Also just below the trees at the beginning is a marked spot on the ground that, when jumped on from above, will release a steel barrel. This barrel can be ridden atop of and destroying any baddies along the way until you either jump off of it or it rolls its way into a hole.
A little past halfway into the level, you are introduced to the game’s first animal buddy Rambi the Rhino. This is where Donkey Kong Country also separates itself from other titles in the same genre as DKC offers several different creatures with different abilities. Rambi was the perfect animal buddy to introduce first as he ‘s the strongest among the four can actually ram the baddies and even break into walls unveil bonus areas.
Jungle Hijinx was more than just a simple level with a simple beginning. Rare set the level up in a manner that served as a perfect introduction to what players would be experiencing throughout the game’s entirety. The treetops showcased the game’s platforming roots and how DK’s ground slap could unearth hidden secrets; the steel barrel showed how they could work and be useful when found; and Rambi the Rhino set the stage for the series’ popular animal buddies. Jungle Hijinx was executed perfectly and prepped the players for the full experience that would follow after.