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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
GENRE: Racing
PLAYERS:   1-2
October 08, 2007
Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble

DK: Jungle Climber

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

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More in this Series
 Written by John Scalzo  on September 27, 2007

Final Glimpse: A 400 pound gorilla in the room ? the Rosie O'Donnell story.

Nintendo's racing title, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast has had a long development history. Nintendo first announced the game for the GameCube at E3 2006 under the name, ?DK Bongo Blast.? The game was originally supposed to use the bongo drums peripheral, popularized by the Donkey Konga and DK Jungle Beat rhythm games. However, with the Wii's impending release, Nintendo decided to move their Gamecube titles in development, including Super Paper Mario and this game, over to their next-gen system. Since that time the game has undergone more name changes than Prince. Nintendo changed the name from ?DK Bongo Blast,? to ?DK Jet? before ultimately branding it with its current moniker, ?Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.?

This final version removes all bongo support in favor of the Wiimote and Nunchuk. Nevertheless, the bongo's influence is readily apparent during gameplay. The player mimics beating drums by moving the Wiimote and Nunchuk up and down. This serves to accelerate the racer. The player must keep doing this until a ?Max Speed? icon appears. From here the player turns by drumming either left or right. Jumping is accomplished by lifting the two controllers together.

Along the game's varied racetracks ? including environments from other Donkey Kong games like Mammoth Glacier, Mt. Dynamite, and naturally the jungle ? the player can find various Mario Kart inspired items to collect and launch at their opponents with the B button. The player can also collect bananas scattered around the tracks. Once he or she collects 50 of the yellow fruit, they can activate a speed boost with the analog stick.

As the game's title suggests, the player is able to jump into various barrels throughout course. These barrels vary in use, from providing shortcuts to blasting the player into the air so he or she can perform tricks. In this latter mode, icons will instruct the player to perform a series of motions. He or she is rewarded with bananas upon successful completion of the tricks.

Players will be readily familiar with many of the game's racers including Donkey Kong, Diddy, Dixie, and various Kremlings. Six are available at the start of the game, with more unlockable later on. The same goes with the game's six cups. One, the Topaz Cup, is available from the start, with each of the remaining five becoming available as the player progresses in the game.

The graphics are perhaps the most indicative of the Barrel Blast's GameCube roots. Like Super Paper Mario, there is nothing here that could not be accomplished on the GameCube. However, two small saving graces come from its ability to run in 480p and 16:9.

Final Thoughts
The rhythm/racing hybrid design seems like an innovative and fun concept. For Barrel Blast this element is both the selling and potential breaking point. It is clear that Nintendo wants Donkey Kong Barrel Blast to be the next Mario Kart. On October 8 gamers will find out whether or not it is a fitting replacement or just an appetizer for greater things to come.

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