I know I’ve said this before, but I wasn’t a big fan of Donkey Kong Country Returns. I thought it was too difficult, and it didn’t stand up to the high expectations I had of a new entry to an old series I used to love. Well, I have since grown somewhat fond of the game, and I really can’t expect it to compete with the old SNES games, now can I?
Nevertheless, I really wasn’t sure about trying the game’s sequel on the Wii U, Tropical Freeze. I decided to give the game a chance, however, and was pleased to find that it excels in all areas. The levels are far more unique and varied, the enemies aren’t as, well, silly (they’re still silly, but I didn’t particularly like those tikis), and then there’s the music.
I started to really get into the game upon the very first level of the savannah world, Grassland Groove, complete with dancing trees, upbeat music, and…animal heads on sticks, all bobbing to the beat. It was a very strange level, but I loved it. A few levels later, this cheerful savannah has fallen victim to a thunderstorm, followed by the level Scorch ‘n’ Torch, where the savannah has caught on fire.
From the moment I began the level, my breath was taken away to look at the once lively landscape burning, the trees blackened and the bottoms of their trunks cracked and red from the heat, while the leaves would turn to ash if you landed on them. I never expected such a thing in a Donkey Kong game, whether it be the old ones I loved or the new, but this level really struck something in me. I looked upon the changed grassland with horror, and I even paused at one point to stare solemnly down into a canyon and the trees burning below.
To be honest, I cried. I’ve cried at particularly sad moments in video games or depressing endings of (Square Enix) games plenty of times, but never before have I been this touched by a mere level. In a platformer. I think what struck me most was the story. I’ve never encountered a world with a story before, even if it’s a simple one. The savannah is cheerful. A thunderstorm strikes. And it burns. Plain and simple.
Oh, and the music. The music in this level is beautiful and really adds to how sad the place really is. It’s solemn, the beat doing nothing to uplift it, but instead striking into the listener how tragic the destruction really is. It speaks of danger and sorrow, of a tragedy you can only look upon, but can do nothing to change or fix. I can’t stress enough how much emotion this song manages to instill, and in addition to giving it a listen below, I ask you to seek the level out, as well, to see what I’m talking about and to see just why it touched me the way that it did.
Video from Youtube User: piplupwater
Duck ‘n’ Duck