Enter Donkey Kong. He was once a big bad monkey who kidnapped a princess to taunt Mario - but now, he has bigger things to worry about. King K. Rool has stolen the Kong's banana hoard, and it's up to Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong to get everything back.
This can be done in one of three gameplay modes - though all revolve around the same set of worlds and levels. If you're on your own then there's the single-player adventure, your generic platforming adventure where you must travel through a world before defeating that world's boss.
Additionally, there are two ways you can play with a friend: team cooperation mode, or team competition mode. In the former, you both play at the same time and take over from one-another when you get hit in a bid to get to the finish. In the latter, you'll take turns in levels hoping to be the first to beat each one so that you can win the race to King K. Rool's ship.
Start a new game and you'll begin in Jungle Japes; an area which has become somewhat iconic when it comes to Donkey Kong games. You'll start out with Donkey Kong but what you'll see after progressing through part of the first stage is that as well as lives, you can have both of the Kongs at once, which sort of acts like a hit point system. Lose one Kong by hitting an enemy and you'll need to be careful, because if you lose the other, you'll lose a life.
Both of the monkeys have their slight advantages - Donkey Kong is heavier and as such can pounce on bigger, stronger enemies, while Diddy Kong is more agile and can get extra height on his jump. In some levels you'll need to take this into account so this knowledge is essential.
Along the way you'll be collecting bananas, which are similar to coins in the Super Mario franchise - collecting 100 will give you an extra life. You can also run into differently-coloured balloons which will aid you by giving you a life boost (eg. red balloon will give you one life).
The seamless integration of numerous aspects of platforming becomes apparent within just the first few levels of the game and expands even further in the next few worlds. What's more impressive is that in addition to the implementation of the player's abilities, the developers took note of putting a diverse range of environments into the game (the snow/ice world is especially impressive).
Visuals are very nice and the game's artists took great care with putting every detail into every character, object, and environment, and as a result the game is extremely pleasing to the eye.
The music in this game is a great accompaniment to what happens on screen but because audio tracks are used in stages numerous times it can get somewhat repetitive.
There a a number of reasons why the game is a good one but the main reason the game was so successful and set up such a huge franchise is because of the way numerous aspects of platforming were implemented into this game so flawlessly.
Gameplay - 8.7/10
The flawless integration of several platforming aspects means that the foundation of the game is very solid. There's lots to do and just one play will have you coming back for more.
Graphics - 8.2/10
Very much on par with other games at the time, the artists of Donkey Kong Country put every little detail into all the visuals, which makes everything look very nice.
Sound - 7.5/10
While it can get repetitive due to overplay, the music in the game was tailored to suit the environments of the game. Sound effects at times are funny and add a touch of humour to the game.
Value - 9/10
At only 800 Wii Points on the Virtual Console, this is a great buy.
Overall - 8.4/10
While one could go on about the way a single aspect of this game makes it shine, it is the way that the three main aspects come together to form the game as a whole which made it great. While the game incorporates several features of platforming it keeps everything simple which is a reason why this game is accessible to all gamers.