New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

The selling point of the original Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was that it was a platformer you could play with the bongo controller used in the Donkey Konga line of rhythm games

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Nintendo New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
  • Nintendo New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
  • Nintendo New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
  • Nintendo New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Pros

  • Fantastic graphics, great gameplay, wonderful level designs and music

Cons

  • Short, very easy at first, intense waggle required

Bottom Line

An entertaining, original and ambitious platformer, Donkey Kong Jungle beat sees well-deserved second life thanks to Nintendo's New Play Control! line of games.

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There is a certain logic behind the New Play Control! versions of games like Metroid Prime and Pikmin. We know new Wii iterations of both series are on the way in, so it makes sense to want to play the old ones with Wii controls, to get a taste of what's coming. Nintendo's inclusion of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat in the New Play Control! line feels a little more inexplicable.

You see, the selling point of the original Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was that it was a platformer you could play with the bongo controller used in the Donkey Konga line of rhythm games. The small segment of the gaming population that was willing to play Donkey Kong Jungle Beat four years ago remembers the game fondly to this day, but most people just never gave it a chance.

The More Things Change...

With Jungle Beat's New Play Control! facelift the game gets conventional platformer controls, with a certain amount of Remote waggle thrown in for good measure. For the most part, it works. You romp your way through two initial levels, gathering bananas, then face a spectacular boss using your bananas as your health meter. Finishing levels with lots of bananas unlocks crests, which in turn unlock deviously designed bonus levels you can play after you've blown through the main game.

Jungle Beat took some hits from critics back in the day for being a short game. In terms of hours played, it inarguably is. Nobody's going to spend more than five to ten hours with it unless they're going for full completion. That said, the sheer amount of waggling it demands can leave you numb. The game asks you to take a break every hour or so and that's not a bad idea. Breaks draw out the proceedings a bit, though Jungle Beat is still the sort of thing where you can probably play your fill in a single rental.

Something Old, Something New

Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat's biggest shortcoming is that it doesn't support the original bongo controllers at all. It's a fine game to play with Remote and Nunchuk, with some level segments changed to accommodate them, but at points you can really tell the game was intended for more tactile controls. Die-hard fans will, I think, want to take a pass on this version of the game and stick with their GameCube original. For everyone else, here's a chance to see what the guys who made Super Mario Galaxy for their warm-up.

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