Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Hands On) (GameCube) Preview

By James Temperton 27.06.2004

Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat is a title that instantly appealed to us. We are not great fans of the bongo-drum idea, having originally been sceptics. Whilst it works well with Donkey Konga, the idea of a rhythm based music game is nothing hugely new, but for a platform game to use it is truly outstanding. Each drum is used as a direction, so hit one and DK will go one way, the other and he will go the corresponding way. Panning at both makes him jump and clapping launches a sound-wave attack that disables enemies allowing you to hammer them into submission.

Admittedly, you look like a total plank standing about clapping and hitting plastic drums violently, but you certainly don't feel it. We spent quite a worrying amount of time panning happily away, as did everyone else at the event, and the general consensus is: inspired. Not much of Jungle Beat was on show, but enough to get us very excited. Hammering at the right-side bongo to make DK run as fast as he can away from snowballs and fish may sound a bit odd, to be honest yes it is. The fun that pours out of this game though is just brilliant. Hammering at one bongo, then hitting both to execute a jump, then an almighty clap to disable an enemy, before the game enters a special little battle mode. Here, with your enemy powerless to stop you, DK gets the chance to kick some serious arse.

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Hands On) on GameCube

Hammering at the drums in order to continually propel your enemy into the air is fantastic fun, and good cause for anyone around you to either ask you to shut the hell up, or point and laugh. The inclusion of massive flowers in this side-on cartoon world is also inspired. With massive long stems, hitting the left drum, then the right drum, then the left drum etcetera will cause DK to swing around and around before he is propelled into the air. In some cases this can be placed into a chain effect, with one flower being followed by another and then another to launch you onwards and upwards.

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Hands On) on GameCube

In addition to this there are also Diddy Kongs dotted throughout the levels we played, by clapping next to Diddy he will grab hold of you and swing you into the air, mostly this is done in complex chains that requires you to get your rhythm just right. There are also birds that respond to your frantic panning of the drums to make them fly, bubbles that will burst and mushrooms that will enlarge when you clap, letting you bounce off them, and even invisible platforms that will appear when you slap your hands together.

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Hands On) on GameCube

At the end of each the demo sections we played there was a final battle against another DK. Here the camera is zoomed in on the two DKs as they stand on a small fighting platform. Each DK has a certain number of HP, depending on how many bananas you collected in the main game will determine how many HPs you have. Each bongo controls one of DK's arms, and the punch they can deliver. Clapping makes him dodge, and if you successfully dodge a punch you are able to smack the other DK into the ground for victory. We love it!

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Hands On) on GameCube

Final Thoughts

We can't quite get over the magic of this game, it is totally different to anything we have ever played before. Refreshingly different, wonderfully innovative and totally unexpected. The game looks to be in great shape, and is fanatically entertaining. Okay, it may hurt a little when you get into levels where DK has to run very fast for a very long time, but the pain is only temporary, the magic is constant.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (11 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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