Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (GameCube) Review

By Adam Riley 11.02.2005 22

Review for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on GameCube

So what happens when a famous character gets moved in a particular direction and is then dropped by its newfound parents due to unforeseen circumstances? Well, Donkey Kong has been through such a turbulent situation and managed to somehow come out relatively unscathed. In fact, he is like a completely new simian. No more Rare, but he now has an affinity for the unusual, in this case banging on bongos in a kooky platform title. Perhaps the Rare influence still lingers after all...

The newly formed Tokyo group of Nintendo employees have gone on record of stating that Donkey Kong Jungle Beat really does not need a story line and who can blame them for saying so. Just look at it as the once villainous ape turning over a new leaf and aiming to become the King of Jungle again. Plain and simple – platform action of the highest order, with innovative bongo-led controls thrown in for good measure. Stop asking questions and get on with it…!

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on GameCube

One of the main criticisms aimed at Donkey Konga was that Namco had not used the power of the GameCube as well as they possibly could, with some classing the final result as little more than a Super NES title presented in a higher resolution. Clearly burned by these harsh words, Nintendo has stepped up to show that its latest home console can in fact house graphically impressive titles that make the gamer sit back and just go ‘wow’. Jungle Beat does just that – it has gorgeous 3D flowing out of every pore, from its well-formed characters to the interactive backgrounds. All this is melded with rich colours, a high frame-rate and an overall sheen that was last evident in Pikmin 2.

The soundtrack is a rather mixed one, but overall it comes across as a positive aspect of the game, just about. The main theme that we all know and love returns from the Donkey Kong Country series that Rare so masterfully created. Then there are a few other tracks that appear here, there and everywhere that are simply ‘okay’, nothing special that will stick in your head once the system has been shut down. The fact that it is Rare’s old tune that is most prominent is a little worrying, but the game more than makes up for this in the blasting sound effects throughout. Stomp, slamming, punching, smashing – all is accounted for and brilliant when blasting through some surrounding speakers with a powerful bass system attached. Perhaps that is why Nintendo toned down the music…

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on GameCube

There is one big thing that has to be remembered about Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat and that is that we are not dealing with your average platform title here, oh no. If you were in the mind that Nintendo had finally got round to creating the much-vaunted Donkey Kong Country 4: Donkey Kong World, then you will unfortunately be massively disappointed. However, put that disappointment to one side for a moment and try to keep an open mind – this is a platform title controlled purely using…bongos. Yes, bongos. No early April Fool’s joke here; and it is a system that works splendidly, actually making the game far more enjoyable that it might have otherwise been.

Created by the recently formed Tokyo department, Nintendo might not have manufactured exactly what the fans said they wanted, but instead has brought a refreshing spin to the genre that has been accused many times of lacking the innovation to keep it going in the next generation. But just how on Earth can you use the bongos, that many had thought would merely be used for the Donkey Konga rhythm series, you may ask. Well, tapping left and right slowly makes DK walk in the specified direction, rapidly hitting left-right repeatedly results in running, banging both left and right has the simian jumping up in the air and clapping sends out a resounding blast of noise that stuns and sometimes kills surrounding enemies. But there is far more to it than these basic moves, as is explained to your further into the game.

String moves together and you can wind up with large combination moves that augment your ‘Beats’ level considerably more than just collecting the bananas around the various stages. If you are wondering what Beats are, they are the equivalent of a general health bar. Lose all of your beats and it is game over; collecting enough and you get all three possible medals after the boss stage, granting access to extra levels for you to play around on. Quite a simple formula, yet an ingenious one. Other than the basics and combos, pressing both left and right to jump, then doing so again in mid-air causes a butt-slam (akin to Yoshi’s and Mario’s), jumping at a wall and hitting jump again has you wall-jump (á la Samus in Metroid) and clapping at the right time and in the right situation results in DK being swung upwards and all over to reach new sections of a level.

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on GameCube

The platform action itself works wonderfully, but the boss fights are equally impressive, with your bongo skills being tested to the maximum on many occasions. For example, the first main boss you have to face places you in a Super Punch Out!! style situation. Trying to land hits on the raging beast in front of you s not as simple as banging as hard and fast as possible; instead dodging and catching him off-guard works best. Then there is one where you must stun the projectiles being launched at you, then catch them and chuck them violently at your opponent. This might sound simple, but with you hands aching and your heart pounding, Jungle Beat certainly gives you an exhilarating experience that many platform games lack nowadays, and for that Nintendo must be commended...

Unfortunately Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is not overly taxing, but there is a lot of scope for returning to previously completed levels to try and out-do your highest score, unlock hidden extras and gain those elusive gold medals at the end to open completely everything up in the game. Clearly practice from playing Donkey Konga is somewhat beneficial and can make the experience a rather simpler one, but even newcomers will become accustomed to the controls and find everything on the wrong side of easy. Do not be put off by the length of the game – there is a lot of replayability in each level and the bosses can prove pleasantly frustrating at times. It really is so much fun…just a shame that there is no two-player option!

Screenshot for Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

As a standalone platform game this might be seen as run-of-the-mill, but with that special Nintendo magical touch it suddenly turns into one of the major highlights on the GameCube and certainly one of the most impressive games of the year so far. With a free set of bongos thrown in for the standard price, this is one irresistible package!






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   


Guest 11.02.2005#1

Now, this is a review I Completely agree with!
Good job Jesusraz.

...and I've got a Platinum crest on the orange kingdom! Woohoo! My highscore is 1292 beats, so there! :p

What?! Bloody hell man! :eek: That some great bongo skills you have! *sulks* :sarcy:


Thanks for the praise by the way - I just hope more people pick it up here in the only just entered the Top 40 this week...Better than King of Swing, though, which didn't chart anywhere at all!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Guest 11.02.2005#3

Thanks! My highscore at the last banana-grabbing section is only 56 though, I can't understand how you are supposed to get 100?
Next platinum crest-target: The Lemon Kingdom, in the second level you can score an insane amount of combos! :D

And yes, I really hope alot of people will pick this title up, Nintendo deserves it for making such a refreshing title!

[ Edited by Bartholomeus On 2005/2/11 21:06 ]

Platinum? WOW! I'll have to try harder!

Anyway, it's a fun game, and while feeling a bit short, not more so then I expected. The problem is that it's hard to make the game hard with just the bongos- whihc makes the game seem short.

[ Edited by fenno2001 On 2005/2/11 20:35 ]

I got this game today. First 10-15 minutes was incredably frustrating... and then you get the hang of it - and once you get the hang of it its so second nature the controls are completely subconcious. Just like Sonic with its controls of just the D-pad and 1 button, simple controls can lead to a suprising amount of gameplay. And with 3 forms of input, left, right and clap - you can't get more simple.

Its a really clever idea, it all feels so new and fresh and satisfying to play, but whether its a true Nintendo classic or just a good game, I don't know, I'll have to play more to decide.

Also, slightly off topic, through buying this you get another set of bongos, so if you've already got Donkey Konga (and you really should), you can now play multiplayer - which I can't recommend enough; it is one game that truly appeals to all ages and tastes - well, most Nintendo games do, but here I've even got my non-gamer friends to have a go, and I had a job getting them off - especially if you can get 4 controllers its a blast. DKJB is single player only thoguh (thought I'd point that out), and dosn't have the same instant appeal to non-gamers that was hoped, IMO.

Heres hoping for many more games using these great controllers. :-D

17th of march???

Oh, I don't wanna wait!!

Goor review 'raz. :-D

Jungle Beet owns, it shows why Nintendo is needed so badly in the industary.
Its not perfect by any means, but no game this unique can be, <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

I will get this... damn Ninty Australia never have any release dates listed...

Guest 12.02.2005#9

The first thing I did this mornig was starting up my Gamecube to play this game! (well, after getting up, washing myself, getting some clothes on, you get itSmilie)
And I can now rather proudly say I earned another THREE platnum crests, making my total amount of crests 58!
Just wait till you get the hang of the combo system that's in the game - you'll love Jungle Beat even more! :D

I had the pleasure of playing this the other day; it is indeed fantastic fun, and it's the sort of novelty title that the Cube's crying out for. Seriously, it's almost impossible to imagine how the concept can work, but it just does. Guaranteed post-pub heaven.

And to think there were some people out there who thought the whole DK/bongos idea was the work of Satan.Smilie

Guest 12.02.2005#11

Sorry guys and gals, but I have another update!
My crest total is now 63, I have platinum crests on the first 9 kingdoms! I even had 1455 beats at one moment, but I lost 190 at the boss stage(Damn you Karate Kong!).
This game is fun x3! :Smilie

[update] I now have 64 crests, 10 platinum. And my highest amount of beats is now a whopping 1587 on the Peach Kingdom. (I started the boss battle with 1690 beats, I should be able to get 1700 next time :-D )

[edit] Allright, I succeeded in getting 1704 beats on the peach kingdom! Go me! Beat that Jesus!:lol:

[ Edited by Bartholomeus On 2005/2/12 18:10 ]

[ Edited by Bartholomeus On 2005/2/12 20:50 ]

I must admit that this game sounded weird to me and I didn't want to buy it. But after reading this review and this coments I've changed my mind, I will buy it.

Great review. :Smilie

[ Edited by Bz0 On 2005/2/12 17:47 ]

[ Edited by Bz0 On 2005/2/12 17:47 ]

Revolution is the solution.

I'll have to pick it up soon, just frantically trying to find time for finishing Tales before buying new games :Smilie

[ Edited by nin10do On 2005/2/12 18:46 ]

Barry Lewis [ nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics ]
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

Glad people are liking the review - and great work guys on the positive comments about the game. Our aim is to get more people playing it!


Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

looks good :Smilie

It's even more addictive than Donkey Konga - which is definitely a good thing! Far more replayability, as Bartholomeus will most likely attest to!


Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Guest 14.02.2005#17

It sure has! I only have to get platinum crests on three more kingdoms now, two of which are really hard to be honest. Still I also love replaying the earlier levels and getting even a higher beat total, probably due to those videos playing after you beat a kingdom.
Man, I'm in love with this game :Smilie

Nice review dude, me and Tempo got a brief play of this back on the Post-E3 tour last year, and it was great fun!

I just about got the hang of it after a few minutes of play, and it definitely left me wanting more, must remember to save up some money so I can buy it!

Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

Will pick this up off Play when I'm done with the other games I am going through at the moment, it sounds too good to be missed. Plus more bongos means more Donkey Konga action! Hope Odama comes with free bongos too.

WoW.... this game really has a wow factor. Only got it 24 hours ago but i totally hooked.
This is to the gamecube waht Sonic 2 was to the megadrive, an absolute blast.

the thing that really takes your breath away is the Graphics... simply awsome.

Found one little tip which might help increse scores, if you have two sets of bongos, get someone else to lend a hand on the end of level bananna grab. with two banging away you should get about 10 more banannas :Smilie

MKWii FC 4081-5636-6351 <<-- add me SSBB FC 2707-3062-7319 <<-- add me

Thanks for the tip Shagster and thanks for the praise in general guys - hopefully we'll help to keep this astounding game in the Top 40 for a few more weeks! :Smilie

And yes, the graphics left me drooling...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Guest 24.02.2005#22

Hey, where are all the comments?

[edit] nevermind, they seem to dissapear for some reason. :roll:

[ Edited by Bartholomeus On 2005/2/24 14:01 ]

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