Sunday, February 12, 2012

Game Music Jukebox #5

Thanks to another reader request, let's take a look (and a listen) at the music from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest for the SNES.

One of the most beloved series of games on the Super Nintendo, all three Donkey Kong Country games are very solid platformers that feature some of the best gameplay of the time (1994-1996). Each game has a great soundtrack, but DKC2 is most commonly referred to as the best.

The music for the Donkey Kong Country games was composed by David Wise, who composed the music for many games developed by Rare in the late 80's and early 90's. He is responsible for the music from many games, such as Battletoads, R.C. Pro-Am and Marble Madness (and many more).

DKC2 has a great soundtrack that covers a wide range of instruments and melodies that perfectly complement the wide range of areas featured in the game. Volcanoes, pirate ships, beehives, amusement parks and ice caverns all come to life with beautifully appropriate musical scores. Here's my personal selection of the best that DKC2 has to offer.

Flight of the Zinger:

This is the music that plays during the hive levels. You find yourself in the middle of a hive surrounded by giant hornets buzzing in every direction. You really don't belong here and you really don't want to be here. This music does an excellent job of capturing both the tension and the excitement of these levels. The track has a slow build and at about 30 seconds in, things get a little creepier before reaching greatness at the 1 minute mark. Things start to settle down and then it loops and we go on that wild ride again. Amazing!

Kaptain K. Rool:

I love boss music. I think it's always a shining moment in a game's soundtrack. Especially the Final Boss. This is the music that plays when you meet the final boss of DKC2: Kaptain K. Rool. The fight against Kaptain K. Rool is a marathon head-to-head brawl that is as difficult as it is climactic. You fight K. Rool in his flying airship high above his pirate island castle. This theme features a suitable "technological" sound, but you still get you fair share of horns that blast out a pirate theme (check it out at 0:33), just to remind you that K. Rool is, in fact, a dastardly pirate.

Stickerbrush Symphony:

This was the first theme that came to mind when I was asked to do a feature on this game. This is the highlight of this game's soundtrack. The longest piece of music in the game, it takes a while to get going, but the beauty of this track is utterly undeniable. This is one beautiful piece of music. This theme can be heard when venturing through the brambles; mazes of thorny bushes high in the sky.

This piece of music is powerful and introspective in a way that is usually reserved for the endings and credits sequences of games. This is definitely Mr. Wise's finest piece of work!


Stickerbrush Symphony (Remix):

A remix of Stickerbrush Symphony is featured in Super Smash Bros Brawl for the Wii. Working from pretty amazing source material, this is one of the best remixes I've ever heard, listen and enjoy!


  1. The tricky part with this game is that near every track is amazing. Thankfully no matter which you pick as favourites you can't be wrong :D

    Stickerbrush Symphony is omnipresent in every DKC2 track list and I'll add Krook's March as my #2. Just listening to it I can feel my fingers twitching from trying to outrun the poison water and darting left and right to not get crushed by the ever-rising floor.

    In a Snow-Bound Land continues the tradition of Nintendo ice level tracks being awesome (hello, Phendrana Drifts!) and Lockjaw's Saga has that terrible sense of drowning attached to it with a hint of claustrophobia.

    1. To keep these entries from going on too long, I limit myself to 3 tracks, but you're right Marc, I could have easily put a dozen up here! So much good stuff to choose from. You've pretty much nailed the next 3 I would have picked!

      You're right about Nintendo and "winter" themed music, it almost always comes out excellent.

  2. Why is Super Nintendo music the best music?

    Let me correct that question, Why is Super Nintendo anything, the best anything?

    To add to the list, I was always partial to the Mine Theme. Whenever I hear it I instantly remember Squawks, from the level where you had to use him to carry Diddy and Dixie through the mineshaft. Plus it's a pretty rockin' tune.