I hope you all enjoyed that break, maybe had some lunch or a tea. Now on with the analysis! In the last part we covered the first two Super Smash Bros. game (and make sure you read that article before this one as we will refer back to it) and in this part, we will be covering the final three: Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U & 3DS. We will also be doing an overall analysis and the absences as per usual so make sure you read to the very end!
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Moving on to the Wii title, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Donkey Kong universe saw Jungle Japes returns from Melee in order to represent a game from the SNES Donkey Kong Country series. Along with this Donkey Kong gets two brand new stages: Rumble Falls and 75m. Both of these stages are based on completely different areas of the Donkey Kong universe. So let us start with a stage that is available from the start of Brawl: Rumble Falls.
Rumble Falls is a vertically scrolling level and the successor to Melee’s Icicle Mountain level. It involves climbing up a waterfall and into the sky where players begin jumping across vines and even a plane before water comes crashing down from the sky and the stage resets. So the origin of this stage was the latest platformer in the Donkey Kong series, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. This was the first Donkey Kong platformer made without Rare and the only one on the GameCube.
This stage is split into two halves, the waterfall, and the sky. The first half is where this stage gets its namesake from Rumble Falls, level 6-1. The stage itself involves Donkey Kong climbing up a giant waterfall so the vertical nature of the stage matches very well. Everything from the first part of this stage, from its ruins and wooden platforms, are taken from Jungle Beat. Once we hit the top of the waterfall, however, everything changes. While the backgrounds vines and platforms are taken from level 2-2: Sky Garden, everything else is taken from other parts of the series. The moving platforms were a common part of the Donkey Kong Country series and the Plane could be a reference to Funky’s Flights although it looks nothing like his plane.
Brawl introduced the My Music section which increases the amount of music that each stage has. So Rumble Falls has seven music tracks that take from various games in the series. There are tracks from the first two Donkey Kong Country games, then a single track from Jungle Beat itself and finally a track from Donkey Kong Barrel Blast on the Wii. With Jungle Japes represent the Country series it was nice to see a level represent the newer games in the series but Brawl also went one step more. In Brawl we got 75m which goes in the complete opposite direction by representing a level from the original Donkey Kong arcade game, the game that put Donkey Kong on the map.
75m is a divisive stage among the fan base due to its size and obstacles that can easily kill anyone. However, it is really easy to see where this game gets it’s inspiration as it is a near 1:1 with 75m from the original Donkey Kong arcade cabinet. Everything from the fire, the collectibles, and even the pattern the springs bounce on is taken from this game. The only thing missing is Pauline and Mario themselves. In the Brawl version of this stage the platforms on the right were actually walk-offs which were different from the original arcade game. When it returned in Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS they changed this to make it more 1:1 with the original. All the music on this stage is taken directly from the original Donkey Kong as well which truly makes it a representation of this game and nothing more.
It was nice to see Brawl tackle every generation of the Donkey Kong universe as it allowed us as fans and players to see how the series has evolved since it’s debut to the modern era (at least in 2008).
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
On the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. for we only got one Donkey Kong stage and it was a returning level: Jungle Japes. As Smash for 3DS had an emphasis on the handheld titles this may have been chosen because the Country series had a prominent place for Donkey Kong on the handhelds. There was the Donkey Kong Land series that acted as a companion game to the SNES console games and all the original Donkey Kong Country games were ported to the GBA (and GBC for the first one).
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U saw three stages for Donkey Kong overall with two of them being returning levels. Kongo Jungle from the first Super Smash Bros. game returned in order to reference the first Donkey Kong Country game while 75m from Brawl came back to reference the very first Donkey Kong game in arcades. This leaves one new level that fills the position that Rumble Falls did in Brawl by representing the current Donkey Kong series. This stage is Jungle Hijinx and is based on the Wii title: Donkey Kong Country Returns.
This stage is both based on and named after the first level of Donkey Kong Country Returns: Jungle Hijinx. Its whole mechanic of having a dual-plains to fight on is lifted straight from that game and all of the mechanics and aesthetics come from it as well. The barrels that shoot the player into the back, the design of the ruins in the back and even the Screaming Pillars that spawn and attempt to fall on the players are taken from this first level. So just like 75m it is really obvious to see the inspiration for this brand new level in the Donkey Kong universe.
As for this stages music, we have tracks taken from the first two Donkey Kong Country titles as well as Donkey Kong 64. Jungle Beat gets a song returning from Rumble Falls and finally both games in the Donkey Kong Country Returns series, Returns and Tropical Freeze, get music from them.
And with that, we have all of the Donkey Kong stages in the latest version of Super Smash Bros. and it is nice to see the tradition Brawl started to be continued on by referencing all the major parts of Donkey Kong’s career.
Now that we have gone through every game it is time to look at some statistics. These will be spoiler tagged due to their size and only contain the games that have been represented and not just referenced.
|Game||Year of Release||Stages||Smash game debuted in|
|Donkey Kong||1981||75m||Super Smash Bros. Brawl|
|Donkey Kong Country||1994||Kongo Jungle 64
| Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
|Donkey Kong Country (series)*||1994-1999||Kong Jungle [Melee]||Super Smash Bros. Melee|
|Donkey Kong Jungle Beat||2004||Rumble Falls||Super Smash Bros. Brawl|
|Donkey Kong Country Returns||2010||Jungle Hijinx||Super Smash Bros. for Wii U|
*this specifically refers to DKC1, 2, 3 and 64. There is not enough for the last three to get their own section but the stage doesn’t reference only one game.
And here is the table for the number of Donkey Kong stages per Smash title.
|Game||New Stages||Returning Stages||Total Stages|
|Super Smash Bros.||1||0||1|
|Super Smash Bros. Melee||2||1||3|
|Super Smash Bros. Brawl||2||1||3|
|Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS||0||1||1|
|Super Smash Bros. for Wii U||1||2||3|
|Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U (combined)||1||3||4|
This makes the grand total of Donkey Kong stages in the Super Smash Bros. series 6, with only Kongo Jungle [Melee] and Rumble Falls never coming back after their debut.
And to cap things off, there is one last table here listing how many times each console had a stage from one of its games in Smash.
|Console||Number of Stages|
|SNES||2 ¾ *|
*When you split the Donkey Kong Country series up into its 4 games for Kongo Jungle [Melee].
Most of the main Donkey Kong titles have seen some representation in the Super Smash Bros. series as stages, however, it’s spin-offs have been largely ignored. Some of these are for obvious reasons with the Barrel Blast game and the Jungle Climber series being fairly unimportant to the whole series and largely forgettable. However, there are two games and two sub-set of spin-offs that are noticeably absent from Smash so far.
Donkey Kong Jr.: The first hero in the Kong family, Donkey Kong Jr. is almost as important as his father and yet nothing from him or his games have ever made it into Smash outside of stickers and trophies. A level based on the arcade game Donkey Kong Jr. could work and will fill the same role that 75m does as a stage. It might even be a better stage overall. Unfortunately the original will always be more important than the successor so the best bet this game has to show up as a stage is by having Donkey Kong Jr. get back into the limelight, either as a fighter in Smash or in his own series.
Diddy Kong Racing: A very popular title for the Nintendo 64, Diddy Kong Racing was considered on par with Mario Kart and starred DK’s little partner Diddy, who is playable in Smash. The game got remade for the Nintendo DS and had more elements from the Donkey Kong series added into it such as Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong, however, this game has got nothing in the Smash series at all. There is a likely reason for this however and that is because much of this game has to do with Rare. They made both versions of the game and many of its elements are in reference to them rather than the Donkey Kong universe itself. It could almost be called Diddy & Rare All-Star Racing. I wouldn’t expect a stage from this game anytime soon unless Nintendo decides to revive this series for the Nintendo Switch.
Donkey Konga: This series of games for the GameCube are the major focus of one of Nintendo’s peripherals, the Bongo Drums, and a major focus for the Kong in that era of gaming. While the series did get representation via Donkey Kong’s final smash it has never gotten a stage with Jungle Beat taking the spotlight. To be fair to Jungle Beat though that was the main platforming game whereas Donkey Konga is a rhythm game. This genre doesn’t really fit for a level theme so it is clear why it was not picked up. At least it gets something in the Smash series unlike the other absences on this list.
Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: teetering on the border of the Super Mario & Donkey Kong universes, the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series has had many titles since it’s debut on the Game Boy Advance. This is by far the biggest omission from the Donkey Kong universe as the series has been so prominent, even getting two titles on the Wii U and 3 on the Nintendo 3DS. So the fact that next to nothing has appeared in Smash from this series is rather baffling. I can only think that this relates to a comment from Sakurai that Smash is about representing Japanese games and as this series is made by a western company it is never considered (then again so is the Country series but maybe that is too important to Donkey Kong to be ignored).
As one final note for the absences, I just wanted to comment about how much of a shaft the third Donkey Kong Country game, Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble, gets. It has no stages representing it which are the same as 64 and Diddy’s Kong Quest, however, it also gets no music whatsoever with its only reference in the latest Smash game being a minor one in a returning stage on the 3DS only. Maybe we need Dixie Kong to finally debut as a fighter before this game gets any real love.
So for the Donkey Kong series we actually get quite a nice theme of representation going on. In almost every Super Smash Bros. title we get stages based around all of Donkey Kong’s most important moments in gaming. While this didn’t really get completed until Brawl with the introduction of a stage based on the Arcade game Donkey Kong we see the makings of it in 64 and Melee which aimed to represent the Country series in its entirety, the main focus for the Kong in that era of gaming and the series that reshape how his entire universe would be observed into the future. Heck, it was this series that allowed him to separate from the Super Mario universe. Every Smash game has added a new Donkey Kong stage except for the 3DS title which chose to rely on a returning stage (like with many main series). So in the next major Smash title, I would fully expect a new Donkey Kong stage to be added, probably based on Tropical Freeze as it is the latest game in the Donkey Kong Universe.