Donkey Kong Jet Import Hands-On

We check out the Japanese retail version of this bongo-beating racer.

Originally announced for the GameCube as DK Bongo Blast at last year's E3, Donkey Kong Jet is a racing game in which the titular gorilla and friends fly using bongo-powered jetpacks. Originally designed to take advantage of the GameCube's bongo drum controllers, Donkey Kong Jet is no longer a game that will make the owners of said underused peripherals feel better about themselves. Rather, it's a Mario Kart-style racer that, at least based on our time with it thus far, would be a lot more fun if it offered something resembling a conventional control system.

Like other racing games of its ilk, Donkey Kong Jet features a sizeable roster of recognizable characters from its game universe. There appear to be a total of 16 characters including eight good guys and eight bad guys, though only three from each group are unlocked at the outset. Each character handles a little differently because they have ratings of between one and five stars for power, speed, and turning. With that said, none of them handle as well as they would with a regular control setup; call us crazy, but pretending that Wii Remotes and Nunchuks are drumsticks just doesn't feel like an obvious or particularly enjoyable way to control a flying primate.

If you've played any racing game before, ever, you know that a single button makes a perfectly adequate accelerator, and if you've ever played a game in which you needed to jump, you'll know that this particular action is every bit as easy to control using a single digit. Donkey Kong Jet does away with these long-established control conventions in favor of a system that requires you to repeatedly move the Wii Remote and Nunchuk up and down alternately when you want to accelerate (which is pretty much all the time), move them both up and down simultaneously when you want to jump and, just for good measure, move only the one in your left or right hand up and down when you want to steer in that direction. The controls for the game's jetpacks are perhaps best compared to those of a rowboat or a canoe, although moving either of those in real life is arguably far less taxing.

Many of the game's features will be familiar to fans of the Donkey Kong country series.

The course designs in Donkey Kong Jet, at least those that we've raced on to date, are more or less what you'd expect from a racing game that's inspired by a series of platform games. Circuits weave their way through jungles, around lava-spewing volcanoes, along beaches, and even underwater. We've yet to encounter an icy or snow-covered circuit, but we wouldn't bet against there being at least one in there--you get the idea. Things to look out for as you're racing include bananas that can be collected to power turbo boosts, balloons that contain any of around 16 different power-ups, and various barrels that need to be either avoided or aimed for depending on their markings and on your current status. Most of the barrels are simply obstacles that will slow you down if you collide with them, for example, but hitting those same barrels while using one of the aforementioned turbo boosts extends the boost's duration. Those of you who've played any of the Donkey Kong Country platform games will have no trouble spotting the barrels that you should try to jump into in order to be propelled forward while bypassing obstacles, though you'll find that many of them are positioned in such a way that their reward doesn't come without some risk.

Donkey Kong Jet supports up to four players simultaneously in split-screen modes of play, and unless we're very much mistaken, one of the screenshots in the Japanese manual shows a ghost mode that will let you compete against your own best times. We'll bring you more information on Donkey Kong Jet as soon as it becomes available (read: until we find someone who can translate the manual); maybe we'll even get to see an English-language version at E3 next week. Fingers crossed.

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Discussion

73 comments
packster
packster

What are you guys talking about? Yah the ratings are bad, It made me unsure, but Im a big DK fan and I trust Nintendo, it's just so underappreciated, I love this game, it isnt supposed to be Mario Kart, its a unique new game that has it's complete differences, it rocks, get it!

BMTHx3
BMTHx3

This game looked repeatitive and boring even before it came out... The rating shows that it really is. ^^

seniorDK
seniorDK

yay we need another dk64 type game

Alejandro206
Alejandro206

sounds good, but i wish that you (nintendo) can make a game such good as donkey kong 64. come on man, from Super Mario 64 to mario galaxy was the S**t but this now, i know that yall can do better. still i'ma try this game.

ookami-gamer
ookami-gamer

HOORAY NINTENDO!!! you managed to ruin yet another classic game character. i miss the old donky kong country games. come on nintendo. the game was doing fine up until donkey kong 64....since then, the classic gorilla's good name has been destroyed. the shame -.-

acu02151
acu02151

Well it might be kinda fun with 4 people around the tv.

sheep_go_meep
sheep_go_meep

So... you can't use the bongos as an optional control scheme?

xtiansk8
xtiansk8

if the dk bongos were compatible, i'd buy it, but it's too idiotic to play it with the wiimote

shadowboi456
shadowboi456

[QUOTE] This game would be much better if it lets you have the option to use the DK Bongos as a controller. Otherwise, they should have made this for the GameCube.......for cryin' out loud, give the lunchbox one more chance to live!!!!!!!!! They've discontinued the Gamecube but i think adding the bongo's would be a great idea.

GreenXMega
GreenXMega

This game would be much better if it lets you have the option to use the DK Bongos as a controller. Otherwise, they should have made this for the GameCube.......for cryin' out loud, give the lunchbox one more chance to live!!!!!!!!!!

Killer_Dodds
Killer_Dodds

what the hell is this? sonic ...the nintendo monkey edition?

BoogleandFoogi
BoogleandFoogi

this doesn't seem like it'll turn out too good, but you never know

cosmothehound
cosmothehound

lol jeff gerstmann bashed this on on the spot hilarious.

HardCor1981
HardCor1981

videogame + wrist exercise = hmmm...I can think of something more exciting.

DVF44
DVF44

this will no doubt be a great game but come one better than mario cat ill believe it when i see it

QualityJeverage
QualityJeverage

@meesey01 You're right, there won't be any Rare games on Nintendo's home consoles. Microsoft owns Rare but has still allowed them to develop games for Nintendo's handhelds, since there's no direct competition there. Seeing Rare develop a game on the Wii is be about as likely as Duke Nukem Forever and Freespace 3 both being released this year (If at all).

walkerctranger
walkerctranger

you know how tired you would get just constantly waving the wiimote and nunchuck? what the point.

kbaily
kbaily

I don't know if I'm into the hold nunchcuk, Wiimote shaking to accellerate. It was tiring enough for the Rayman Raving Rabbids minigames let alone do it for the duration of a whole race. I hope they consider something less tiring.

meesey01
meesey01

@ dukerav: "That is true for the most part, but Rare did develop Diddy Kong Racing DS post Microsoft buyout, so I suppose its not totally out of the question to see more Rare made Donkey Kong." I never acutally knew that man, nice pickup there. Although I don't think we'll see much more rares games on the Nintendo home console as that's in direct competition with the 360. Rare do however make some games for the DS as it won't be taking away from Microsofts business only because they haven't released a handheld...yet :P

Anita_Bath
Anita_Bath

It sucks that Microsoft bought rare coz now if I wanna play another Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark or Conker game, I gotta grab an Xbox 360!...

dukerav
dukerav

@ FinalFighter911: "Well Nintendo had a partnership with rare who made them sweet DK side scrollers we know and love. But microsoft bought rare so now they cant make any cool DK games for nintendo. but nintendo owns DK so they can do what they want with him. answer ur question viral-venom13?" That is true for the most part, but Rare did develop Diddy Kong Racing DS post Microsoft buyout, so I suppose its not totally out of the question to see more Rare made Donkey Kong.

PerfectDark0Fan
PerfectDark0Fan

Im a bit interested but the track dosnet look like it has much too it and the design looks to Japanese. But I say intersting because it looks like Nintendo avoided anouther musical to their licence. I miss the aventures Rare gave though.

beedouk
beedouk

defenatly not buying this

FinalFighter911
FinalFighter911

Well Nintendo had a partnership with rare who made them sweet DK side scrollers we know and love. But microsoft bought rare so now they cant make any cool DK games for nintendo. but nintendo owns DK so they can do what they want with him. answer ur question viral-venom13?

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

i'm just wondering when does nintendo plan on bringing back a nice donkey kong adventure game as it use to make in the past!!

ShadowLaguna
ShadowLaguna

Sounds like DKR in a way. I'd like to try this! :P

wii-g
wii-g

well it isn't just DK thats not workin out for the wii there are more games, plus y cant nintendo come up with a good wii game these days?!!! how retarded is thats?!!!!....lets just hope that metroid 3 will be worth it

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

Oh...for christ sake. They did it with the Star Fox franchise and now they are doing it with the Donkey Kong franchise. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Donkey Kong King Of Swings, Mario vs Donkey Kong, Donkey Konga, Donkey...donkey..donkey So.....perhaps we will see a true ambitious Donkey Kong game in year 2thousandnever?

7arek
7arek

This game just seems like mistake, and I agree with everyone else, a new Donkey Kong Platformer!

expert-yeti
expert-yeti

I agree w/ rikjuh on this one. After playing Call of Duty 3 and driving using the WiiMote and Nunchuck like holding a steering wheel, which was a horrible idea that didn't work at all, I see this racing game's controls as being a potential problem.

rikjuh
rikjuh

Dear nintendo: instead of ****ing up the DK series with retarted racers that nobody is actually waiting for, please start working on a Decent DK platformer for the DS or the Wii again. you have made us wait long enough. don't torment us anny longer.

jobot_5000
jobot_5000

This just looks plain retarded...this is a game for the folks at ARC.

sharpie_92
sharpie_92

I agree with almost anybody in the world WHY ISNT THERE ANOTHER DONKEY KONG PLATFORMER!!!?!?!?!?!?!?! It would sell millions of games and they rock as well!!!!!

sephiroth_4
sephiroth_4

sooooo why didn't they leave the bongo use?!

cobrax80
cobrax80

Why can't they make a true Donkey Kong Sequel by now?

Grinder86
Grinder86

what i want, and alot of other people wants, is another DK adventure game, like a sequel, why havent they made one, after DK64, i still have that game, and i love playing it and all, but i want a new one, maybe E3?

Bauer_24
Bauer_24

True talk Wej_accept_it, why haven't they yet developed another DK platformer after the success of DK 64?......

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

What is with these crappy DK spin off games??? How long will the world wait before RareWare makes what we all want, a NEW DK adventure platforming. I mean, Donkey Country 1 and 2 were awesome, 3 went down hill, but DK64 was like the best 3D platformer in years. Why hasn't there been a sequal yet?!?!?!?!?!?

Alex_THVK
Alex_THVK

With the DK Bongos, it would have been more or less interesting. With the Wii controller, it looks more or less tiring. and I don't mind free workout at all, but I guess a racing game where you steer that way is just not as compelling...

dragontank28
dragontank28

I would like the game it looks really neat to play

Shishio817
Shishio817

Yeah; if there's an alternate control scheme (or if it's not quite the way Gamespot presented it here, i.e. what SeanKing64 said), then maybe I'll check this out. I've been wanting a sequel to Diddy Kong Racing, and ever since Donkey Kong Racing became vaporware there has been nothing, so I'll take what I can get. By the way, does anyone know of a sequel for Mario Kart Double Dash? Now that's what I want!

greystone227
greystone227

Haha, I saw this game on On the Spot. It looks pretty terrible. It reminds me of the Rayman mini games where you have to move the remote and nunchuck up and down to move - but all the time. It just seems like you would have to take 5-10 min breaks in between races just so your arms didn't fall off from exhaustion. When they bring this game over here, the least they could do is add in an alternate control method.

allmybase
allmybase

I thought that this game had become vaporware since next to no information about it had been released after E3 last year. So color me more than a bit surprised to see this game actually came to fruition. I didn't even know the game had been released until seeing this article. Next up: the long-lost Kirby game that was on display a few years ago? Stage Debut? Super Mario 128? There are so many seemingly dead games for Nintendo platforms for the past few years that I'm starting to wonder which ones are simply going to be ported to the Wii. Still, it seems like an interesting game. Waving each remote up and down to accelerate doesn't really sound like my cup of tea, but I'll hold judgment until whenever I end up playing this.

Dualmask
Dualmask

I really hope the developers get the hint before releasing this--not everything needs to be controlled with motion. Just based on this preview alone, it sounds like this is going to be a really bad, really pointless game.