Best of ND 2013: Top Ten: Rare Games

Rare made a lot of hits for Nintendo over their time together. Which game reigns supreme?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/02/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

3) Donkey Kong Country (Series)

Platform: SNES (1994, 1995, 1996)

With Sony’s PlayStation looming over SNES like a shadowy, 32-bit-reaper, Nintendo knew that it would have to do something to keep its aging console relevant. Enter Rare, which had recently invested in advanced Silicon Graphics computer work stations. Using new techniques cultivated with this cutting-edge tech, Rare was able to do full CGI rendering on the aging SNES hardware that no one thought possible. As a result of this achievement, Nintendo decided to allow Rare to use Donkey Kong as the template for building a new game with this technology. The culmination of all this hard work was Donkey Kong Country, a beautiful 2D platformer sporting pre-rendered imagery that shocked fans everywhere.

Donkey Kong Country created some vivid memories for those who saw the game for the first time, with many not being able to believe that the game was running on SNES. In an age of hyper-realistic HD games on everything from smartphones to consoles, it’s hard for today’s players to understand why these now-simple looking graphics were such a big deal, but all one has to do is look at other games of the era to see why Donkey Kong Country stood out as much as it did. It didn’t hurt that the game introduced a charming new cast of allies and enemies (especially Diddy and Cranky Kong), a David Wise soundtrack that glued itself to a person’s mind, and silky smooth gameplay that rivaled Mario’s own. The following sequels continued to take the graphics and play control of this first game and evolve them further, and all three stand tall as the pinnacle of Rare’s work on SNES.

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