Best of ND 2014! Track of the Week: Jungle Groove (Donkey Kong Country)

Take a trip back to 1994 for this track!

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 01/04/2015 12:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

This story was selected as one of our best from 2014. It was originally published on February 9, during Issue 191.

The Donkey Kong Country series has provided fans with some of the greatest video game music of all time. With Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze arriving later this month, we’re honoring returning composer David Wise with this week’s Track of the Week, Jungle Groove. While Jungle Groove isn’t my favorite track in the series, it’s perhaps the one most closely associated with it. That’s because, as the track featured in the very first level of the game, it set a precedent for what the series would be known for from then on.

The most memorable tracks in gaming tend to evoke setting. Whether it’s the cold desolation of Phendrana Drifts, or the peaceful serenity of Relic Forest, we can listen to these songs and associate them with real life locations beyond the game itself. Jungle Groove is no exception. From the opening drumbeat and animal noises, we immediately feel immersed in the jungle setting of Donkey Kong Country. While it might seem strange to most gamers these days, Donkey Kong had never been associated with this type of setting before, so it was important to establish the tone early from both a graphical standpoint, and an aural one, as well. To say that it was the perfect song to kick off the series would be a massive understatement.

Since the original Donkey Kong Country debuted on the Super Nintendo in 1994, any discussion of the series inevitably leads to the soundtrack, and that’s a testament to composer David Wise. Since the game’s debut, Jungle Groove has followed Donkey and Diddy Kong across multiple titles across multiple consoles. Super Smash Bros. and Donkey Kong Country Returns both feature remixes of the classic track, to name just two. And few other franchises outside of Mario can boast a song so strongly associated with them.

What are some of your favorite David Wise tracks? As always, let us know in the comments below, as well as any other tracks you’d like us to feature in upcoming installments!

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