Game music of the day: Donkey Kong Country

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

May 7, 2010

Game: Donkey Kong Country

Song: Aquatic Ambiance

Composer: David Wise

Above: Aquatic Ambiance from Donkey Kong Country

First introduced in the Coral Capers level of Donkey Kong Country, Aquatic Ambiance is a fittingly impressive track for the best water level of all time. This is soft music done right. Soothing and smooth without being the least bit boring, Ambiance perfectly complements the flowy serenity of DKC's underwater levels. In the video below, Ken Lobb even explains that the first DKC water level is meant as a easygoing reward for players after they've braved a difficult level (Reptile Rumble isn't that tricky, but OK), so Aquatic Ambiance was specifically crafted to be relaxing and mellow.

Above: Ken Lobb tries to explain how good the DKC soundtrack is while interviewer dude spazzes out

While Aquatic Ambiance has been remixed many times, still nothing compares to the original mix. How can you improve upon those bloopy bubble sounds and tinkly keyboard notes that strike just the right balance? Donkey Kong Country is known for its standout soundtrack, and Aquatic Ambiance is the standout within its many stellar tunes.

Above: The understated elegance of its melody lends itself to the piano too

Game music of the day: Donkey Kong Country 2
The genius of David Wise, plus OCR album Serious Monkey Business

Game music of the day: Link's Awakening
"Tal Tal Mountain Range" by Totaka/Hamano

Game music of the day: The OneUps
Versatile, talented and easily the most proficient game band


  • r3ap3r - June 30, 2010 8:22 p.m.

    great song still remember playing this game on my gameboy when i was a lil kid.
  • StickyLungs - June 16, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    I had that VHS! WOW! I forgot about that. LOL
  • Strangleme - May 12, 2010 9 p.m.

    Holy Fuck!!! This is by far one of my absolute favorite video game tracks ever. I'll never forget playing this, one of my most beloved christmas gifts of 1994, as a 13 year old, I couldn't believe how amazing the music was. It was so different from many other games I had ever played up to that point. Excellent choice Carolyn!!
  • LionheartAce - May 10, 2010 6:20 p.m.

    Love DKC!
  • bloodyshadow - May 9, 2010 7:17 a.m.

    Not a fan. In fact, this was the first time I ever muted my TV while playing a video game. I love DKC's music... a lot. Just.. this song. Cuts through me. The second instance of me muting my TV was "Bramble Blast" which is another favorite of yours... sorry.
  • Spybreak8 - May 9, 2010 3:08 a.m.

    Ahh I love Donkey Kong music. The OC Remix is enjoyable as well.
  • Vitoruss1 - May 9, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    These underwater levels with this music used to scare the shit out of me when I was little. So did the giant wasp. I'm still horrified of the ocean to this day.
  • TURbo - May 9, 2010 12:56 a.m.

    Yep they always play it in TalkRadar with something sad. Like Shane leaving, Dan leaving, David Wise leaving, and other things leaving off in a distance, and things will never be the same again.
  • shadowarrior99 - May 8, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    The song is very beautiful and calming, especially for the system it was on for it's time.
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 8, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    Reminds me of Shane's roast and my childhood. I miss you, Shane...
  • - May 8, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    This game was my childhood, and this song is all nostalgia =)
  • Modroneman - May 8, 2010 4:34 p.m.

    I have always loved this song. Has been a favorite of mine for a long time! Thank you for sharing this again. The piano version is very nice, but just not as enjoyable as the in-game music engine. The original Donkey Kong Country is still one of my most favorite games of all time!
  • Imgema - May 8, 2010 11 a.m.

    David Wise is the god of VG music. You can't beat him, not even that fancy Japanese composer can beat him. Who needs epic orchestral soundtracks when you can listen to the haunting, eerie, amazingly composed midi music of Donkey Kong Country 2? And this piece from the first game?
  • philipshaw - May 8, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    I love this song and game
  • Ravenbom - May 8, 2010 7:41 a.m.

    I agree with Bearhat, you guys blew your load with this song. It's only downhill from here. Still, great choice Carolyn. Plus, even though everyone loves that song, you get to look like you have the best taste in music out of the staff.
  • Chewrocka - May 8, 2010 5:50 a.m.

    I have this on my ipod (and the ocremixes)!
  • Setre - May 8, 2010 5:29 a.m.

    Very nice choice Carolyn, there's something very haunting about this song.
  • MetalGearFlaccid - May 8, 2010 3:05 a.m.

    I'd love to see some of my favs show up here; i.e.: Dirge of Cerberus. It's not a great game, but the soundtrack fucking owned.
  • infestedandy - May 8, 2010 2:53 a.m.

    Donkey Kong Country has an abundance of amazing songs, especially when it comes to Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. As far as the first goes, you simply can't forget Gang Plank Galleon. Aquatic Ambiance is great, but this... Dude.
  • johneverett - May 8, 2010 2:02 a.m.

    @Charlie: Until the theme from "Uncharted" is featured, I don't think there's anything to worry about.

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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