16. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
Nintendo | Nintendo | 2005
A traditional platformer emphasizing perfectly timed leaps and precision attacks. Oh, and it's played entirely with a set of plastic bongos
What made it so great?
When Nintendo showed the world it had a pair of bongos on the way, we all thought, "...the hell?" Sure, the music-rhythm game Donkey Konga made gimmicky sense, but what else could you possibly do with friggin' bongos? Well, someone had the brilliant idea to transfer everything about classic Mario games into those drums and in doing so crafted the most physically demanding platformer ever made.
Instead of using the d-pad or analog stick, you'd have to pound on the right drum to make DK run right, left to run left and hit 'em both to make him jump. You'd even have to clap to make DK do the same action in-game. Doing so would grab bananas all around you, injure enemies or make DK grab onto anything nearby. Crazy monsters, irritable birds and angry fish all fell prey to DK's hand-smashing madness, and the longer you keep DK swinging from branch to bird to boss, the higher the combo count will be when he touches down.
To top it all off, the boss battles put you through even more hell than the preceding level. Most fights were bouts against rival Kong clan members, where clapping made DK dodge incoming fists and feet - smacking the bongos after a successful dodge sends your fists into the fray, followed by intense beating of the drums to deliver a pounding. But these Kongs can dodge too, trapping you in a fierce storm of feints and swings, each trying to outdo the other. Toy bongos ruled the day. Who knew?
Get ready to play
We've said it before, but if you're not sweating by the time you're done playing, you're doing something wrong. There's so much incessant beating of the drums that your arms simply have to start aching at some point - even so, it's never once annoying, only demanding. Then, if you get a chance to really soak in the visuals, you'll see one of the prettiest GameCube games of all.
Been there, done that?
Hm. There's a 100% chance that if you have Jungle Beat, you already have Konga. Well, you've only got a few choices, so just pick one and play it again. At least Konga is multiplayer, right?