The Top 7... Winter wonderlands

Yep, another side-scrolling entry from the early ‘90s. But unlike Sonic, the original DKC did a great job of making each location look, feel and play moderately different from the rest. By the time you ascend to the top of Kong’s sycophantic island, you’re well-versed in the game’s platforming demands and wholly capable of traversing its treacherous snowcapped peaks.

Above: Rock Donkey Kong vomiting a forest, we guess?

What begins as a typical level covered in slippery snow gradually transforms into an all-out blizzard. For the time, it was a dramatic showcase of environmental hazards and weather effects, easily standing out from contemporary offerings that were usually regular levels with a white tint.

Above: Blanketed trees, grey skies, comfortably dreary

Above: Whoa! Halfway through it explodes into a snowstorm

The effect is both beautiful and distracting, making the subsequent bout of perilous platforming all the more difficult. Combine this with music that begins tranquil and, as the storm swells, becomes more and more intense and foreboding, and you have one of the best 2D snow levels of all time.