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Ow! My Wrists! (Early Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Impressions)

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Ow! My Wrists! (Early Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Impressions)

Old 10-26-07, 03:49 PM
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Ow! My Wrists! (Early Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Impressions)

So... this is going my maiden voyage into VGT history: Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, for the Wii.

These impressions aren't necessarily going to drive my review, but I wanted to share some initial thoughts with you after the first hour of gameplay. Look for the full review from me in the coming days, though. I'm looking forward to putting it together to seeing the finished product.

That is, of course, if my wrists hold out. DK might not only be the King of Swing, but he's apparently the King of Waggle. The controls are all waggle-driven. Rapidly beat both the Wiimote and the Nunchuk downwards to accelerate. Beating only one hand down will "turn" your on-screen character one way or the another (I'm a righty, so waggling the Wiimote down turns right and waggling the Nunchuk down turns left.). Then the lift both hands upwards to jump-- which would be fine except for the part where you accidentally lift both controllers up too far while accelerating and find yourself jumping for no reason. Yeah, that's fun.

Barrel Blast is a racing game; kinda like Diddy Kong Racing, I guess. Not in the same league, though-- not even close. You can collect power-ups, knock rivals out of the way with a punch, and use barrel shortcuts (similar to the Donkey Kong Country games, whose universe this game is based on). The problem is, although it's early, there's no sense of speed here. No speed in a racing game? You heard right.

There are several modes of play, including a Challenge Mode for achieving certain goals outside of a race and setting records... but the meat of the game lies in its Grand Prix mode. There are a fair number of courses to unlock and several different difficulty levels (reminds me of F-Zero in this respect).

Visually, I'm actually impressed. Despite the lack of speed, the Donkey Kong Country universe has never looked better. I haven't seen any visual hitches or frame rate hits yet.

Soundwise, there's a mix of familiar Donkey Kong Country tracks and some newer, almost Latin-sounding tracks. There's no voice work, but primates usually don't talk much... so that's forgivable.

I'm not giving a final verdict yet... you'll have to wait for the finished review to find out. In the meantime, it's time to rest those wrists and then get back to work.

Two Advil, please...
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Old 10-26-07, 03:52 PM
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So, you need strong wrists to master this game? Sounds like I've been "in training" since the age of 12!
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Old 10-26-07, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
So, you need strong wrists to master this game? Sounds like I've been "in training" since the age of 12!
Ha ha ha. Who knew that would come in "hand"y? (Boo. Boo.)

Seriously, though... strong wrists are a start, yeah. Getting used to the wonky controls is another requisite. If the game allowed left/right motion with the nunchuk stick, I think it'd be a bit better than forcing complete waggle upon us.
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Old 10-26-07, 04:00 PM
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The game was being made for the GameCube bongos and then shifted after the Wii exploded.
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Old 10-26-07, 04:06 PM
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i played this on import a couple months back.

the game is nice looking, very easy, and not all that fun.

the controls are the death of this game. it couldve been SO much better if the DK kongas (from the Konga series) were used to control the race.

when will nintendo realize that the fans want a new Donkey Kong Country game... not a racing game, a rhythm game, or some off the wall concept. We've gone a LONG time since the last good Donkey Kong game (DKC 3 for SNES)- although the Donkey Konga games are some of my all time favorite Cube games (great for parties), I don't consider those part of the series. Bring on a platformer!

my review for DK Barrel Blast (or taru jet race as the import was called)

graphics 4/5 - nice environments and models. smooth framerate. 480p 16x9.
sound 2/5 - nice tunes but not memorable
controls 2/5 - potentially OK concept but executed poorly
fun 2/5 - the fun lasts for about 3 races. then you realize how painfully easy and repetitive the game is.

overall 2/5 - could care less if i ever play it again.
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Old 10-26-07, 04:20 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't know that a DKC platformer is possible again. RARE is now a Microsoft-owned entity and I don't see them shifting tons of resources for another game-- even on the DS. Instead (and unfortunately), the IP gets farmed out and we get games like this as a result.

The game is a tad on the easy side, as Andy pointed out, and gets easier as you begin to adapt to the controls.
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Old 10-26-07, 04:26 PM
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DKC was the blandest series Nintendo every produced, in my opinion; a disservice to their classic character.
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Old 10-26-07, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PixyJunket
DKC was the blandest series Nintendo every produced, in my opinion; a disservice to their classic character.
oh no you didnt!

ill admit that dkc1 was a bit simple-minded, dkc2 and 3 really had some extremely creative level design and a bit of challenge.

SMW, SMW2: Yoshis Island, and the 3 DKC games are my favorite SNES games. and i know im not the only one who LOVES donkey kong country even to this day.


Unfortunately, I don't know that a DKC platformer is possible again. RARE is now a Microsoft-owned entity and I don't see them shifting tons of resources for another game-- even on the DS. Instead (and unfortunately), the IP gets farmed out and we get games like this as a result.
yeah i know the RARE story... imagine the games we COULD have had Rare stuck it out with nintendo
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Old 10-26-07, 05:39 PM
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Oh, for a moment, I thought this was a thread about DOA Xtreme 2.


(non-official controller picture)
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Old 10-26-07, 05:40 PM
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I would have loved this game with Bongo controls, but this version sounds abysmal.
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Old 10-26-07, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by darkside
I would have loved this game with Bongo controls, but this version sounds abysmal.
Seconded.
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Old 10-26-07, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by darkside
I would have loved this game with Bongo controls, but this version sounds abysmal.
I would have bought the bongo version, but this doesn't appeal to me anymore.

Boo-hiss!
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Old 10-27-07, 07:36 PM
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that sucks that about the controls (especially the jumping thing)

maybe ill just rent it instead
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