Ah yes, Donkey Kong Country 3. The last entry in the series, and one of the best looking games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. And, much like the other games in the series, this one got its own remake on the Game Boy Advance. However, unlike the previous remakes, this one had its own unique soundtrack by series composer David Wise. It also had a new world called Pacifica with unique level layouts. It was a fun remake, and added a lot to the already stellar original.
Why is this important, you ask? OverClocked ReMix has albums for both the original Donkey Kong Country, entitled Kong in Concert, and for DKC2, entitled Serious Monkey Business. So when the time came to complete the trilogy, there was a question to be asked. Should they stick to the SNES original, or take on the GBA remake’s soundtrack as well? The answer was actually quite simple: why not remix both? As a result, this is the largest OCR album to date. 77 tracks spread across 5 discs comprising nearly 5 1/2 hours of music… this is quite the gargantuan album. As usual, you can grab it for free right here!
Now if you’re familiar with my past album reviews, you should know the deal already. If not, here’s how it goes. My reviews are on a track-by-track basis, inspecting each track and writing out my train of thought as I listen to each track. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be an issue, but for some reason I said I would review this album in one sitting. And I did just that… well almost. I took breaks between each disc. Regardless, here it is: my review of Donkey Kong Country 3: Double the Trouble, done in one night. Enjoy~
Editor’s Note: Although the daunting task of completing this massive review was completed in one night, an editorial decision was made to divide the full review into five separate posts (one for each disc). This way, it will be easier for you to follow the details on each disc reviewed, without fatigue. This is part one for disc one – But make sure you read all five! It’s definitely worth it.
Disc 1 (Kremisphere)
1. Road to Double Trouble (Fanfare) – Cody Wedel, Flexstyle, Emunator, Brandon Wedel [0:54]
Starts out a bit ambient… with strong drums. I can definitely identify the source material; this turns that into quite the intro for this undertaking. Let’s get this started!!
2. Let It Beat (Dixie Beat) – Brandon Strader feat. Usa [3:38]
The source comes right in without any delay. Nice work on the crossfading, Flexstyle. A very tropical feeling comes in at the twenty-second mark. I’m really digging this guitar; it has a nice calming feeling. Everything speeds up at 1:47 or so, giving the track more energy. Despite the drums becoming more rapid, the guitar retains the relaxing sound throughout the track. This is quite the soothing song; despite the high-energy middle part, it ends on a smooth note. And drums.
3. Joe Elm (Crazy Calypso) – 8-Bit Instrumental [2:49]
And now for the file select music! This music was always happy and bubbly, something this track captures perfectly. There’s a slower part at 1:10 or so, and it’s very calm until 1:40 when it picks back up. This a very nice take on the source track, especially with the slow finale present in this song.
4. Unbearable (Brothers Bear) – Brandon Strader [3:49]
Guitar kicks off the track, and it’s obvious this is taking the blues feeling of the source track and retaining it. All it’s missing is some harmonica solos. It even has cowbell! A solo of sorts kicks in at about 1:10, and transitions to a breakdown at 1:20. This, of course, is very brief as it returns to the song five seconds afterward. Cowbell comes back into force at 2:10, reinforcing the fact that I did hear its brief appearance earlier. There’s also some sampled HEYs in this part, until 2:40 when some more guitar comes in. The song begins to wind down at 3:28 with a synth solo that ends at 3:43.
5. The Submap Emissary (Submap Shuffle) – Zylance [4:38]
The title is obviously a play on Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s Subspace Emissary mode; unlike that, this doesn’t have Kirby flying through a giant cannon like a badass. The song slowly builds up until the half-minute mark when the guitar explodes on the scene. It calms down just shy of the minute mark to something more relaxing. Guitar comes back at 1:12 or so, with some nice panning applied to it. The mood changes around the 1:50 mark with some vocal samples preceding some nice piano at 2:20. Awesome guitar comes in at 2:38, changing the whole feel of the track for the better. 2:50 brings in some pretty great riffs that just blow up into the source material. Except like 500 times more awesome. This truly feels like a great adventure now. Seriously, this would fit as a farewell to heroes as they leave on their destined quest. It calms down a bit at 3:45, obviously building up to something. That something is revealed as some calmer guitar at 4:10 that lasts until the end of the song.
6. Purewater Pressure (Stilt Village) – WillRock [3:24]
When I hear the name WillRock, I think of some synth fueled rockage out of the 1980s. As a result, this took me by complete surprise. The source track is highly evident in this, and it’s quite calm and soothing much like the original. I really like the flute sound; it sounds vaguely Celtic to me, and the synths are more deliberate and timed (in that I can hear them end instead flowing into each other) than in some of his other works. It sounds glorious, and fits the source perfectly. The circus-like arpeggio of the source material comes in at the 2:00 mark, and it’s quite whimsical as always. The ending of the song works magnificently, and sets up the next song wondrously.
7. Bash the Bastards (Bonus Time!) – WillRock feat. Level 99 [3:39]
Okay, this title just makes me giggle. It’s great. Also I’m not alone in being surprised by this track, expecting butt rock and getting this instead. It’s great, and pays great tribute to the source. It’s also the most relaxing bonus music ever, and quite possibly the most relaxing song to ever be tied to killing every enemy in the stage the source plays in. 1:11 has a reveal much like the reveal of the jungle in the Lion King during Hakuna Matata. They captured that visual in the audio so perfectly it’s crazy. That said, this song seems like it work in that setting too; not sure why. I think it’s the “ooh ahh” samples. 2:10 brings in some samples of Level 99; not sure what he’s saying, but it only adds to that feeling even more. I love the horn that’s in this too. Everything about this song complements everything else about this song. Very well done. 3:04 brings in that revelation feeling, except with GUITAR!! See, I knew it was coming!! This solo transitions to some more vocal samples that bring us to the end.
8. Funky’s Joint (Hangin’ At Funky’s) – Brandon Strader [2:52]
Oh would you listen to that. The song begins with a bong hit sound effect, and transitions into reggae rendition of Funky’s theme. At least I think it’s reggae. It’s funky, I know that, and at least this isn’t about some funky monkey love. Free love, maybe, but not funky monkey love. It gets quite relaxing at 1:40 or so; nice guitar playing here. A pretty nice listen here, and it ends as it begins: a bong hit sample.
9. Unfinished Business (Swanky’s Sideshow) – Matt Drouin [2:59]
Swanky, the 1% of the Kong family, has a sideshow in DKC3. It’s more fun than his quiz show in DKC2, but it’s still got quite the awesome theme. There’s definitely unfinished business whenever you visit his sideshow too; gotta get all those prizes. I’m really enjoying this take on the theme, and it really fits the source well. After a nice guitar solo, the source returns at 1:34 or so. More guitar at 2:07, but it’s brief this time and transitions into some disc-skipping sampling as if a DJ has taken control of the song. The end is definitely near at 2:40.
10. Thrill of the Chase (Hot Pursuit) – Flexstyle [4:34]
Quick! Run from those bee-things that want to kill you for some reason! Also you’re trying to beat a time on the stage. This always was one of the more unique stages, but it fits in the game somehow. This rendition of the source seems to be more full of bass than the American River during spawning season. Very groovy, and the source track is very evident and easy to hear in this. There’s a breakdown at 1:56; after a glitch-filled breakdown, the source returns at 2:40. It’s rather amusing to me that I never listened to the source in-game for this long since the record on first play-through is 1:10 or so, if memory serves. If you take longer than that the red bee-things’ll get you. There’s a breakdown for the last thirty seconds that surely herald the finale of this remix.
11. Epic Bananas (Treetop Tumble) – Sole Signal [3:57]
Ah yes, Sole Signal. This is honestly one of my favorite songs on this album, and it captures the intensity of the treetop stage with the massive sawblade. The thirty-second mark brings the feeling of impending change, which comes fifteen seconds later. These stages were always among my favorites, just for the idea of climbing in all the giant trees. As such, the source track stuck with me; this pays quite the tribute to that source track. It always had such an urgent feeling to it, and this retains that urgency. There’s something going down in this tree, and we’d better find out what it is. The source explodes into play once more at 2:32, and brings even more energy with it. 3:03 brings one of my favorite parts, because it shows the end is near. Everything in this last-minute is just building up to that finale, which begins at 3:39.
12. Don’t Drink the Water (Enchanted Riverbank) – Flexstyle [3:56]
Always good advice in this title; you don’t know what manner of bacteria could be lurking in those waters. This is quite the breakbeat track, still full of bass much like Thrill of the Chase. The source comes in at about 0:38, and the bass is strong. There’s a “bass bass pump it hard” sample used liberally so far in this track, but it works with the feeling Flexstyle is trying to convey with this track. I assume the title is also referring to the fact that drinks may get spiked at raves, something this track sounds like it would fit in at perfectly. However, that’s just an assumption on my part; not sure how accurate that it. The source is easy to hear in this, despite the amount of things going on here. The soundscape is quite full, from what I can tell. The aforementioned sample pops up at 3:00, reminding us that it’s there. The song suddenly ends at 3:51.
13. Banana Revolution (Live in Kongcert) [Cranky’s Showdown] – Jason Covenant feat. AkumajoBelmont [4:34]
This is another great track. Though the source is similar to Swanky’s Sideshow (another source), this song is quite different from the remix of the other source. In fact, it’s more classic AkumajoBelmont, this time straight out of a live show? Vocals come in at 0:59, and they’re top-notch as always. The lyrics are very well-written, too. Chorus at 1:27, and it’s quite groovy. One thing I love about AkumajoBelmont’s stuff is that it’s always very faithful to the source material; this song is no different. Verse 2 begins at 2:24 or so, and it’s just as good as the last. We have to let this revolution change it all. This chorus sounds distinctly different; the concert feel was captured magnificently. Chorus reprise at 3:30, and it’s really. The chorus keeps repeating but it’s okay. Concerts are like this. Applause at 4:00, with a reprise of the first verse following it. Just the vocals and clapping until 4:21 when it begins to fade out. Pyrotechnics go here.
14. Permafrost (Frosty Frolics) – Draconiator, Flexstyle [4:51]
This is quite the mix-up from the hot track that preceded it. The main rhythm of the source kicks right in before a DON-KEY-KONG sample at 0:30 or so; more of the source comes in at 1:00. This whole time the main rhythm falls out until 1:47, where it starts to build back up before exploding back into action at 1:59. The sample from earlier returns at 3:04 or so, preceding another explosion of sound that is the source again. I really like this track; very engrossing, very entertaining. The end is near at 4:15 as parts begins to drop out one-by-one.
15. Kingfisher’s Stream (Cascade Capers) – halc, Mattias Häggström Gerdt [4:59]
Another halcscape? Whatever they might be called, this source track is one of the most beautiful in the game. This remix takes a cue from that and is quite mystical in its own right. Very nice panning of the main rhythm; it gives way to the main beat at 0:47. Source comes in at 1:11, with some very halc-esque chips accompanying it. There’s a slight breakdown at 2:11, that gives way to some nice interpretation of the source material. Apparently a bass failed to scale this waterfall, as it drops at 2:31. It continues struggling to climb until 3:20 when the song returns to the main part at 3:25 or so. The sound of the previous source usage follows, halc chips in tow. It calms down at 4:30 in preparation for the end of the song.
16. Deep Sea Lights (Water World) – Theophany [6:33]
Believe it or not, this isn’t the longest song on the album. At least it’s not 30 minutes like that one bonus track on FF4. This source track always conveyed a sense of mystery to me, with a hint of danger lurking in the darkness. I’m only a minute in, and I can already tell that feeling made the transition from source to arrangement. Some nice beat at the 1:14 mark, with source flowing throughout. There’s some very nice samples used in this track; they really create quite the atmosphere. After some electronic sounds, the source gives way for a breakdown at 2:14 or so. Some strings come in around the 2:50 mark, and really keep the atmosphere intact. The mood changes at 3:30, and now I feel like I’m going ever deeper into the water. Maybe I’ll bump into Glimmer! 4:00 brings in a very quiet part, mostly keys and the ambient backing sound, before giving way at 4:25 to bring the bass and beat back into play. Everything in this track just builds up and keeps building, especially starting at 5:00 or so. 5:40 drops everything away for a calmer feeling. I feel like I’m slowly ascending to the surface now, especially with the very relaxing sound at 6:10.
17. Exploration C (Cavern Caprice) – Monobrow [5:53]
Monobrow named Ella Guro’s “Cry of the Chasmal Critter Chain” as a big inspiration for this track; this is highly, highly evident. If not that track in particular, it is reminiscent of Ella’s other works. The source is just as evident in this remix. The song becomes more atmospheric at 1:23 or so, and it’s quite relaxing. Some beat comes back into play at 1:58 or so, deliberate in its timing and placement. There’s a pretty cool part at 3:00 when the source returns in full glory. I’m really enjoying this track, and honestly there’s not much to say. It’s definitely something to be heard and not to read about. Some nice chippy sounds at 3:58 or so contribute to the climbing intensity of the track, until 4:21 when it all becomes more relaxed and chill. The part at 4:55 or so is definitely reminiscent of Ella Guro’s works, and as a result this track creates a nice continuity link between this and Ella’s track from Kong in Concert. The end begins at 5:31.
18. Shenanigans Bananigans (Jungle Jitter) – Archangel [3:22]
The stages this source track played in were quite creative; either you were running from lightning and trying not to be underwater when it struck, or avoiding jerks with shields. This is quite the energetic rendition of that track, keeping a bit of a whimsical feel. Source really comes into play at 1:05. I’m honestly glad this isn’t as long as the previous two tracks; it’s quite a fun one though. It gets quite busy at 2:47 or so, obviously heralding the end that ultimately comes at 3:20.
19. Cliffside Clamber (Rockface Rumble) – Ergosonic [5:40]
Ah who am I kidding; a lot of stages in this game were fun and creative. This song starts off creatively, bringing in some strong drums at around the 0:20 mark. 0:45 brings in some source track with some beauteous flute; this really gives off a tribal feeling, which is surprising since it fits the source track so perfectly. 1:31 brings in some awesome guitar; haven’t heard that in a while. Completely unexpected too! The electric guitar gives way to a more acoustic sound around the two-minute mark. There’s a breakdown starting at about 2:30, and it features some nice flute playing. The source returns at 3:08. The awesome guitar returns at 3:55, at it’s just as glorious as before. This time, however, it’s more doing its own thing and complementing the backing music. 4:21 brings another acoustic jam, interspersed with some electric riffs. This jam begins to fade as the end comes at 5:25.
20. mojo gogo (Jangle Bells) – prophetik [3:00]
L R R L R R L R L R MERRY. Yes I still remember this code, only because it was so great. Who better than prophetik to take on this source and provide some smooth saxophone. Memories of collecting the presents and ornaments are flooding back, just by hearing this remix. I’m actually rather sad this didn’t transfer to the GBA version, but so be it. There’s a great sax solo at 1:46, and the source returns at 2:08. The end for both the song and the disc is near at 2:34 as everything is set in place for the fade at 2:50.
Editor’s Note: This brings us to the conclusion of disc one. *claps* Now make sure you read part two through five for full impressions and concluding statements! Do it! Before Donkey Kong gets you!