Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong), often shortened to DK, is the main protagonist from the Donkey Kong series, and a major character in the Mario series. In his first appearance, Donkey Kong, he was the antagonist of Mario, but he soon starred in the Donkey Kong Country games which depict him as a protagonist. However, he remains a featured character in Mario spinoff games.
A character named Donkey Kong made his first appearance in the arcade game of the same name. Here, he was Mario's first enemy who held his girlfriend, Pauline, captive over a construction building. Mario had to make his way to the top of the tower to rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong would later return in Donkey Kong Jr. which saw his young son rescuing him from the now antagonist Mario. He would once again be featured in Donkey Kong 3 which saw him go up against Stanley the Bugman.
After this, Donkey Kong seemed to be largely forgotten in the video game industry aside from remakes of the arcade classics, until Rareware released Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo. Donkey Kong Country saw the appearance of Cranky Kong, who claimed to be the original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong arcade games. The current Donkey Kong appearing from Donkey Kong Country onwards is the original Donkey Kong's grandson. Donkey Kong Country depicted Donkey Kong's first battle with his arch-enemy King K. Rool, and was such a massive success that it helped the SNES take the lead in the 16-bit console war. The game was followed by two sequels in which Donkey Kong was kidnapped by King K. Rool, having to be rescued by Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong. As such Donkey Kong was not playable, with Dixie Kong being the second player.
However, Donkey Kong would be featured in Super Smash Bros. which marked his first appearance in a fighting game. He would then finally be featured once again as the first playable character in Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64. He would then be featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee before starring in the Donkey Konga series and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. After appearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Donkey Kong Country series received some new games - including Donkey Kong Country Returns and its 3DS remake, as well as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
While he has switched between appearing as a protagonist and sometimes an antagonist, Donkey Kong had always essentially been good and never really been evil. He remains a part of the Mario universe appearing in many of the Mario spinoff games along with Wario since Mario Kart 64. Donkey Kong also appeared as a baby in Yoshi's Island DS; and in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, where Mario and Donkey Kong are rivals once again.
In Super Smash Bros.
As a playable character
Main article: Donkey Kong (SSB)Super Smash Bros. His appearance on his profile icon is based on his appearance from Donkey Kong Country. DK is surprisingly fast for his size and is one of the strongest characters in the game. His neutral special move is Giant Punch, which becomes stronger depending on how long the player lets DK charge it before using it. His up special is Spinning Kong, which causes DK to spin around wildly with his arms striking anyone nearby. His down special move is Hand Slap, which allows DK to pound the ground with his fists repeatedly creating a small earthquake. He is ranked 9th out of 12 on the current tier list.
His in-game description is as follows:
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
As a playable character
Main article: Donkey Kong (SSBM)
Donkey Kong returns in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a starting playable character. His appearance is still based off his Donkey Kong Country appearance. He remains mostly the same from the original, but his new side special move, Headbutt, allows DK to embed his opponents into the ground giving him some free hits. Donkey Kong is known for his incredible strength -- he is capable of walking and jumping while carrying Crates, Barrels, and Party Balls, items that normally decrease a character's walking speed and cause them to become unable to jump. He is also no longer the heaviest Super Smash Bros. character; the newcomer Bowser surpassed him. Donkey Kong is now ranked slightly higher, but still low-mid tier, being ranked 17th out of 26 on the current tier list in E tier.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Donkey Kong series)
As a playable character, Donkey Kong has three trophies, a normal trophy acquired by beating the Classic Mode with Donkey Kong on any difficulty, and "Smash Red" and "Smash Blue" trophies won by beating the Adventure and All-Star Modes, respectively.
His normal trophy reads:
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Donkey Kong (SSBB)
Donkey Kong returns as a starting playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He is no longer the sole representative of his series, as Diddy Kong appears alongside him as well. His appearance is based on his current design from the Mario spin-off games and the later Donkey Kong games. With new physics in the game, Donkey Kong can no longer be comboed as easily, like in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and his power, range, recovery and speed stats have slightly improved and is no longer in top falling speed. His Final Smash is the Konga Beat in which DK takes out the Bongos and plays them. By timing their button presses, the attack power can be increased. During this move, DK is invincible, but it is more risky when playing on a moving stage like Rumble Falls. Though, the screen scrolls much more slowly while the Final Smash is in action. He also appears as a stage hazard along with springs in the 75m stage. He is now ranked around the middle of the tier list, placing 21st out of 38 in the D tier.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Donkey Kong series)
Main article: Donkey Kong (SSB4)
Donkey Kong returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His design is based on his appearances in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
On the current SSB4 tier list, Donkey Kong ranks 22nd out of 55 characters, placing him in C tier. He has been buffed overall, with faster attacks and improved combo ability, especially with his cargo up throw. The new rage mechanic benefits Donkey Kong very well, which when combined with his heaviness, allows him to deliver greater knockback at higher damage percents. Donkey Kong's trademark power and speed are retained from past games too. Although he is regarded as one of the game's best super heavyweights along with Bowser, he still suffers from common weaknesses that plagued him in the past, such as vulnerability to combos due to his weight and size, and his recovery in Spinning Kong still gaining little vertical distance. Nonetheless, Donkey Kong's strengths have allowed him to secure decent tournament representation and above average results.
A silhouette of Donkey Kong's hair can be seen in the first trailer for the unnamed Super Smash Bros. title for Nintendo Switch; as such, it is implied that Donkey Kong will be returning to the upcoming game, although this has not yet been explicitly confirmed.
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