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Donkey Kong

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For fighter info, see Donkey Kong (SSB), Donkey Kong (SSBM), Donkey Kong (SSBB), Donkey Kong (SSB4), and Donkey Kong (SSBU).
For the universe, see Donkey Kong (universe). For other meanings of Donkey Kong or DK, see Donkey Kong (disambiguation), Smasher:DK, or Smasher:dk.
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong
Symbol of the DK series.

Official artwork of Donkey Kong from Mario Party Superstars.

Universe Donkey Kong
Debut Donkey Kong (1981, original)
Donkey Kong Country (1994, current)
Smash Bros. appearances SSB
Most recent non-Smash appearance Mario Strikers: Battle League (2022)
Console/platform of origin Arcade (original)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (current)
Species Kong
Gender Male
Place of origin Donkey Kong Island
Created by Shigeru Miyamoto
Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto (original)
Kevin Bayliss (current)
Article on Super Mario Wiki Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong), also known simply as DK, is the main protagonist of the Donkey Kong series, and a recurring character in the Mario series. The original Donkey Kong was an antagonist for Mario, but in later games it was established to be Donkey Kong's grandfather, Cranky Kong. The current Donkey Kong is the main protagonist of the Rare-developed Donkey Kong Country series, first appearing in Donkey Kong Country. However, he also appears as a featured character in Mario spinoff titles.

As a member of the "perfect-attendance crew", Donkey Kong has been featured as a playable character throughout the entire Super Smash Bros. series.


Original Donkey Kong[edit]

The original Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong.

Donkey Kong was created by Shigeru Miyamoto as the titular character of the arcade game of the same name. According to Miyamoto, he chose the name "Donkey" to reflect the character's stubbornness,[1] while "Kong" was chosen as a surname due to being considered a generic term for large apes in Japan.[2] Although Miyamoto was informed by Nintendo of America staff that the word "donkey" is not a synonym for "idiot" in English despite what the dictionary he consulted had said, he nevertheless decided to ignore this particular suggestion because he liked the name "Donkey Kong".[1]

In Donkey Kong, the titular ape is Mario's first enemy who held his girlfriend, Lady (later known as Pauline), captive over a construction site. Mario had to make his way to the top of the site to rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong, the latter of whom would impede Mario's progress by easily throwing countless barrels and stomping the construction site with such force that the girders would bend. Donkey Kong would later return in Donkey Kong Jr., which saw his young son rescuing him from Mario's captivity. He would once again be featured in Donkey Kong 3, which saw him go up against Stanley the Bugman.

Modern Donkey Kong[edit]

Official artwork of Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong 64.

For a time, Donkey Kong seemed to be largely forgotten in the video game industry aside from ports of the arcade classics to home consoles, with a notable entry being a remake of the original for Game Boy in 1994 that would later inspire the Mario Vs. Donkey Kong series—that is, until Rareware released Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Donkey Kong Country saw the debut of a new Donkey Kong alongside a new supporting cast; the new Donkey Kong is more muscular and with more realistic gorilla proportions, and sports a characteristic tuft of hair. His only article of clothing is a red tie with his initials printed on, a detail that was first seen in the Game Boy Donkey Kong remake. This design was subsequently used in nearly every appearance of Donkey Kong since then. He is joined by characters such as his "little buddy" Diddy Kong and his grandfather Cranky Kong, the latter of whom is said to be the original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong arcade games, thus establishing the current Donkey Kong as a separate character. This Donkey Kong was originally supposed to be the same one as the arcade games with what eventually became Diddy being Donkey Kong Jr. However, Nintendo intervened by saying the modernized designs were too different from the original and told Rare to either revert them to the classic designs or make them new characters. Rare chose the latter and created Cranky as a way to keep the original in the game. Donkey Kong Country depicted the current DK'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.

Donkey Kong Country was followed by two sequels, as well as Game Boy demakes for all three games that make up the Donkey Kong Land series. Donkey Kong was not playable in these sequels due to being kidnapped by King K. Rool. However, DK would be featured in Super Smash Bros., which marked his first appearance in a fighting game. Afterwards, he would finally be featured once again as a playable character in Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64. Following his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Donkey Kong series remained dormant for several years, with its only installments being spin-offs such as Donkey Konga and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, as well as the aforementioned Mario Vs. Donkey Kong series.

The Donkey Kong Country series eventually received new installments after the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, including Donkey Kong Country Returns and its 3DS remake, as well as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and its Nintendo Switch port.

Additionally, Donkey Kong remains a part of the Mario universe, appearing in many of the Mario spin-off games since Mario Kart 64. DK also appears as a baby in Yoshi's Island DS, the main playable protagonist of the Donkey Kong Adventure story expansion of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and a major character in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series.

Like his grandfather, Donkey Kong has also been shown throwing barrels with ease. His strength, however, is even greater in comparison, as shown by his ability to generate damaging sound waves by clapping with sufficient force and, most notably, punching the moon out of orbit during the climax of Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Unlike his grandfather, Donkey Kong also boasts potent hand-to-hand combat skills, as shown in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and when he is destroying a Slot Machine Barrel. Compared to his grandfather, he is most consistently depicted as a laid-back, simple-minded character who only retaliates when his friends or banana hoard are threatened. While Donkey Kong varies between protagonist and antagonist depending on the game, his intentions are rarely portrayed as truly malevolent. Even in his antagonistic roles, such as Mario vs. Donkey Kong, he is generally depicted as more of a friendly rival to Mario instead of a true nemesis.

In Super Smash Bros.[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong (SSB)
Official artwork of Donkey Kong from Super Smash Bros.

Donkey Kong makes his first appearance in a fighting game as a starting playable character in the original Super Smash Bros. His design 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:

Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong and Mario started out as arch-rivals, but they've patched things up in recent years. These days DK spends his time searching the jungle for bananas instead of kidnapping beautiful maidens. In the past few years, other members of the Kong family have cashed in on DK's fame as well, including his favorite nephew, Diddy.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong (SSBM)
Donkey Kong, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Donkey Kong returns in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a starting playable character. His appearance now somewhat resembles his design from Donkey Kong 64, albeit with a yellowish skin tone. 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. As before, he is incredibly strong and agile, 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; newcomer Bowser surpassed him. Donkey Kong is now ranked slightly higher, but is still low-mid tier, being ranked 16th out of 26 on the current tier list in C- tier.


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:

Donkey Kong
While he now prefers the laid-back jungle lifestyle to construction site mischief, DK is often forced back into action by the Kremling Krew. The great ape is quite fast despite his burly physique, and he keeps his strength up with a steady diet of his favorite food: bananas. His one extravagance (and only piece of clothing) is a monogrammed necktie.

  • Donkey Kong, Arcade 1981

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong (SSBB)
Donkey Kong, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Donkey Kong returns as a starting playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He is no longer the sole fighter 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. His Final Smash is Konga Beat, in which DK takes out some DK Bongos and plays them. By timing their button presses, the attack power can be increased. During this move, DK is invincible, but it becomes a bit 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 to compensate. He also appears as a stage hazard along with springs in the 75m stage. Donkey Kong is now ranked around the middle of the tier list, placing 21st out of 38 in the D tier.

As a stage hazard[edit]

Donkey Kong as a stage hazard in 75m.

A key part of the 75m stage is the arcade sprite of the original Donkey Kong, who sits on the long platform. He normally sits behind the stage in the background, but will sometimes light up and comes into the foreground. When this happens, the stage's usual background music will briefly fade out and play his theme for a few seconds, giving an opportunity for players to react before he attacks. While he is in the foreground, contacting him causes moderate damage and knockback. Four jacks will also bounce in from the left at irregular intervals (for example, Donkey Kong can throw one jack, briefly pause, and then resume throwing the jacks) and fall after they bounce off the long platform, also causing damage and knockback. After a certain amount of time, Donkey Kong will go back into the background.


Donkey Kong has a trophy that is awarded each time the Classic Mode is completed with Donkey Kong on any difficulty. See Konga Beat for the trophy description of Donkey Kong's Final Smash:

The Donkey Kong trophy in Brawl.
Donkey Kong
A carefree jungle dweller with the charisma of a natural leader. He keeps busy by foiling the plans of the Kremlings and their boss, King K. Rool. As his physique suggests, this ape is a powerhouse. He's got speed to match too, and his love for bananas is second to none. His famous necktie is adorned with his initials, DK.
SNES: Donkey Kong Country
N64: Donkey Kong 64


Name Game Effect Character(s)
DK Mario Superstar Baseball AttackHead+027TypeIcon(Head).png Attack +27 DK DiddyDonkeyKongHeadSSBB.pngDiddyKongHeadSSBB.png
DK with Barrel Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis AttackSpecialsDirect+015SpecialsDirect.png Attack +15 All charactersRandomHeadSSBB.png
Donkey Kong Donkey Kong Jungle Beat AttackArm+022TypeIcon(Hand).png Attack +22 DK DiddyDonkeyKongHeadSSBB.pngDiddyKongHeadSSBB.png
Donkey Kong Donkey Kong Country DefenseElectric+010EffectIcon(Electric).png Resistance +10 DK DiddyDonkeyKongHeadSSBB.pngDiddyKongHeadSSBB.png
Donkey Kong Mario Kart DS DefenseFlame+041EffectIcon(Flame).png Resistance +41 DK DiddyDonkeyKongHeadSSBB.pngDiddyKongHeadSSBB.png
Brawl Sticker DK (Mario Superstar Baseball).png
(Mario Superstar Baseball)
Brawl Sticker DK with Barrel (Mario vs. DK 2 MotM).png
DK with Barrel
(Mario vs. DK 2: MotM)
Brawl Sticker Donkey Kong (DK Jungle Beat).png
Donkey Kong
(DK Jungle Beat)
Brawl Sticker Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country).png
Donkey Kong
(Donkey Kong Country)
Brawl Sticker Donkey Kong (Mario Kart DS).png
Donkey Kong
(Mario Kart DS)

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong (SSB4)
Donkey Kong as he appears in Super Smash Bros. 4.

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 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.

As a stage hazard[edit]

The original Donkey Kong reprises his role on the 75m stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, functioning the same way as in Brawl.


Donkey Kong
North America This king of the jungle really, really loves bananas. His adventures usually start with people stealing his hoard of them. In Smash Bros., he's known for his incredible strength and long reach. Despite his size, he's still pretty quick. He can even jump carrying heavy items! Use this knowledge well.
Europe With help from Diddy Kong and his Animal Friends, this banana-loving king of the jungle will take on anyone causing trouble on his turf. The best things about him in this game are his colossal strength, his speed, his long reach and the fact that he can jump while holding heavy items. Make sure you use all that to your advantage!
Donkey Kong (Alt.)
North America Donkey Kong pulls no punches when it comes to fighting. Or headbutts, as it turns out. His Headbutt special move will bury anyone on the ground who gets hit, leaving them open to some serious damage. If Donkey Kong strikes an airborne foe with this move, they'll go crashing downward.
Europe Donkey Kong's always been one to use his head. Anyone who's been on the receiving end of his Headbutt special will tell you that. If they're on the ground when it hits them, they'll get buried, leaving them open to a serious walloping. If they're in the air, though, they might find themselves being knocked down. Either way, it's going to hurt.
Donkey Kong + Barrel Train
North America This mean machine may look like it was meant for the tracks, but really it was made to soar. That fine wood finish isn't so great in the water, though. I bet more than a few players have fond memories of the Barrel Train and its first driver, Diddy Kong.
Europe This kart might look like it needs to be on rails, but it's actually great in mid-air. Like any barrel, though, it has a tendency to float. In a race that comes down to speed in water, it'll get left behind. The name "Barrel Train" might ring a bell for Mario Kart veterans - it was Diddy Kong's kart!

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong (SSBU)
Donkey Kong as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Donkey Kong returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as one of the few characters available from the beginning. He has a new Final Smash in the form of Jungle Rush, which originated from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.

As a stage hazard[edit]

The original Donkey Kong reprises his role on the 75m stage, functioning the same way as in Brawl.


Fighter spirit[edit]

Primary spirit[edit]

No. Image Name Type Class Slots Base Power Max Power Base Attack Max Attack Base Defense Max Defense Ability Series
SSBU spirit Donkey Kong & Lady.png
Donkey Kong & Lady
★★★★ 3 4047 10119 2386 5967 1432 3580 Strong Throw Donkey Kong Series

Support spirit[edit]

No. Image Name Class Cost Ability Series
SSBU spirit Donkey Kong & Bongos.png
Donkey Kong & Bongos ★★ 1 Perfect-Shield Reflect Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong
UK English Donkey Kong
France French Donkey Kong
Germany German Donkey Kong
Spain Spanish Donkey Kong
Italy Italian Donkey Kong
China Chinese (Simplified) 森喜刚, Donkey Kong (lit. "Forest Happy Kong")
Taiwan Chinese (Traditional) 森喜剛, Donkey Kong (lit. "Forest Happy Kong")
South Korea Korean 동키콩, Donkey Kong
Netherlands Dutch Donkey Kong
Russia Russian Донки Конг
Portugal Portuguese Donkey Kong


  • Unlike in most Donkey Kong games and Mario spin-offs, where Donkey Kong has a cartoonish voice, voiced by Takashi Nagasako, the Super Smash Bros. series has Donkey Kong using more realistic gorilla grunts. This also applies to Bowser, with realistic roars instead of Kenneth W. James, Bowser's current voice actor in most Mario games, Petey Piranha, who uses monstrous roars instead of his current voice actor in the Mario games, Toru Minegishi, Diddy Kong, who uses realistic chimpanzee screeches instead of using voice clips from his current voice actor Katsumi Suzuki, and King K. Rool, who uses realistic crocodile grunts instead of his current voice actor in the Donkey Kong games, Toshihide Tsuchiya.
    • Takashi Nagasako is involved in the Super Smash Bros. series, however, by providing the voice of Ganondorf in Melee and Ultimate.
  • Donkey Kong is the only character in the series who can walk at a normal speed when carrying a heavy item such as a Crate or Barrel; he also is the only character who can jump and fall while doing so. This originates from his ability to easily carry and throw barrels from Donkey Kong Country.
    • Additionally, starting with Melee, Donkey Kong moves faster when carrying heavy items if he is tiny.
  • In all games in the Super Smash Bros. series, whenever Donkey Kong uses an item like the Fire Flower or the Ray Gun, he will grasp the top of his head while firing them, as if he is not sure what to make of the weapon.
  • Counting sub-series, Donkey Kong is the only overall Mario character who has never been able to produce a projectile with his moveset in the Super Smash Bros. series.
    • He is also the only Donkey Kong character to have this trait.
  • Despite being able to crawl in their respective home series, Donkey Kong, Mario, Pit, Young Link, and Toon Link are unable to do so in the Super Smash Bros. series.
  • Donkey Kong himself is the only character in the Donkey Kong series to be created in Japan. However his design used in the Super Smash Bros. series has been created in the United Kingdom and is considered in-universe to be a different character from the original Donkey Kong.
  • Donkey Kong is the only Donkey Kong character to be a starter character in every Super Smash Bros. game he appears in.
  • Donkey Kong is one of two characters to be listed by abbreviations on the victory screen, trophies, and character select screen (being listed as DK in Super Smash Bros. and Melee), the other being Captain Falcon.
  • Donkey Kong is the only character who has more than four Throws.
  • Since Smash 4, Donkey Kong has the distinction of being the character with the most attacks that have a meteor effect, at a total of four attacks.
    • Specifically, his Forward aerial, Down aerial, Headbutt (side special), and Hand Slap (down special) all have meteor smash hitboxes.
  • Starting with Smash 4, the chanting by the crowd for Donkey Kong when a player performs well is "DK! Donkey Kong!" This is a reference to the popular DK Rap.
  • Donkey Kong is the heaviest fighter among the "Original 12", as well as the heaviest protagonist thus far, as the two characters (Bowser and King K. Rool) who are heavier than him are villains.


  1. ^ a b Kohler, Chris (October 14, 2016). "Miyamoto Spills Donkey Kong’s Darkest Secrets, 35 Years Later. Wired. Retrieved October 14, 2016
  2. ^ "Donkey Wrong" - An article about the origin of Donkey Kong's name. 2011. (Retrieved June 28, 2012)