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Donkey Kong (SSB)

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This article is about Donkey Kong's appearance in Super Smash Bros.. For the character in other contexts, see Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong
in Super Smash Bros.
Donkey Kong SSB.png
Symbol of the DK series, pre-Brawl.
Universe Donkey Kong
Other playable appearances in Melee
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier C (9) (North America)
? (12) (Japan)
DK's head icon from SSB.

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong), written as DK, is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. He has slow, yet powerful attacks, like his trademark move: the Giant Punch. Due to this, his archetype has also inspired the archetype for most of the heavyweight characters in subsequent games, in which he has also appeared. His voice clips mostly use gorilla grunts and sounds.

Donkey Kong is currently ranked 9th out of 12 on the tier list. He has powerful moves such as his aforementioned Giant Punch which when fully charged, deals 36% damage. He also sports an infamously abusable grab release, remarkable reach throughout his moveset, and is the heaviest character in the game, making him very difficult to KO, especially vertically. However, he is somewhat slow, and is also the largest character in the game, which coupled with his heavy weight makes him an easy target for combos. Despite his incredible endurance, his off-stage survivability is almost non-existent, as he has among the worst vertical-distanced recovery moves in the game. Despite this, Donkey Kong was indirectly buffed in the international releases thanks to the changes to SDI system as well as the decreased shield stun. As a result, Donkey Kong is ranked 12th in the Japanese tier list, having a losing matchup against every character in the game, especially against Kirby, which is considered to be virtually unwinnable.


Donkey Kong's ending picture in Super Smash Bros.
Donkey Kong using Hand Slap in the SSB instruction booklet.

Donkey Kong is the heaviest and largest character in Super Smash Bros. This means he gets hit quite easily, and he also has a poor shield cover, making him vulnerable to shield break combos such as Yoshi's Z-canceled DJC neutral aerial performed repeatedly. However, he can take many hits and high damage before being KO'd. Like heavyweight characters in subsequent games, Donkey Kong has attacks that deal lots of damage and have strong knockback. He also has two meteor smashes (forward and down aerials), and some extremely powerful finishers, including his forward smash and Giant Punch when fully charged or close to fully charged. However, his attacks are generally slow and laggy, and most of his KOs still require setup.

Contrary to popular belief, Donkey Kong has slightly above-average dashing speed (although he does have a relatively slow air speed). Donkey Kong has a great grab and throw game due to having the longest non-tether grabbing horizontal range, terrific throw combos (especially when there are walls), and the infamous infinite throw trap that allows him to rack up damage easily and effectively. He also has a KO throw in his back throw. Donkey Kong has good reach, which allows for decent combos despite slow attack speed, but he lacks a projectile and a reliable way to deal with them, making his approach poor and unvaried. His Up B however also breaks projectiles, outside of Fox's laser.

For recovery, Donkey Kong's up special move, Spinning Kong, travels great horizontal distance, but has poor vertical gain, with no options to extend it. This makes him very vulnerable to meteor smashes. It should be noted that Donkey Kong is extremely vulnerable to combos due to being very large, very heavy, and falling somewhat quickly. It is however quite powerful for how fast it is, being a reliable get out of danger move.

In high level play, Donkey Kong is known for his incredible Spinning Kong and back throw gimps. On platforms, it is possible for DK to platform cancel up airs into Giant Punch or up smash. His Up B, Spinning Kong, is an amazing gimping move, with strong knockback as well as being able to out-prioritize every recovery in the game. It also has some invincibility (at the edge of his fists) which makes it quite useful to out-space opponents in the neutral game. Donkey Kong is a hard counter to Jigglypuff, as he can grab, forward throw, cargo release, and re-grab into a Giant Punch for a low percentage KO. With good timing, it is also possible to cancel his Down B after one hit, allowing him to combo into a forward air as well as a fully charged Giant Punch on all characters except for Falcon, Fox, and Yoshi. Donkey Kong however has problems with projectiles, and the top characters in the game (including Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, and Captain Falcon) combo him too heavily for him to rise on the tier list. His poor mobility also gives him a disadvantage against fast characters like Fox and Captain Falcon. Donkey Kong is usually considered to be among the best low tier characters in low tier tournaments due to his Giant Punch combos and the fact that there are not many projectile users in the low tiers (as well as his Up B being able to out-prioritize all of their projectiles.) In short, DK's main strategies in competitive play are gimps using throws, outspacing with Spinning Kong, Down B combos, grab combos into a meteor smash and otherwise, and up aerial chains.

In doubles[edit]

Donkey Kong is also considered to be slightly better for doubles than singles, mainly because he is better at KOing as some characters are forced to approach. His great reach also helps. Another good thing is that if he has a fast partner, they will be able to easily save him from large combos. He is one of the few characters with relatively good recovery. Donkey Kong is also excellent at edgeguarding and gimping, especially on Dream Land. However, his problem matchups, especially with Kirby and Pikachu, hinder many doubles matchups.

Difference between game versions[edit]

Donkey Kong has been buffed in the NTSC-U version. Donkey Kong is heavier and his Spinning Kong grants more height, improving his endurance and recovery. His back and down aerials are also stronger making it even easier for him to close out stocks. In terms of universal changes, Donkey Kong gets adversely affected by the removal of momentum sliding however, he also benefits from the higher SDI presence, which allows him to escape combos better. As a result of these changes, he is overall better than in the Japanese version.


  • Nerf The removal of momentum sliding slightly hinders Donkey Kong's approach.
  • Buff Donkey Kong is heavier (0.84 → 0.83).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff Clean back aerial has increased base knockback (0 → 10).
  • Buff Down aerial deals more knockback (10 (base), 80 (scaling) → 15/90).


  • Nerf Opponents require six less button inputs to escape from forward throw.

Special attacks[edit]


Image of Donkey Kong from official site of Super Smash Bros.
Donkey Kong's aerial attacks
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Jab, Upper 4% A jab followed by an uppercut. Comes out fast, but short range. It also does not give DK the ability to jab grab due to its slow speed.
Forward tilt Kong Straight 13% A somewhat slow punch forward with decent range and good knockback. It is considered to be semi-useless due to its slow startup but it can be used in certain situations vs. Falcon's recovery.
Up tilt Spider Web Clearing 13% Swings his hands in an arch above him. Hitbox is the arch above him and foes standing on the ground close to him. Can chain into itself, but opponent can DI. Sets up aerial combos. KOs at around 130%. Good anti-air move if timed right. Some ending lag (highest amount of ending lag in the game of an u-tilt). Can also lead into a d-smash at lower damage percentages. In terms of start-up, it is the fastest u-tilt in the game, along with Kirby's.
Down tilt Slouch Slap 8% A quick hand swipe aimed downwards with a little start-up. Spacing move, combos into grab and down b at lower percents and can help with gimping low recoveries.
Dash attack Iron Kick 12% A very awkward move where DK sticks his foot out and stops. Bad range and duration, high amount of lag, and easily shielded. Has very low set knockback. Will not hit foes that are floored. Competitively, this is considered to be the worst move in the entire game, as it is unsafe even on hit against the majority of the cast. It is also impossible to combo into and out of. It can, however, set up a tech chase, since it will knock opponents onto the side platforms of Dreamland if he is under them.
Forward smash Power Slap 21% Reels his hand back and thrusts it forward. Very noticeable start-up, but good range and excellent knockback. Can be angled. Useful vs. Falcon/Fox's recovery when Up B isn't possible. Possible to combo into using n-air.
Up smash Jumbo Press 21% Claps directly above him, with some start-up lag. Very large hitbox. Grounded enemies are occasionally affected. Best used under a platform where an opponent is standing or a well timed anti-air attack. Very powerful. Can be comboed into using a platform cancelled up air.
Down smash Ground Roll 19% He does a 360° spin while doing a split, which comes out surprisingly fast, for a move of Donkey Kong, and hits on both sides at the same time. However, it does have some ending lag. Useful for catching rolls.
Neutral aerial DK Lariat 15% (clean), 12% (late) Spins around with his arms out. Somewhat long duration, decent defensive move. Can combo into giant punch at mid percents as well as f-air. Is safe on shield and leads to a free grab.
Forward aerial Hammer Knuckle 16% Does a front flip with his fists clasped together, smashing them into opponents. A powerful meteor smash if the foe is hit near the end of the animation. This move inspired Donkey Kong's air attack in Donkey Kong 64. Can be comboed into out of a cargo throw or n-air. Possible to link out of if it hits a grounded opponent into a Grab, another f-air to spike, or even a giant punch depending on percent. Semi-safe on shield (except vs. characters with 3 frames or less grounded moves such as Fox's shine or Pikachu's Up B.) It also had a hitbox on his arms that sends opponents upward.
Back aerial Kong Rocket 15% (clean), 10% (late) Puts his feet together and thrusts them out behind him, his body moving sideways with them. Some long duration, but good range. This attack is Donkey Kong's sex kick, since it not only has long duration, but gets weaker as it stays out. Donkey Kong's nair is the only one in the game that isn't a sex kick, and him and Fox being the only characters to have a bair sex kick. Weak hit combos into d-smash awkwardly, strong hit has no combo potential but is quite powerful as a spacing move. Safe on shield.
Up aerial Mid-air Spider Web Clearing 12% Swings his hands in an arch almost exactly like his up tilt. However, it is weaker than his up tilt, in fact barely KO'ing above 150% in most cases. Its main use is for juggling. Also has some ending lag. It is also possible to platform cancel this move into up smash and giant punch which is quite powerful on Dreamland and Hyrule.
Down aerial Air Stampede 13% (clean), 10% (late) A simple near-instantaneous meteor smash where Donkey Kong thrusts his feet down. His feet grow slightly as he's doing so, and slightly longer hitbox than most spikes. A grounded hit freely combos into up smash and throw. Safe on most characters shield and leads to a grab outside of Pikachu (who can up b out of it.)
Forward throw Kong Karry 8% (carry), 8% (throw) Trap throw; holds his opponent on his back. He can then move around before throwing them forward. This throw is based on his ability in Donkey Kong Country to effortlessly carry barrels on his back. However, foes will eventually automatically escape from his grasp. The throw has good knockback, although it can be DI'd. Can be used to perform the infinite throw trap (covered below). It is possible to combo it into a f-air or giant punch.
Back throw Direct Throw 18% Turns around and tosses the opponent. Powerful in terms of both damage and knockback. Effective for both gimping and KO'ing.
Floor attack (front) 6% Kicks while on his back, forcing his body down, then picks himself up and kicks on the other side.
Floor attack (back) 6% Kicks while on his back, forcing his body down, then picks himself up and kicks on the other side.
Edge attack (fast) 6% Hoists himself onto the stage back-first, ramming into opponents. Long range, low knockback but very fast. Considered to be a useful edge attack
Edge attack (slow) 6% Climbs back onto the stage slowly, slapping opponents in front of him. Very short range, low knockback. Mostly useless and unsafe on shields or hit at low percent.
Neutral special Giant Punch 14% (uncharged), 36% (fully charged) When B is pressed, he starts charging up a punch. Pressing Z stores the charge, and it can then be continued by pressing B. The longer the move is charged, the more powerful it is and the more horizontal range it has. When fully charged or close to fully charged, it is a very powerful KO move.
Up special Spinning Kong 12% (startup), 8% (loop), 3% (final hit) A recovery move that gains very little vertical recovery height, but gives quite a large amount of horizontal distance. Contains many hits that can do high damage, but it is very difficult to land all the hits. He is invincible for the first 5 frames. Has very high set knockback at the edge of the fists as well as invincibility in the same region which makes it quite useful at gimping.
Down special Hand Slap 10% Delivers an earth-shaking blow to the ground, sending nearby enemies skyward. It has considerable power, consistent and repetitive damage, and a large hitbox. Cannot be used in midair. It is possible to combo this move by only using one hit of it (and then moving the stick back to neutral) into a giant punch vs. everyone other than fast fallers.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Breaks out of a Donkey Kong Country-style DK Barrel.
Mario's opening animation in Smash 64.


  • Turns to his right, raises his arms so that his palms are facing upwards, shrugs, and makes a confused growl while shaking his head. Oddly causes his head to become invincible to projectiles (as it turns it on its Z-axis as if it was a roll.)

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description *clap* Donk- *clap* -ey *clap* Kong Donk-ey Kong
Pitch Crowd Chant Crowd Chant

Victory poses[edit]

A flourish originating from Donkey Kong Country that played whenever a Kong defeated a boss or completed a bonus level.
  • Holds his hands and shakes them above his head in self-congratulation to the left, then to the right, then forward (reference to when he completes a Bonus Stage or defeats a boss in Donkey Kong Country).
  • Hops and flexes (also his character selection animation).
  • Beats his chest.
DKPose1SSB.gif DKPose2SSB.gif DKPose3SSB.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

An icon for denoting incomplete things.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Donkey Kong professionals (SSB)

Numbers in brackets indicate position in 64 League Rankings 2017


  • Japan Amasawa - One of the best Japanese players in the early meta.
  • Sweden Morgen

In single-player[edit]

In the game's single-player mode, the player and two randomly chosen allies will fight a Giant Donkey Kong on Congo Jungle.


Infinite throw trap[edit]

Main article: Infinite throw trap

Donkey Kong has the ability to use his forward throw as a means of nigh-inescapably racking up damage on characters. In order to do this, Donkey Kong must use the forward throw, but not any other throw. If the opponent escapes, they will likely still be within Donkey Kong's grab range whereupon they can be grabbed again. This throw trap can be broken if the opponent can shake towards Donkey Kong and his grab. Yoshi and Ness have the most difficulty escaping the throw trap due to their unique double jumps. Pikachu, Samus, Mario, and Luigi have the least difficulty escaping due to their up specials.

Amasawa Loop[edit]

Due to Donkey Kong's laggy aerials, Donkey Kong has very little combo ability with his aerials except a down aerial or forward aerial into a throw. However, if Donkey Kong shield drops from a ledge, he can quickly use an up aerial and then Z-cancel. Donkey Kong can also jump, use an aerial, and Z-cancel on a ledge for a similar effect. As a result, on ledges, Donkey Kong can juggle characters with up aerials whom he would otherwise be unable to combo.

Down special resets and down aerial usage[edit]

Donkey Kong can also cancel the first slap of Hand Slap by moving the control stick back after the first slap, enabling him to combo it into a virtually any move to KO the majority of the cast outside of Jigglypuff. It also makes him invincible for the first 2 frames. Donkey Kong's other main KO'ing setup outside of grab-based gimps is a Down Aerial into an Up Smash or a Down Air into a Down Smash.


From the Game[edit]

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.


Alternate costumes[edit]

Donkey Kong Palette (SSB).png
DK's head icon from SSB. DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSB.png DonkeyKongHeadRedSSB.png DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSB.png DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSB.png


  • Donkey Kong is one of four characters, along with Kirby, Mario, and Captain Falcon, in Super Smash Bros. to have a green costume not normally accessible via character select, only being available if Donkey Kong is in on the Green Team in Team Battle.
  • Donkey Kong, along with Yoshi, is one of two characters in the original Super Smash Bros. to never be portrayed with headwear in-game.
  • Donkey Kong is the only character without a sex kick as his neutral aerial.
  • Both Samus and Donkey Kong both had their official artworks flipped horizontally in the official English website.
  • Donkey Kong is oddly able to avoid projectiles from hitting his head if he taunts at the precise moment.
  • This is the only game where Donkey Kong is the heaviest. In future installments, he would be replaced by Bowser.
    • This is also the only game in which a protagonist is the heaviest character.
    • Not counting Final Smashes and Bosses, the Smash 64 NTSC and PAL iteration of Donkey Kong is the heaviest playable character in the entire franchise, weighing over 140 units (though 64 weight units are listed differently).
  • Donkey Kong's portrait on the Character selection screen greatly resembles some of his official artwork from Donkey Kong Country.