Donkey Konga 2: Song Parade

Dust off those Taruconga, Namco's continues the Konga series.


The Lowdown

Pros: A good expansion pack for people who liked the first game.

Cons: Not that many new songs and not enough to draw in new players.

Purchase at Play-Asia

Nintendo and Namco's Donkey Konga became an instant hit with gamers. The unique and surprisingly durable taruconga drums, four player support, and mini games added to the game's diverse soundtrack. With a US and European release of Donkey Konga on the horizon Nintendo releases the next Donkey Konga title. Unlike the first game that was designed to draw new gamers in, Donkey Konga 2: Song Parade is an expansion pack that will satisfy gamers that purchased the first game.

The premise of Donkey Konga is a simple one you play the game with a set of conga drums known as Taruconga. The taruconga is a set of congo drums with a microphone in the middle to register clap sounds. When you are playing with the conga drums Donkey Konga is a blast to play. Partially because it is so simple to learn that you can just open the package up and play. On the screen there is an icon that indicates your congas. Colored circles move scroll towards the left side of the screen until they reach the conga icon. A red icon indicates you should hit the right drum and a yellow icon prompts you to hit the left drum. If it's pink you hit both of them and if there is a light blue aura around the drum you clap. The conga's have a tiny microphone built in the center to sense the sound when you clap. Alternatively, you can use the controller to play the game, but it just isn't as fun as using the taruconga.

Players that own the first game will feel right at home playing Donkey Konga 2: Song Parade. The game's mechanics are the same. For players who pick up Donkey Konga 2 for the first time may find it a bit frustrating. The difficulty in Donkey Konga 2 is a bit higher than the first game. This should please fans of the series, but it also deters newcomers. In the song list you have a total of 32 new songs to try out. You have a blend of J-Pop songs like Overdrive and Dynamite that have an upbeat dance rhythm. You also have classical music mixed in from Tchaikovsky and Chopin. Of course there are video game tunes, which include the Donkey Kong Country theme song and a neat Latin mix of the Legend of Zelda theme. The rest of the mix consists of anime songs such as: Viva Rock from Naruto, the Doraemon opening and Realize the Gundam Seed opening theme. The most surprising addition to the mix has got to be Yankee Doodle. Playing through that song with the conga beat in the background is something different.

Just like in the first game, playing through the game's single player mode nets you coins to spend. The better you perform in story mode and the harder the difficulty you play the more coins you earn. One of the neat items you can purchase at the store are new sound effects for the drums. You start out with two sound effects, the standard conga sounds and 8-bit Famicom (Nintendo) sounds. Selecting a different sound effectively allows you to "remix" a song and with the wide variety of sound effects you can certainly do that. Coins also let players purchase "expert" mode, an extra difficulty level for the songs. The expert mode is a truly challenging affair that even the best congo-ers will have to spend time to master. Coins also have a new role, each time you want to play a mini game you need to use your coins. There are two brand new mini games to try out. The first one is a rhythm keeper game. When you start the game it gives you a rhythm to learn. Once you play a few measures with the rhythm your free to play it on your own without any visuals. As you complete one set of rhythm you get a harder one to do. This mini game is a test of memory and your rhythm skills. The other mini game is something best played with other people. The second game drops down a set of notes for you to play as fast as you can. Whoever can complete all of their notes the fastest wins. The notes that are dropped down are random, which means you can't just memorize patterns. When you play with another player and not the slow computer you're in an intense competition.

Just like the mini games Donkey Konga is multiplayer friendly. You can play the game with up to four people and each person gets a slightly different version of the song. If each player has a different set of sounds you can come out with interesting mixes. Donkey Konga 2's story mode also supports four players so you can earn multiplayer coins while playing with other players.

Donkey Konga 2's graphics aren't much better than the first game. The background animations have been improved. One of the backgrounds takes you through an underwater area and another one takes you through a beehive. Donkey and Diddy Kong still beat their drums or hands according to your controls. Rhythm games aren't known for their graphics most players will disregard background graphics in favor of paying attention to the notes. Even though better graphics would be a benefit to the game.

Donkey Konga 2: Song Parade effectively doubles the number of songs that players have. As an expansion pack to a solid music game, Donkey Konga 2 does a great job. If player is really interested in checking out the Japanese version of the Donkey Konga series they should get the Donkey Konga 1+2 pack. The pack contains both games and one of the taruconga drum controllers. That pack is a good deal for newcomers to the series, while Donkey Konga 2 is designed for veteran players.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 2

Donkey Konga 2 has more menus to navigate through than the first game, but understanding how to play the game doesn't require any language skills.

US Bound?

Donkey Konga 2 doesn't have a release date in the US. The first game is going to be released in 2004 and if they do release a Donkey Konga 2 you can bet this anime / J-pop heavy song list will be replaced.

Overall

Donkey Konga 2: Song Parade is a great addition for players that are into the series.