Much like they did in 1993 with the StarFox Competition Weekend Contest, in 1994 Nintendo hosted the Donkey Kong Country Competition Weekend Contest to hype the release of their newest game, Donkey Kong Country. Nintendo and Rareware produced a special competition version of the game for use at this contest, and copies of the game were sent in a limited capacity to the different contest sites in major cities. Somewhere along the way one of these cartridges wound up in the hands of someone with a ROM dumper, and now this version of DKC is available on the Internet with anyone with a Super NES emulator to play.

The game itself plays a little differently than its full counterpart. Firstly, there's no title screen or map screen. The game begins with Donkey Kong crashing out of the treehouse. Secondly, a timer in the upper middle of the screen ticks down from five minutes. When time elapses, the game simply freezes. At this point in the contest the score was recorded, the game was reset, and the next player stepped up. The place on the screen usually populated by the banana counter is replaced with a general score tally, and almost every event in the game (from collecting bananas to smashing barrels to finding bonus rooms) is worth points. Also, each player is allocated fifty lives, and dying at any point in the level results in having to play that level over.

The first level is the Jungle Hijinks level from the full game. It leads directly into Reptile Rumble (level 3 in the full game) which goes into Ropey Rampage (level 2). That takes you into Coral Capers (level 4), and by that point time is up. All of the bonus rooms and other familiar secrets are present, plus a few surprises (such as extra bananas being littered around the levels).

The Donkey Kong Country Competition Weekend Contest may be long gone, but thanks to the ROM file you can relive the competition at your leisure and challenge your friends.

Playing Donkey Kong Country
Playing the competition version of Donkey Kong Country
Reading about the contest back in 1994 in a magazine.

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