Donkey Kong Country
A new generation

Rare Kongs

Donkey, Diddy, and Rareware logoIn the early/mid 90's, British developer Rare was working with ways to use high quality 3D renders in video games. A Nintendo representative saw an early boxing game demo, and was very excited about the level of graphic detail introduced through high quality sprites generated from 3D renders. NOA decided to finance a Rare game using this new technology, ultimately deciding it would be best to give Rare an existing Nintendo character to build a game around. Donkey Kong was chosen, as he had name recognition but hadn't been used as a central game character in a decent amount of time.

Using the newly redesigned Donkey Kong from GB Donkey Kong, Rare began working on an original platformer to showcase the new CGI techniques they had been experimenting with. Rather than bring Mario into the game, Rare opted to create an entirely new cast and environment. Donkey Kong Island became Donkey Kong's new stomping grounds, complete with an extended family for DK and all-new enemies.

Cranky Kong, DK's grandfather and star of the original Donkey Kong game, appeared frequently throughout the game, offering DK sage advice while complaining about modern video games.Cranky Kong
Donkey Kong, star of Donkey Kong Country.Donkey Kong
Diddy Kong is DK's little chimp buddy, always tagging along on his adventures. The Kong name implies that he's some sort of relation to DK — possibly a distant cousin.Diddy Kong
Funky Kong manages the island airline system, allowing DK to travel to any area he's previously beaten.Funky Kong
Candy Kong is DK's girlfriend, relegated to handling the game's save points.Candy Kong
Donkey Kong's new nemesis was King K. Rool, and his evil band of Kremlings — strange anthropomorphic crocodile creatures (supposedly pulled from another Rare project).King K. Rool

After the Kremlings steal DK's entire banana hoard, Donkey and Diddy fight their way through the entire island, finally facing off with King K. Rool on his pirate ship. With the help of their jungle friends, the Kongs manage to defeat the Kremlings and recover Donkey Kong's precious banana pile.

The DK family

The exact nature of the Donkey Kong family is nearly as convoluted as the Zelda timeline. However, the following things are known:

Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong. He is also referred to as the current DK's grandfather*.

Donkey Kong Jr. is Cranky's son, who is strangely absent from the DKC games. DK Jr. starred in Donkey Kong Jr., and appeared as an adult in Super Mario Kart and Mario's Tennis (for the Virtual Boy). DK Jr. is always shown wearing a white bodysuit with the letter "J" on it.

Donkey Kong is Cranky's grandson and (presumably) the son of DK Jr. He wears a red tie and has appeared in lieu of DK Jr. in all modern Mario games.

Things tend to get a little confusing as the new-and-improved DK model appears in post-DKC Mario games such as Nintendo 64's Mario Tennis (with DK Jr.) and Mario Kart: Double Dash (with Diddy). Nintendo—not one to keep a consistent storyline—leaves it up to the players to determine exactly who the Kongs are these days.