Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Creepy Castle in Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong 64: You either love it or hate it.  Some people love it for the large levels that allow for tons of platforming action, some hate it because of the repetitive objectives and mini-games on each level.  Whatever you feel about this game, you have to admit that it does have some pretty stylish levels.  Today we're going to look at one of the last levels in the game: Creepy Castle.

As you've already deduced from the name, Creepy Castle takes place on a massive castle.  The game sets a nice spooky mood as soon as you arrive here; you start outside the castle at nighttime, during a thunderstorm.  Seeing flickers of lightning while rain pours down on you constantly is definitely a nice touch.  A bonus is the extremely catchy song that plays when you are outside the castle, which in my opinion is some of the best music in the game.

You can climb your way up to the top of the castle by walking on various pathways and drawbridges that spiral up the exterior walls.  As you venture forth, you'll pass by appropriate scenery such as clusters of headstones and skeleton-like dead trees.  The enemies you encounter are also fitting, and in true Rare style, they are somewhat goofy.  You'll see bats, giant skeletons, and Kremlins wearing white sheets pretending to be ghosts.

Along the way there are multiple entrances into the castle, taking you into areas such as the catacombs, a haunted library, and even a large ballroom (Disney Haunted Mansion fans rejoice!).  Pretty much every area you can visit feels like it could belong in a huge haunted castle, with the exception of one segment where you go inside a not-very-spooky greenhouse.

A view of the ballroom.

It just wouldn't be Donkey Kong without some minecart action (unless we're talking about the original arcade version of Donkey Kong), and this level does not disappoint.  There is a segment where Donkey Kong must navigate a minecart through a large section of the castle, while being pursued by the demon who lives there.  At some points you'll be dodging the growling demon as he takes swipes at the minecart, while at other sections you'll have to avoid random headstones that pop up in your path.  Needless to say this is a very exciting section of the level, and my personal favorite part of Creepy Castle.


Unfortunately the level ends on a sour note: the boss battle is absolutely terrible.  Throughout the game, you'll find yourself fighting monstrous bosses, such as a giant dragonfly (who is more dragon than fly) and an evil, cackling jack-in-the-box.  So by the time you reach Creepy Castle you'll have high expectations, which are abruptly shattered.  The boss for this level is a gigantic plywood cutout of King K. Rool.

The lame boss battle will have you disappointed from the get-go.

I kid you not, the boss fight involves the cutout of K. Rool popping up at various locations on the edge of the battle area and occasionally shooting lasers at you.  I have no idea what convinced Rare to go this lazy route instead of designing a truly awesome and scary boss monster for the one level that deserved it.

That about wraps up our look at Creepy Castle in Donkey Kong 64.  Did you guys play DK64?  If so, did you enjoy the atmosphere of this level?

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah I always enjoyed this level and just how creepy and gothic it is is!

    I definitely agree they could have had the kremling-skeleton be the boss instead of a full frightless cut-out of K.rool!