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Donkey Konga The Hottest Hits :: Review by Chris

Donkey Konga The Hottest Hits Album Title: Donkey Konga The Hottest Hits
Record Label: Nintendo of Europe
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: 2004
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Donkey Konga was a GameCube rhythm game starring Donkey Kong. Its soundtrack featured various licensed pop songs, a few classical adaptations, and, of course, some Nintendo classics. Donkey Konga The Hottest Hits was a promotional release from Nintendo of Europe. It features the seven game arrangements from the game, coming to a total playtime of just 13 minutes.


The "Donkey Konga Theme" is the only major original composition created for Donkey Konga. Junko Ozawa convincingly creates a Latin jazz feel for the track using Tijuana brass punctuations and cheesy saxophone solos. There are also some mambo chants thrown and conga solos thrown in to fit the game. Though it fits the concept of the game well, the result isn't particularly endearing or memorable despite the composer's best efforts.

Two Donkey Kong themes are revisited on the soundtrack. It was a wise choice to rearrange the Donkey Kong Country main theme given both its memorable melody and percussive emphasis. There are far better interpretations of the theme out there, but it suffices as a recreation for a rhythm game. Less stomachable is the interpretation of the "DK Rap". The original track was quite amusing despite its cringe-worthy nature, yet this version is barely bearable due to its bellowing new vocalist and sloppy attempts to introduce more authentic rap elements.

There are several other Nintendo classics revisited. The Super Mario Bros. main theme suits the Latin jazz emphasis here, though the track is let down by its meagre synthesis and troublesome vocal chants. "Rainbow Cruise" and "Super Smash Bros. Melee" are more successful at capturing the charm and grace of more modern themes. The selection ends with a big band jazz interpretation of The Legend of Zelda's main theme. It is more successful than the other arrangements presented here due to its extensive development and charismatic instrument writing.


Overall, Donkey Kong The Hottests Hits is a mixed bag. While the track selection nicely blends modern and old favourites, the arrangements vary drastically in quality. While most are ambitious, they often suffer from clumsy writing and abhorrent performances, especially where vocalists are concerned. Given its brevity and inconsistency, most will be better off not seeking out this release. It's a pity equivalent releases were not made for the somewhat more accomplished later entries in the series.

Overall Score: 5/10