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Donkey Kong Country 3 Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Donkey Kong Country 3 Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Original Soundtrack Album Title: Donkey Kong Country 3 Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Nintendo of America
Catalog No.: 1450-Winter96
Release Date: November 1, 1996
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Released a year after Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble concluded Rare's Donkey Kong Country trilogy. Eveline Fischer (now Eveline Novakovic) took the lead on the soundtrack and was responsible for all of the stage themes. However, series' favourite Dave Wise still managed to squeeze in a few guest contributions. The soundtrack was released both in the United States and Japan in considerbaly different releases. The domestic release featured only one disc and omitted two tracks present in the Japanese release, "Fanfare" and "Cascade Capers".


Right from the title theme "Dixie Beat", it's clear that the series' music is back on form. Once again, Dave Wise puts the focus on a highly whistleable melody, actually arranged from the original Donkey Kong Country soundtrack. He peppers the melody with authentic-sounded muted trumpets and booming conga lines to maintain the distinctive 'jazz meets jungle' style of the series. However, the carefree phrasing and dainty harmonisation also makes clear that a new protagonist will take the helm during the game — a youthful female one. Dave Wise's contribution to the soundtrack is otherwise quite small. He offers several charming if superficial arrangements of familiar character themes, most notably the Mario-meets-Wrinkly fusion. He also makes a few other original contributions, such as "Crazy Calypso" and "Brothers Bear", but neither are on par with his best from earlier titles.

Eveline Fischer was responsible for the various stage themes during the game. It's clear from tracks such as "Northern Kremisphere" and "Treetop Tumble" that Wise's experimental approach rubbed off on her. The former is a bizarre yet effective accompaniment to the water-dominated landscape of the game. It seems inspired by experimental electronic artists with its complex beats and ethereal vocals. It's certainly still catchy and compelling, but not in the conventional sense. "Treetop Tumble" meanwhile is a much darker theme that builds in a minimalistic manner upon several crisis motifs. In context, it is particularly immersive and facinating. Fischer also offers another treat in "Water World". Her approach is dark and organic compared to Wise "Aquatic Ambience", but nevertheless equally as beautiful and accomplished.

However, a lot of the soundtrack does take a superficial approach. This will appealing for those looking for a highly melodic and straightforward soundtrack, though it is arguably a regression after the much more artistic Donkey Kong Country 2. Some tracks such as the "Stilt Village" with its intricate lyricism or "Jungle Jitter" with its classic references work well. However, others such as the Christmassy "Jangle Bells" and "Frosty Frolics" definitely lack the timeliness of favourites such as "Aquatic Ambience" and are merely short-lived novelties. Away from the lighter pieces, Fischer uses dark ambience to portray the antagonists in "Boss Boogie" and "Krematoa Koncerto", though neither is as effective in and out of context as Wise's equivalents. The attempts to produce a badass rock themes in "Big Boss Blues" and "Chase" also fall fairly flat, but they are still above-average compared to most Super Nintendo music out there.


Overall, the Donkey Kong Country 3: Diddie Kong's Double Trouble soundtrack is a worthy addition to the series. After all, it stays true to the series' stylistic routes, features many memorable melodies, and offers several profound experiments. However, compared to earlier additions in the series, it doesn't stand out quite as much thematically or stylistically and seems a little too dominated by novelty compositions. Indeed, perhaps the soundtrack's individuality and refinement were compromised by the short development time of the game. Incidentally, Dave Wise composed a completely new soundtrack for the Game Boy Advance edition of the game, indicating that Rare did not consider it entirely adequate either. While not a must-have, the Super Nintendo soundtrack is still mostly an enjoyable listen.

Overall Score: 7/10