How To Speedrun Donkey Kong Country – Beginner’s Guide
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How To Speedrun Donkey Kong Country – Beginner’s Guide

November 17, 2019

*To the tune of DK Rap*
It’s finally back, it’s not a dream Welcome to
Donkey Kong Month 2018. Oh-ho, look at that fancy new logo, thanks
WhaddupNico *ding*. This is the fifth anniversary of celebrating
all things DK, so I wanted to try something totally different this year. Obviously I love the games to death and have
played them countless times, so something that keeps them refreshing to me is speedrunning. DKC1 was one of my first speedgames that I
took seriously and allowed me to plunge deeper into the hobby in general. So I thought it might be cool to give you
a resource that can help you to get into speedrunning yourself. Whether you’re a huge fan of the Donkey
Kong series or not, DKC1 is almost the perfect game to get your feet wet. It’s a pretty short run (World Record is
32 minutes long, but it’s easily beatable in under an hour), and it has almost zero
RNG, it’s all about execution. It’s a simple platformer with a lot of really
cool tricks and skips throughout, so at the very least, I thought it might be interesting
just to see what the average speedrun looks like. So welcome to the beginner’s guide of how
to speedrun Donkey Kong Country. Because this is an elementary level tutorial,
I won’t go in depth with every single trick you should learn to run this game at a highly
competitive level, I’ll only be laying the foundation to get you started here. If you enjoy it and think you want to dive
in yourself, I’ll include some great resources at the end to improve your skill even further. Let’s kick it off with some overall basics
you need to know about the game. As you may already be aware, Diddy is much
faster than Donkey Kong and is more versatile in his movement, so generally speaking you
always want to have him out in front. There are a few times when DK comes in handy,
but for the most part, if you get hit and lose Diddy, your speed and recovery options
become pretty limited. You can also move even faster by rolling through
waves of enemies. Anytime there’s a group lined up in a row,
it’s a good option to cartwheel through them, and you can even do what’s called
an extended roll by letting go of Y and repressing it to gain optimal speed. In between every level you can mash the A,
B, X and Y buttons to skip the completion fanfare which can save a huge chunk of time
over the course of a run. Instead of celebrating yourself when you finish
a stage, make sure to mash. This might sound stupid, but avoid collecting
bonus tokens whenever you can. Sometimes they’ll be directly in your path,
but if you collect 3 of the same animal buddy it’ll put you into a bonus room that wastes
a ridiculous amount of time, I accidently did this on a former PB a long time ago, it
was not pretty. Finally, as I said this is a walkthrough of
the fundamentals, so if I skip over a particular level, it just means that there isn’t any
crazy tricks worth mentioning and you just need to move as fast as you can. Cool? I’ll have all my button inputs on the screen
so you can have an easy check of what exactly I’m pressing to pull off these maneuvers. Oh, also, this is a guide for the All Levels
category, which is the most popular for DKC1, which just means you need to finish every
stage. It’s different from any% because there are
glitches you can do to skip entire worlds and beat the game in under 10 minutes, it’s
kinda crazy. Make sure you’re playing on either version
1.0 or 1.1 as well, because some of the major skips you’ll be doing are patched out in
the 1.2 version of the game. Let’s start with the Kongo Jungle. In Jungle Hijinx, things start off with a
bang as you want to open the DK barrel to get Diddy, take damage as DK because it’s
faster than swapping partners, then line yourself up in position for an extended roll through
some baddies. When you reach this first banana, quickly
tap Y and let go until you reach the 3rd banana, then hold down Y again to begin the extendo. If you let go in the middle of this line of
Klumps and press Y again you can do an even crazier roll, but anything is better than
simply going through it regularly. Like I said in the beginning, rolling is key
in this game. If you’re just walking, you could be moving
faster. Ropey Rampage has an easy little skip if you
roll off the tree near the O letter. You’ll enter a bonus room with these ropes,
but instead quickly fall off the ledge to be put back into the level via a blast barrel
that lands you really close to the ending, saving quite a bit of time. Coral Capers is our first water level and
in all of these it’s best to get Enguarde not only because he moves faster and helps
you dispatch enemies but because he’s an extra hit in case you take damage. Buck with him as often as you can for extra
speed. Barrel Cannon Canyon has a very convenient
method to skip the entire stage. No really, right off the bat go up and to
the left to skip the first half, rolling on treetops to stay up there. Then after the midway point, extended roll
through some kremlings (by letting go of Y after the 2nd, and repressing Y at the 3rd)
until you get to this ledge and hop on one more kremling to reach the trees to the left
and finish the stage in style. Keeping this kremling alive is crucial, make
sure you don’t screw up and enter the barrel or kill him by accident. Well-worth it skip though. Finish things off with the Very Gnawty boss
battle, it’ll be over before you know it. Hit him at the apex of his jumps for optimal
time save. Straight into Monkey Mines our first big skip
here is in Mine Cart Carnage, I can’t believe I didn’t know about this as a kid but there’s
a barrel right here at the very beginning of the stage. Make sure to hug the wall to the left otherwise
you might miss, and also be weary of the final kremling in a cart that’ll try to kill you
before reaching the exit. Bouncy Bonanza is an example of a level that
doesn’t have anything crazy, but it is important to know that if you press jump repeatedly
as you enter the crawling sections you can move through them much faster. This is used in almost every single cave stage. Stop and Go Station is REALLY HAR-oh wait,
nope just go left through the entrance to skip all the way to the ending. Sorry krocks that look like nightmare fuel, see ya! Alright now Millstone Mayhem is really interesting,
make sure you have both kongs entering the level. Start by getting rid of these TNT barrels,
I prefer using Diddy because Donkey has the wind up throw that might kill the Krusha and
you need him to stay alive. Once the barrels are dealt with, swap and
have DK in front, then run directly into the Krusha on the slope, that’s really important,
you’ll know you did it right if Donkey runs away by jumping off the top of the screen
instead of going to the right. Next go forward and grab the DK barrel, open
it on another Krusha then take damage with Diddy to swap kongs and have Donkey jump on
one last Krusha to the left of this pillar in the background to reach an invisible warp
barrel that’s off screen. Keep holding jump until you hear the barrel
noise. You just did something called the infinite
jump glitch. Donkey Kong can’t reach this barrel normally,
but with the extra boost of this glitch he was able to enter it and then finish the level
with ease. This trick is even more important for a skip
coming up in world 3. Master Necky is basically the only element
of RNG in the entire game as he’ll pop his head in from 4 different spots, but he’s
super basic, just make sure not to jump too early or he won’t take the hit. Vine Valley has some of the craziest skips
in the game, and there’s a lot of them. I hope you kept DK out in front as you enter
Vulture Culture because there’s a warp barrel placed within the first quarter of the stage
that only appears if you’re controlling Donkey Kong and reach it within a certain
time limit. Basically just rush through as fast as you
can and jump in the lower barrel to skip to the end. Now is a good place to swap to Diddy as you
enter Tree Top Town because there’s a hidden tire floating just off the edge of the screen
above this Necky. You can sort of see it there. Quickly jump onto the Necky and bounce on
the tire to reach another barrel that shoots you all the way to the exit. I guess Rare really didn’t like to play
through these stages when they were testing. Okay, now Forest Frenzy has probably the toughest
trick that we’ll cover in this video but is totally worth it if you can pull it off. Begin with Diddy in front until you reach
this patch on the ground containing a DK barrel. Open the patch and jump up into a Kremling
while hugging the wall to the right, much like before you’ll know you did it correctly
if Diddy leaves toward the ceiling instead of running away. Open the DK barrel with Donkey Kong and proceed
until the letter O. Jump low onto the platform and take damage as DK from the first kremling. As soon as this happens, hold jump and Y then
fall as Diddy, bouncing on the head of the lower kremling and continuing to hold right,
B and Y, and you should have pulled off another infinite jump glitch that skips the entire
rest of this long level. Now this is important – make sure you touch
the ground as Diddy before bouncing on the head of the kremling, you don’t need to
jump, he will bring his head to your feet as you come off the platform, otherwise Diddy
will have the infinite jump but he will grab the rope like normal and be forced to complete
it regularly. It’s a tricky maneuver, but once you pull
it off, keep holding until you reach this kremling after the midway barrel. As he exits the left of the screen, let go
of jump and Diddy will slowly descend and you should re-enter the screen right as you’re
about to exit the stage. Make sure not to hit these kremlings as you’re
coming back though, since you may not be exactly sure where Diddy will land. We’re not done yet – instead of entering
Orang-utan Gang like normal, go back to the Funky Kong outpost and fast travel to world
1. Don’t ask me how this works but when you’re
over a bend in the trail on the map screen, if you press any face button on the exact
frame you change direction, it’ll warp you into a different level. What you want to do, is mash A, B, X and Y
really fast as you’re crossing the 2nd bend on the map in between Cranky’s Cabin and
Reptile Rumble. If you do it correctly, it’ll transport
you right to the end of Orang-utan Gang. In the All Levels category you just have to
exit all the stages, it doesn’t specify where you have to enter from. Clam City is pretty straightforward, just
make sure to grab the Enguarde in the top left of the beginning. If you press up and B right as you hop onto
him, you’ll start moving even faster. Finally Bumble B Rumble is no problem, just
make sure not to throw a barrel too early otherwise you’ll miss the hit, and the left
barrel gives you 1 frame of lag when you pick it up for some reason, so avoid that one and
go for the right barrel if you can. Onto Gorilla Glacier, we kick things off with
Snow Barrel Blast which is one of the hardest levels in the game casually. Luckily there’s a few methods that can make
it pretty simple. When you reach this metal barrel, pick it
up with Diddy, then jump as you’re on the slope to the right to get a big speed boost
and clear the row of Gwnatys. Then, jump on the slope past them again to
get another big boost to bounce on all of these Neckys and enter this barrel. For some reason when you’re holding a metal
barrel you gain a lot more jumping speed on slopes. Go figure. Finally, once you pass this Rambi token just
after the midway barrel, roll onto the Necky and fall just below the lower barrel to reach
a secret trail that’ll skip the entire last greuling section. If you do enter the other barrels by accident
you can just shoot straight down from this one to reach it. There I just saved you a headache. In Slipside Ride, you may know that you can
bounce on this kremling to reach the entrance of a bonus area, but you might also notice
that there’s a barrel just hanging out in the wall. It’s a little tricky, but if you hold down
and left and press jump off the rope, then quickly move back to the right while still
holding down, you can get on top of the rope and then jump all the way to the left to reach
the barrel, which will teleport you near the end of the stage. Getting the jump right takes some practice,
but it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Work on your single rope jumping skills and
you have another level down! Ice Age Alley can be very punishing normally,
but if you hop to the left at the start you can ride an Expresso. Holding left and jump WITHOUT holding Y will
ensure you kill the Mini-Necky right as the level fades in. The trick here is keeping Expresso alive. She can make you fly great distances and go
super speedy, but there’s a lot of roadblocks in your way. Some of the Necky’s you can clip right through
without jumping, but others you can’t which is really weird. If you do get hit, often it will cause you
to fall down a pit and die yourself. All I’ll say is to follow and memorize this
pattern to make it to the exit more or less unscathed. Ahh, Croctopus Chase. There’s no way to skip this stage, but it’s
really linear and serene. Take in the beautiful music and realize that
you’re about halfway through the run. High five! Torchlight Trouble lags quite a bit if you
use Squawks’ light, so it’s better to just not take it. It might be a little scary, but I promise
the level is pretty straightforward and you’ll be fine to beat it in the dark. Finally, there’s a way to negate Really
Gnawtys last invulnerable phase by running right into it after hitting it 4 times. Instead of jumping high into the air, it’ll
just revert to its basic state where Donkey can finish the job cleanly. The last two worlds are where the game gets
especially brutal if you’re not prepared, so make sure to practice them often. Kremkroc Industries begins with Oil Drum Alley,
which isn’t a difficult level on its own, but going through the final gauntlet of blazing
drums quickly can be a challenge – or at least it would be except that the fire only hurts
you when its at its maximum size and if you’re in the middle of the drum. So if you make some extra large jumps to ensure
you aren’t landing when the flames are strongest, you should be able to clear them without wasting
too much time. Just like Stop and Go Station, Trick Track
Trek is one of the hardest levels in the-oh wait no there’s a barrel you can
roll into right at the beginning to pass over it all. Elevator Antics has another bonus skip like
Ropey Rampage. Enter by jumping above the third bee in this
section to the right, and then just drop straight down immediately to exit back into the stage
at the midway point. You can also cut out a cycle on the last section
of elevators by keeping the screen from scrolling on the first platform and then rolling underneath
the 3rd. A little tricky and not a big time save, but
important to know nonetheless. Poison Pond is probably my least favorite
level in the game, there’s enemies everywhere and the mincers can be hard to avoid. Good thing there’s an Enguarde right at
the beginning to the left, and another one after the midway point in case you lost the
first one. Enguarde can help you go through certain mincers
with his invincibility frames after a charge stab, and be sure to go to the left when you
reach this group of 3 tires to reach a secret area that skips past some of the obstacles. The final screen can be particularly cruel
without a swordfish, but protip – if you hug the ceiling you won’t get hit. Okay, Mine Cart Madness has probably the coolest
looking trick and it’s not even that hard to pull off. Swap Donkey Kong in front and run directly
into the first minecart without jumping. You might need to start a little further back
on the platform, around this bright plank, but make sure you don’t jump. Then take damage from the first Necky by simply
running into it, and now you should be able to cartwheel freely in the air as Diddy. Rotate between pressing B and Y to jump and
roll your way across the stage without having to use a cart at all. After the midway point when you reach this
platform with a tire on it however, the trick will stop working so make sure you jump into
the cart before you cross it, or bounce on the tire to bring your regular physics back
and finish the level. There’s actually a slightly faster way to
beat it by doing what’s called a Jumproll, but it’s a frame perfect trick that requires
you to press Y exactly as you bounce on a Necky and I definitely don’t recommend trying
it when you’re just starting out. If you’re too late you’ll just bounce
off to your death and have to start the level over again. Dumb Drum is a boss fight you’ll want to
enter with Donkey Kong since he can kill the bigger threats with one hit. You also won’t take damage from the baddies
he shakes out when you’re in the air bouncing off another enemy, so the optimal way to clear
the waves is by stomping the first guy and then just being near the 2nd one when it spawns
to defeat it. Easy peasy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of crazy
things going on in Chimp Caverns, it’s sort of a last test of your skill before the final
boss. There’s a small damage boost skip you can
do with Rambi in Manic Mincers by jumping into the tire from this moving platform, but
the real problem is keeping the rhino alive to reach it. He’s weighty and clunky, so really just
not getting hit is the real triumph. Loopy Lights, similar to Torchlight Trouble
is faster without turning the lights on, but this level in particular is very hard to see
what’s coming at you without them, so attempt that at your own risk. Finally, Platform Perils has a couple tiny
skips where you can jump to further platforms that you weren’t meant to reach yet, like
here and here, but again the real danger is just surviving since it’s mostly full of
enemies that Diddy specifically struggles with. Finishing strong with Necky Sr. and King K.
Rool can be deceptively tricky, but keep your cool, take a deep breath at the fake credits
and don’t jump too early and you’ll be just fine. Last but not least, enjoy the credits and
the reward of finishing a Donkey Kong Country speedrun. There are a couple things I hadn’t mentioned
yet, but they’re probably the most crucial to practice – simply not dying or taking damage
will save you a ton of time over the course of a run. Think about it, every time you get hit as
Diddy, you have to break open a DK barrel and swap partners, that’s like 4 seconds
right there, not to mention how much you lose with a death. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if early
on you might struggle with making sure you have enough lives to avoid getting a game
over. I know that’s a big problem I had. You only start with 5 and you don’t want
to waste time collecting bananas to stock up, so memorizing patterns of levels and the
best routes to take are vital in keeping a run alive. I wish there was an easy way through Blackout
Basement, Rope Bridge Rumble or Poison Pond but it’s really just about staying out of
danger and knowing the right times to act. It may seem like a big hurdle to overcome
at first, but once you do make it that far, it’s actually a very rewarding and entertaining
speedrun. If you want to learn more about running the
DKC trilogy or look at some of the even harder skips that I didn’t mention here, the best
place to go is It has leaderboards, community races and a
Discord, but most importantly, thorough walkthroughs of how to do each and every trick in every
stage, with diagrams and videos to help you out. I can’t tell you how valuable this site
is if you’re just starting out, and the community is very eager to help and teach
you new things as you learn. I honestly hope you give it a go. Speedrunning certainly isn’t for everyone,
but if you’ve ever thought about trying it out for yourself, I think the DKC games
are a wonderful place to start. In fact, if I had to pick a true love, it
would be DKC2, but maybe we’ll save that one for next time. Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed something
a little new today, and stay frosty my friends! Huge shoutout to my pal Nico for helping make
the new Donkey Kong Month logo, you can follow him on Twitter at @WhaddupNico. If you ever need an artist, he’s a great
resource to have. Finally check out my personal best run of
DKC1 here to see all these crazy tricks in action. I’ll see you guys next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. 7:08 SAY WHAT? I've never known that was there until now! Rare seriously has a thing for putting warps in levels if you make a mad dash (same thing happens in Battletoads and Snake Rattle and Roll).

    Now let's see you do this in one life and shut Cranky up once and for all.

  2. It actually upsets me that you could skip all those levels that messed me up as a kid, cannon barrel cannon, and that conveyor level held me up for so long. Admittedly I was like 6 when I played this the first time, but still.

  3. I wondered how you could possibly finish this game in less than an hour…then I saw that about one level in three lets you skip right past it.

  4. I noticed that last secret last night in Snow Barrel Blast when I was trying to do a 100/101% run of DKC!

  5. Amazing guide, i think i'll have to start speedrunning this lol.
    Have you thought about doing Speedrun Guide about any Metroid game?

  6. 5:07 I like how the barrel is positioned in a place that lines up perfectly if you overshoot the first blast barrel. It teaches thr player that there can be secrets placed just off screen, but does it in a way that doesn't feel like hand-holding. You're actually rewarded for your mistake.

  7. Yes!! Love DK month! Really hoping Nintendo drops a DK announcement in the next few months. We need a complete trilogy.

  8. This guide is great, showing succinctly a lot of tricks to save time in the game. It's also useful to casual players who could use some of those warps and tricks to make some of the stages easier. I've completed Snow Barrel Blast the long way, but once I learned about that shortcut barrel under the 3rd barrel in the series, I have used it whenever possible.

  9. I tried the Cranky Kong Challenge (beat the game with 1 life in under an hour) a few years back and got pretty close. Without dying, doing it under an hour is pretty much a non-issue and I didn't even know about maybe half of the level warps.

  10. Haha, so this is what you were asking for footage for in the donkey discord? Nice video tho, extremely happy you talked about touching the ground for the superjump!

  11. As a guy who's done amateur 100% runs of DKC1 and 2 (read: not streamed, not using major glitches, just me, a GameFAQs speed guide, and time to kill), I can confirm that a lot of this is also VERY helpful for 100% runs! One tip that is unique to them though: sometimes it's helpful to take a warp, finish the level, then come back for the bonus rooms and Start/Select when you're done. One level in DKC2 even has you enter it THREE times in an optimal run!

  12. You're explaining a 40 minute speedrun in less than 20 minutes. It's basically the speedrun of a speedrun…

  13. This should be a series but with other games as well. I'm not a speed runner but it's very interesting to see these tricks in a great video format!!! 😀

  14. Thanks for the tips! My brother and I race each other in DKC every 3 to 6 months. 4 years back, we used to average 1 hour and 15 minutes, but it has now been trimmed down to an average of 55 minutes. It's really fun when we're within a minute or 2 when racing. We're not consistent enough to trim down those last few minutes, but we're content with sub 1 hour 🙂

  15. Happy about the positive response to the new series! If you haven't seen previous years Donkey Kong Month videos, here's a full playlist of every DK video I've ever done!

  16. Really nice video!
    Interesting you didn't know about the warp barrel in the minecart stage as a kid, I did and it ruined the level because there was little incentive to play through it.

  17. For the warp on the world map: The reason it works is because the Funky Barrel, or one of the Kongs, stop there for one frame and when your character has stopped, the game assume you are on a level, so you are able to enter it.

    And I kinda regret the mention about the lag frame for the left barrel during the Queen B fight… As it's not really accurate, but "sadly" it has become a thing =).

    Videos like these are always great!

  18. Dang. Five years already? I'm proud to say I've been watching since the first DKC month. Keep up the great work Snoman!

  19. 6:22 What! Why does that barrel even exist?? I mean, did the programmers think it would or wouldn't be reachable in any way? Also, I have played this game MANY times and I have never noticed some of these "just barely visible" tires and barrels before O_0

  20. I forgot it was Dk month! Now Im hyped! I wish you and Caveman and everyone else would do another Dkc2 speedrun! Those are the best!

  21. I see an argument a lot that speedrunners don't enjoy/know the games they speedrun as much as someone that casually plays it. It's an argument that never made any sense to me, especially since a friend of mine speedruns a lot of games (currently he does Ape Escape 3, Space Channel 5 which he currently has the WR on, Cuphead, Hat in Time, and plans to add Lollipop Chainsaw, Kingdom Hearts, and Shantae Half-Genie Hero). This video definitely goes to show that argument is full of BS.

  22. Anybody know of a glitchless category for DKC Speedruns? I can only ever find Any %, Every Level Any %, and 101%, but all of these categories allow for glitches in the run. I am personally much more interested in making a totally glitch free run, but I can't find any records.

  23. In Slipslide Ride I found out that the easy way to get that warp barrel is just to jump from the rope with Dk while holding left and then jump once you touch the platform and it will give you a boost to jump into the barrel lol just found that out today.

  24. Don't use Country Returns on the thumbnail if you're talking about DKC1, I got really disaponted when I saw the video wasn't about Returns :c

  25. I don't intend to speadrun this game at any point, but I found it really interesting to learn these tips for one of my most favorite games. You did a great job being both understanding for newbies and very thorough. I hope to see a similar video for DKC2 in time! 🙂

  26. hey little thing, at 7:05 you can have Diddy selected just switch to DK once you arrive at the barrel and it will show 🙂 also at 11:09 you can just jump on the barrel while being DK from the floor (DK jumps just a bit higher)

  27. I'd like to note, since I have captions on, I didn't see any of the button presses. I don't count that as a big negative, really; this was an awesome video. I wouldn't say it's altogether better or worse than some speedrun tutorials I've seen, but it has one thing I put at the top of my list: accessibility. It makes it seem so very easy and understandable, and even got me thinking to break out my retropie again to practice some myself.

  28. Donkey Kong Country hates me. It won't even let me get past the 5th course. Much less beat the whole game.

  29. Hey, I'm looking into starting to try out some speedrunning in the DKC series, and have never considered the version number on the cartridges. How do I tell what version the rom on the cartridge is? I've seen the explanation for the US carts, but waht about the NTSC-J carts? I can't seem to find it anywhere, and it's frankly a bit wierd since there seems to be a decent enough scene for it 😛

  30. actually, the all time world record is the unrecorded record 24:55 (my record) there's a glitch at the very beginning of the game, where on the first map at the bottom after doing the first 2 levels, proceed to the next level, but spam the a button as you hit the far corner and you skip the next 3 maps and you skip the 1 half of the jungle map, 2 more levels and the map is completed, and you move on to the final 2 maps

  31. I assume you didn't count glitches when you said about 32 minutes, as the fastest speedrun yet done is a little over 8 minutes.

  32. That feeling when your favorite stage is Mine Cart Carnage and after 20 years you learn it has a shortcut.

  33. wow… rare really did not want to play test those levels huh

    as soon as I comment this snoman says it in the video ok den

  34. This is the only game I can legitimately say I have practiced speedrunning. I've done any% glitched around 9 or 10 min. I've played the game a lot and have a good hold on most of the strats/glitches (besides the infinite jump, that's cool). Now I just wanna try a full run 😀

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