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Kongs: Missing in Action!

An article by Jomingo

3 June '09

Do you remember, a long time ago, a character that went by the name of Kiddy Kong? What about Swanky Kong? Chunky Kong? Hmmm, is it starting to come back to you? Wow, they have been gone a long time. Kiddy Kong, the lovable toddler from Donkey Kong Country 3 that doesn't know his own strength hasn't been seen since, well, Donkey Kong Country 3; unless of course you count the port/semi-sequel Donkey Kong Land 3. Either way, we haven't seen him in over 10 years. What about Swanky Kong? Remember him? That game show host, who always held those fun little mini-games? He hasn't been seen since DKC3 either! Who was that last one again? Oh yeah, Chunky Kong! He was in Donkey Kong 64, right? That was his first and last appearance!
But why aren't these characters around anymore? Who decided which characters would return and who wouldn't? Well, let's take a look at all 3 characters, and discuss why they will most likely never be seen again.

First off, Kiddy Kong. Dixie Kong's baby cousin, who helped her save Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong from the new Kremling breed. He was essentially created to be a replacement for DK, but he picked up his own unique abilities along the way. But Donkey Kong Land 3 was his last real appearance. Why is this? Well, there are several reasons.

First, Donkey Kong 64. Yes, when the time came that a 3D sequel to Donkey Kong Country was neccessary, Rare was ready. Ideally, you would've been able to play as all four of the Kong heroes; DK, Diddy, Dixie, and Kiddy. But Rare decided early on that they were going to stick to there roots, and only bring back characters from the original Donkey Kong Country. So Dixie and Kiddy had to be replaced, and Tiny Kong and Chunky Kong were born. They were nothing but clones, through and through, and of course, once a clone character is created, there is no reason to bring back the character he is cloned from. The sad part is, when Rare said they would only include characters from the first Donkey Kong Country, they actually ended up breaking this rule, as Wrinkly Kong made her way into the game(though she died trying!).

One reason that Kiddy can't return is this: age. Yes, Kiddy was a toddler, very young and innocent, often prone to temper tantrums. But if he were to appear in a new game, wouldn't he have aged? According to the DK64 instruction manual, Donkey Kong 64 takes place 3 years after Donkey Kong Land 3. So Kiddy should have aged 3 years older, but this would certainly defeat the whole purpose of his character. The only reason for his existence is that he is the obligatory baby character of the Kong family. He certainly would have lost his charm as a whining 5 year old. This could be one of the reasons Rare decided not to include him in DK64, who knows.

Kiddy did have one gleam of hope. Anyone remember a game called Donkey Kong Racing? Well, if you don't, let me fill you in. In 2003 Rare was working on a Donkey Kong racing game for the Nintendo Gamecube. In the only video go the game, we can clearly see Kiddy Kong riding on Ellie the Elephant, in his normal toddler form, no less! Perhaps Rare might have decided that there was no need to age the character, like in most cartoons. Well, sadly this game was Kiddy's last hope for returning, and it was cancelled after Microsoft bought Rare.

Let's move on to another missing Kong, Chunky Kong. If you had read the part about Kiddy Kong you would know that Chunky was created as a replacement for Kiddy. But why was he abandoned after his single outing? Well, let's take a look at a few of the reasons.

First, Chunky was created at a bad time. A few years after DK64 came out, Nintendo's new systems arrived; the Game Boy Advance, and the Nintendo Gamecube. Rare was quick to start work on 3 DK spin-off titles; two racing games and one puzzle game. They certainly weren't ready to start work on another Donkey Kong platformer, after all, they had the entire lifespan of the Gamecube to do that. Unfortunately, terror struck. After several internal losses and some abuse from Nintendo, Rare left for Microsoft. This prevented Rare from ever making any main Donkey Kong games again.

Ever since then there have been few Donkey Kong platformers, and they seemed to be trying to push the image of Donkey Kong being the toughest guy around. Chunky Kong would obviously conflict with this image. Then more recently a company called Paon emerged to make a few DK titles, and in each of them they have further pushed the idea that Funky Kong is the tough guy of the group. It seems this proposal won't be going away anytime soon, and there is really no need for two strong characters.

There was one last resort for Chunky Kong, though, and it's name is Diddy Kong Racing DS. When Rare decided to update there N64 classic they needed to replace two characters, Banjo and Conker. They decided on Dixie Kong(obviously) and Tiny Kong. That spot could've easily been filled by either Chunky or Kiddy. See, they needed to bring back a character. They probably would have chosen one of the playable Kongs. They didn't want DK because he would take the focus away from Diddy. Lanky wouldn't do because he was such an oddball, and seemed to have nearly no connection with Diddy. So it was either Chunky, Kiddy or Tiny. Well, it seems Chunky would be the obvious choice. He's replacing Banjo, and Banjo is a heavy character, so it fits. And Tiny was almost identical to Dixie anyway. So why did they choose Tiny? Well, we may never know. They went with Tiny, and the clone thing was no longer an issue because she was already redesigned for Donkey Kong Barrel Blast. Now she's freakishly tall and has become a clone of Candy Kong, and thus Chunky shall forever remain in video game limbo, hoping his last hope to return someday.

Now for the final missing Kong, Swanky. This one is perhaps the most perplexing. He was a great character, that could basically be inserted into almost any DK game since his disappearance. He had one purpose and one purpose only: Mini-games. In today's casual game market mini-games are all the rage, it's almost insane not to include Swanky!

But fret not, for even though we haven't seen him for many years, we do know he still hasn't quite been forgotten. In the 2005 game Mario Superstar Baseball, DK has his own baseball field. What does this have to do with Swanky Kong, you ask? Well, on the back of the field there is a large billboard advertising Swanky's bonus game! Now, I know this is just a Mario sport game, and that it barely fits into the continuity, but it's still an important sign nonetheless. Heck, if he's getting advertisement in Mario games, his triumphant return must be right around the corner.

So that's it, 3 fantastic characters who may never be seen again. But remember, they may not be in recent titles, but they are always around as long as you still play the classics.

- by Jomingo -

This article was written by a DKC Atlas Forum staff member. All opinions expressed within this article are those of the writer, and are not necessarily shared by DKC Atlas, or the DKC gaming community.
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