Prototypes of DKL3 (Japanese) and DKC (GBC) leaked

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Prototypes of DKL3 (Japanese) and DKC (GBC) leaked

Postby Blaziken257 » September 14th, 2020, 11:04 am

Earlier this month, prototypes of two different Donkey Kong games for the Game Boy (Color) were leaked (this seems to be a common theme in 2020!). The prototypes are of a Japanese version of Donkey Kong Land III, as well as Donkey Kong Country (GBC).

The Japanese prototype of Donkey Kong Land III can be found here:

This prototype is interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, this prototype is titled Donkey Kong Land 2 (not to be confused with the English game of the same name), which differs from any of the retail titles (Donkey Kong Land III in English and Donkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong & Dixie Kong in Japanese). (The second game in the trilogy was titled Donkey Kong Land in Japan.) Second of all, this prototype completely lacks any Game Boy Color support -- like the English version, it is specifically made for Game Boy and Super Game Boy.

It is also dated 1997, just like the English version, suggesting that the game was originally going to be released in Japanese just after it was released in English. In the end, Japan had to wait until 2000 since it was remade for the Game Boy Color.

Several other differences are found here, which remained in the final Japanese game:
  • Bear's animation was removed for unknown reasons.
  • World map animations were removed.
  • The Time Attack screen no longer displays the player's last time.
  • The text from Wrinkly/Bear scrolls one kana at a time, instead of appearing all at once.
  • The glitch where the player can reach the Lost World early (without needing 35 DK Coins) was fixed in the Japanese version. (See details here: ... orld_early)
    • However, the variation where the player can enter K. Rool's Last Stand early still works in the prototype. It was fixed in the final Japanese version, though.
Also, the Jetty Jitters demo (where you wait on the title screen without pressing anything) works correctly in the prototype, since it's still a GB/SGB game. It was broken in the final Japanese game because it uses GBC's double-speed mode, which somehow throws off the timing of prerecorded button presses.

After seeing this prototype, I think I might have an explanation as to why the world map animations and the "Last time" text in Time Attack were removed. Basically, the prototype ROM is still 512 KB, like the English version, and apparently enough data, text, and/or code was added (including but not limited to the credits text for the Japanese translation team) that there was no room for this stuff. The Donkey Kong Land games tend to use every byte available in the ROM. However, the final Japanese version doubled to 1 MB, which would have easily allowed room to restore the map animations and "Last time" text in Time Attack (as anyone who played the English patch knows), but for some reason, Rare never bothered.

And as for Bear's lost animation, the only thing I can think of is that the scrolling text slows down animations for everything else... but honestly, seeing Bear frozen like that is more noticeable in my opinion.

Now there's also a prototype for Donkey Kong Country (GBC) and it's an early prototype. Apparently it's a kiosk demo, and here's a summary of differences (can be found at and ... _prototype ):
  • After being Very Gnawty, the game resets, and only Kongo Jungle is accessible. Supposedly other levels exist but are unused.
  • Bonus and Link-up modes are inaccessible
  • A bug exists where the Kongs can roll or cartwheel in crawlspaces in caves, which was fixed in the final.
  • When getting all secrets, there is an exclamation mark after the level, like in the SNES version. In the final, the text is red instead.
  • Sticker pads are smaller in the prototype.
  • In Diddy's victory animation, he only throws his cap once.
  • Candy's Challenge is inaccessible.
  • In a Stop the Barrel! minigame, the red question marks don't appear at all.
  • When played on a monochrome Game Boy, the error message has different text.
All in all, these prototypes are interesting, and show the development history of both games. It is interesting to see all the differences between these prototypes and the final games and the progress made during development. It makes me wonder if there will be other prototypes that will see the light of day eventually...
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Re: Prototypes of DKL3 (Japanese) and DKC (GBC) leaked

Postby Retro » September 16th, 2020, 8:13 am

This is really interesting. Thanks for lighting up this otherwise dead forum with this post!

I wonder if any of the levels have different layouts? That might be interesting to check out if you haven't already.

Actually, I've been looking at DKL2 recently (related to TASing), and I was thinking about porting the map tools to Python 3 and maybe adding some more functionality.
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Re: Prototypes of DKL3 (Japanese) and DKC (GBC) leaked

Postby Kingizor » September 16th, 2020, 12:46 pm

Bouncy Bonanza's 3rd bonus has stalactites. (kiosk, retail)

Orang-utan Gang's final bonus entrance is slightly different. (kiosk, retail)

I think that's it as far as layout differences go.

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Re: Prototypes of DKL3 (Japanese) and DKC (GBC) leaked

Postby Retro » September 16th, 2020, 11:28 pm

Ah, but what about sprites? Who's to know if any of the objects are in different places if you only have a map showing the tiles? (I suppose this is an issue if the sprite format still needs to be researched enough to extract it).
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