Donkey Kong Land 2 Soundtrack, Grant Kirkhope / David Wise, 1996
When Donkey Kong Country was released on the SNES in 1994, it was hailed as a technical marvel that very few people would have expected to see on the ageing hardware. When Rare released a Game Boy port called Donkey Kong Land a year later, jaws hit the floor again. How could those Silicon Graphics workstations-rendered 3D sprites possibly translate to the monochrome Game Boy display? Turns out it was possible to bring those pre-rendered graphics to the 4-bit platform – although the result was visually overly busy and impacted gameplay.
One year later, Rare released Donkey Kong Land 2 – the Game Boy port of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. This time, the developers had figured out how to keep the visuals less cluttered and the game more playable. True, reviewers pointed out the lack of original content – DKL2 was more or less a straight port of DKC2. However, the SNES original’s outstanding gameplay qualities made the Game Boy version one of the system’s best platformers.