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Donkey Kong (character)

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Not to be confused with Cranky Kong, named "Donkey Kong" in the early Donkey Kong titles.
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong DKCGBC artwork.jpg
Artwork used for the Donkey Kong Country remakes
First appearance Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Latest appearance Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA) (2005, Rare-related media)
Mario Strikers: Battle League (2022, overall)
Latest portrayal Takashi Nagasako (2004-present)
Species Kong

Donkey Kong, also known simply as DK, D.K., or D. Kong,[1][2] is the main and titular protagonist of the Donkey Kong franchise. He is a powerful and carefree Kong who lives in Donkey Kong Island, and he likes to collect bananas and spend time with his friends, particularly his nephew Diddy Kong. In the Mario franchise, particularly the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, Donkey Kong has been portrayed as an antagonist.

Donkey Kong is the name of two Kongs, something that has been established by Rare in Donkey Kong Country. The original Donkey Kong from the Donkey Kong franchise's arcade and Game & Watch installments is named Cranky Kong, and the Donkey Kong who debuted in Donkey Kong Country is Cranky Kong's grandson and Donkey Kong Jr.'s son. Sometimes, Cranky Kong has been inconsistently referred to as Donkey Kong's father.[3]


Donkey Kong Country series

Donkey Kong Country

Artwork from Donkey Kong Country

In the backstory for Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong assigned Diddy Kong, to guard his banana hoard at night. Later, the Kremling Krew overpowered Diddy and stole Donkey Kong's entire hoard. The next morning, Cranky Kong wakes up Donkey Kong and shows him that his entire banana hoard is missing. Donkey Kong is upset, also noticing that Diddy is missing, and goes on an adventure to find retrieve the banana hoard and rescue Diddy, who he rescues from a DK Barrel in the first level, Jungle Hijinxs.

Donkey Kong and Diddy adventure through six worlds, and are assisted by three other Kongs along their way: Cranky, Candy, and Funky. In some of the levels, Donkey Kong and Diddy are assisted by an Animal Friend, such as Rambi.

In gameplay, Donkey Kong can defeat Krushas and Klumps by jumping on them whereas Diddy cannot. Donkey Kong is less agile than Diddy, and one of his attacks is to roll into enemies (Diddy's equivalent to the move is performing a cartwheel). Donkey Kong can perform a Hand Slap on the ground to sometimes unearth a hidden item. Donkey Kong carries a barrel above him instead of holding it out in front like Diddy.

Donkey Kong and Diddy eventually reach the final destination, Gang-Plank Galleon, where they engage in a final boss battle against King K. Rool. The Kongs manage to defeat K. Rool and reclaim the whole banana hoard, thus ending their adventure.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

Artwork of Diddy and Dixie attempting to rescue Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong does not appear as a playable character. The main plot involves Diddy and his girlfriend, Dixie Kong, having to rescue Donkey Kong from the Kremlings and Kaptain K. Rool on Crocodile Isle.

In the intro of the game, Donkey Kong is relaxing on the beach. Cranky Kong shows up, arguing that Donkey Kong should not take a rest because he is a video game hero. After some discussion, Donkey Kong asks Cranky to leave. During the day, the Kremlings ambush Donkey Kong, tie him up, and carry him up into The Flying Krock. K. Rool writes a note demanding the banana hoard as a ransom for Donkey Kong's return. On the beach, the Kong family discuss the incident. Diddy refuses to give up the banana hoard to the Kremlings, so he and Dixie go on an adventure to rescue him.

At the end of K. Rool's Keep, in Stronghold Showdown, Diddy and Dixie find Donkey Kong tied up in the chamber. As they celebrate over finding Donkey Kong, he gets carried up into The Flying Krock, and Diddy and Dixie rush after him (the entire event was replaced with a boss fight against Kerozene in the Game Boy Advance version).

During the boss level K. Rool Duel, Diddy and Dixie manage to enter inside the airship. They witness in shock as Kaptain K. Rool beats Donkey Kong, still tied up, with his blunderbuss. In parts of the battle, when K. Rool is knocked down, Donkey Kong falls into view, still attempting to break free from his ropes. At the end of the battle, Donkey Kong manages to break free, and he punches K. Rool out of the airship. In the Game Boy Advance version, a cutscene is shown of the Kongs escaping the Flying Krock just before it falls into the water.

Donkey Kong also appears in the 102% ending, after Diddy and Dixie defeat Kaptain K. Rool in the Lost World. He, Diddy, and Dixie witness as Crocodile Isle sinks underwater.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!

In the backstory for Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Donkey Kong and Diddy go on a fishing trip in the Northern Kremisphere. After a few days, neither of the Kongs returned, causing Dixie to become worried, so she goes on an adventure to search for them with her toddler cousin, Kiddy Kong.

After a long adventure, Dixie and Kiddy discover that Baron K. Roolenstein (an alter-ego of K. Rool's) was behind the plot. She and Kiddy manage to defeat K. Rool and his robot invention, KAOS, which Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are held captive inside. The two Kongs are freed, and Donkey Kong is impressed at Dixie and Kiddy for rescuing them.

Donkey Kong Land series

Donkey Kong Land

Donkey Kong reappears in Donkey Kong Land, which takes place after the events of Donkey Kong Country. In the backstory, which is told in the game's instruction manual, Cranky Kong admits that Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong's previous adventure was more successful than he expected. Cranky, breaking the fourth wall, believes it was due to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's graphical capabilities, so he bets with Donkey Kong and Diddy that they cannot finish an adventure on an 8-bit handheld, the Game Boy. The Kongs accept the bet, so Cranky arranges for the Kremling Krew to steal the Kongs' bananas again.

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong travel through four worlds. At the end of the fourth world, Big Ape City, the two Kongs engage in a final boss fight against K. Rool in K. Rool's Kingdom. They manage to defeat K. Rool and thus complete their adventure on an 8-bit handheld.

Donkey Kong Land 2

In Donkey Kong Land 2, which is a retelling of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest's events, Donkey Kong has the same role of being kidnapped by Kaptain K. Rool.

Donkey Kong Land III

Donkey Kong does not appear in Donkey Kong Land III itself, ironically making it the only Donkey Kong title that he does not appear in. However, he and Diddy are mentioned during the game's backstory, where they join a contest to find the Lost World. Dixie and Kiddy also hear about of the contest and decide to enter as well.

Donkey Kong 64

Artwork of Donkey Kong and the other four playable Kongs for Donkey Kong 64

In Donkey Kong 64, King K. Rool develops a doomsday machine, the Blast-o-Matic, inside Crocodile Isle and plans to destroy DK Isles with it. Due to the incompetence of his Kremling underlings, Crocodile Isle crashes into a rock, severely damaging the Blast-o-Matic. Squawks alerts Donkey Kong that all of his Golden Bananas have been stolen and that his four friends — Diddy Kong, Lanky Kong, Tiny Kong, and Chunky Kong — have all been kidnapped and each locked behind a cage throughout the island.

Donkey Kong discovers an isle attached to Crocodile Isle. Inside he meets K. Lumsy, an enormous Kremling who was locked up for not destroying the island. When DK promises to free him, K. Lumsy jumps for joy, opening up a pathway to the first level, Jungle Japes. In there, Donkey Kong finds Diddy Kong and frees him. Donkey Kong and his friends receive help from various characters during his adventure, including Funky Kong, Cranky Kong, Snide, Troff and Scoff. Starting with Angry Aztec, Candy Kong also joins in helping Donkey Kong and his friends.

Donkey Kong is a heavyweight, which makes him slow and strong. He is the strongest Kong, next to Chunky Kong. During his adventure, Donkey Kong learns a few unique abilities at Cranky's Lab: Strong Kong, Baboon Blast, and Gorilla Grab. Strong Kong allows him to be invincible, which is necessary for safely crossing stage hazards like lava or quicksand. Baboon Blast allows Donkey Kong to partake in a challenge involving him firing from a series of Barrel Cannons. Lastly, Gorilla Grab allows him to pull levers. The Coconut Shooter is Donkey Kong's personal weapon, given to him by Funky Kong, and it can shoot out coconuts. His personal instrument is the bongos, given to him by Candy Kong. Donkey Kong is associated with the color yellow, so he is the only character who can collect yellow bananas, Banana Bunch Coins, and blueprints.

As the other Kongs are rescued, they help Donkey Kong find his Golden Bananas and the Boss Keys to unlocking K. Lumsy's cage. At the end of their adventure, the five Kongs get in a final boss battle against K. Rool, set within a boxing arena. Donkey Kong is the first Kong to fight K. Rool, and while announcing Donkey Kong, the ring announcer notes that he weighs 800 pounds (363 kg).

Like all of the playable Kongs, Donkey Kong has four colors that the player can select in Monkey Smash mode. By default, DK has brown fur and a red tie; his other costumes include tan fur with a purple tie, orange fur with a yellow tie, and dark blue fur with a light blue tie.

Cameo appearances

In GoldenEye 007, Donkey Kong's face can be seen on a mountain in the first mission of the game, the Dam. There is also an unlockable cheat called DK Mode, which gives all characters a body shape similar to Donkey Kong's, with a larger head and arms extending to the ground so as to resemble his primal posture. This cheat was also retained for the Nintendo 64 version of Perfect Dark.

In Banjo-Tooie, Goggles is playing with a Donkey Kong doll. "Donkey Kong" is the answer to one of Gruntilda's questions in either the Tower of Tragedy or during the final battle.

Canceled games

Diddy Kong Pilot (2001)

In the 2001 version of Diddy Kong Pilot, Donkey Kong would have been a playable character. In the September 2001 build, he cannot be selected from the character select menu, and is only playable via hacking, there are some official press screenshots that show him being played as.

Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers

In Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers, Donkey Kong would have made an appearance.

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Donkey Kong Racing

In Donkey Kong Racing's trailer, Donkey Kong is first shown during the segment where he rides Rambi until Taj, who is riding a miniature Rambi, knocks him off-screen. Donkey Kong is then shown in a forest-like area racing Taj while both of them are on Zingers.

Diddy Kong Pilot (2003)

In the 2003 version of Diddy Kong Pilot, Donkey Kong is a playable character, and is one of the members of Team Kong. He has high weight and speed but medium acceleration. He was later replaced by Mumbo Jumbo in Banjo-Pilot, though Donkey Kong's groaning sound is still retained for one of Mumbo Jumbo's sound effects.

Appearances in other media

Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle

An illustration of Squawks discovering Donkey Kong and his friends in a dark cave, from Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle

Donkey Kong stars in the novel Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle, based on both Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land. He leaves his treehouse with both Diddy Kong and Cranky Kong after discovering that Funky Kong's plane has mysteriously crashed near Big Ape City. They traverse through the Tree Top Town on the edge of the forest, and Donkey Kong takes the lead in confronting and defeating a large group of Kremlings. Later, Donkey Kong uses his "extraordinary lung power" to cry for help from Squawks the Parrot when they find themselves trapped within a mountain cave. After reaching Big Ape City, Donkey Kong is angered to discover that the Kremlings are rebuilding a large factory which is releasing large amounts of pollution into the air. He finds a way for the Kongs to enter the factory by hiding in a Mine Cart, and they locate Funky within a cell. Donkey Kong uses a mini TNT Barrel to break open the cell door, and later uses a powerful shoulder charge to break open the door to the factory's cargo room.

Just like "climbing vines back in the jungle", Donkey Kong climbs a cable within an elevator shaft to reach the factory's defensive system. He encounters the most powerful Kremling, Krusha, who threatens to bring him to King K. Rool. Knowing that he is unable to defeat Krusha using strength alone, Donkey Kong tricks him into thinking that inside his backpack is a list of where to find all the Kongs on Donkey Kong Island. This gives him the chance to knock out Krusha using a barrel, and he proceeds to destroy the defense system. While escaping the factory in Funky's repaired plane, he and Diddy Kong decide to enter King K. Rool's zeppelin from the air and plant it with time-delayed TNT Barrels. After choosing to allow the "coward" King K. Rool to escape, Donkey Kong and Diddy re-enter the plane, and celebrate a victory as they watch the zeppelin fall and land on the factory, destroying it with an explosion.

Throughout the novel, Donkey Kong uses a range of physical attacks which were originally seen in the Donkey Kong Country game, including Barrel Rolls, Cartwheel Attacks and Hand Slaps. He also carries a large supply of miniature barrels and TNT Barrels in his backpack, which are utilized against the Kremlings and their weapons.

General information

Physical appearance

Donkey Kong is a Kong resembling a gorilla who has a burly physique, and he has large pecs, biceps and triceps. Donkey Kong also has the traditional large feet of primates with opposable thumbs. Donkey Kong also has brown fur, with the fur on his head being distinctly shaped to the point of looking like a hairstyle. The shade of brown his fur is colored, however, has been inconsistent between games, being either a lighter shade or its original darker shade. Donkey Kong wears only a single item of clothing: a red necktie with the "DK" logo printed on it in yellow from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest onward.


In the games, despite his carefree lifestyle, Donkey Kong is a brave and friendly hero who highly cares for his friends and banana hoard, and becomes enraged if either are threatened. He is always keen to be helpful and use his strength whenever it is necessary.

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Powers and abilities

Donkey Kong relies mainly on his brute strength. He sometimes has the title of "The strongest of the Kongs." In Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong can pick up and throw barrels. The game also has two specific enemies, Klump and Krusha, that Donkey Kong can defeat by jumping on them while Diddy cannot. Though his size and weight may suggest otherwise, Donkey Kong is can quickly move and is also agile.

In Donkey Kong 64, Donkey Kong's weapon is the Coconut Shooter, and he also has a special ability called Strong Kong, allowing him to become invincible and use up more Crystal Coconuts the longer he maintains the form. Donkey Kong also has some skill with playing the bongos to the point that he can even weaponize music and song in combat. This is demonstrated in Donkey Kong 64, where Donkey Kong is talented in playing bongos and uses it to solve puzzles and attack surrounding enemies; this skill carried over into some Donkey Kong games that were not developed by Rare, particularly the Donkey Konga series.


While Donkey Kong mainly verbalizes realistic ape noises in the games, the instruction manuals for the Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Land and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest show that he can also speak normally, something that also occurs during Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!'s ending.

In Donkey Kong 64, Donkey Kong was portrayed by Grant Kirkhope. He had a few lines where he spoke broken English while referring to himself in the third person. Grant Kirkhope continued to voice Donkey Kong until 2004, when Takashi Nagasako took over as Donkey Kong's voice actor. In appearances outside of Donkey Kong 64, Kirkhope would provide a mixture of cartoonish gorilla noises and actual words/phrases (though in fluent English).


Donkey Kong Country

All quotes are from the instruction booklets, with some narration.

  • ""OK, little buddy," Donkey had said in his patronizing voice. "As part of your hero training, you've got to stand guard tonight over my bananas... I'll relive you at midnight, so try and stay awake until then!""
  • ""Keep it down!!" he growled."
  • "Morning already... I slept through my watch!"
  • ""What 'cha do that for?!" Donkey Kong asked, knowing full well that Cranky was prone to cuffing him at every whim."
  • ""Diddy... gone... My little buddy..." he murmured to himself."
  • ""The Kremlings will pay!" he raged. "I'll hunt them down through every corner of my island, until I have every last banana from my hoard back!""
  • "Diddy's obsession with being like me has gone too far! He may be a long way from a true video game hero, but he had the guts, the reflexes, the heart..."
  • ""What do you know about adventuring, you flee-bitten old ape?" yelled Donkey Kong, edging closer and closer, braving Cranky's cane, until he was totally in his face. "I'm sick and tired of hearing about your boring, single screen adventures! Diddy's in trouble, my banana horde is gone, and I'm going to get them all back!""

Donkey Kong Country: Rumble in the Jungle

  • "[Squawks the Parrot] always carries a high-powered flashlight. He led us through the caves and tunnels once before. Maybe he can help us again."
  • "I can tell you where you're going. Right into that wall!"
  • "Time for some masterful monkey maneuvers!"
  • "Let the coward go. He's just a big windbag, like his ship!"

Donkey Kong 64

  • "Yeah!"
  • "Cool!"
  • "Ok!"
  • "What did Cranky mean about training? Donkey all confused..."
  • "Yes, Donkey will help K. Lumsy!"

Appearances in Rare games

Title Year of release System/format Role
Donkey Kong Country 1994 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Playable character
Donkey Kong Land 1995 Game Boy Playable character
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest 1995 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Non-playable character
Donkey Kong Land 2 1996 Game Boy Non-playable character
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! 1996 Super Nintendo Entertainment System Non-playable character
Donkey Kong Land III 1997 Game Boy Mentioned in the instruction booklet's backstory
Donkey Kong 64 1999 Nintendo 64 Playable character
Donkey Kong Country 2000 Game Boy Color Playable character
Diddy Kong Pilot (2001) Canceled (planned for early 2002) Game Boy Advance Playable character (via hacking)
Diddy Kong Pilot (2003) Canceled (converted into Banjo-Pilot) Game Boy Advance Playable character
Donkey Kong Country 2003 Game Boy Advance Playable character
Donkey Kong Country 2 2004 Game Boy Advance Non-playable character
Donkey Kong Country 3 2005 Game Boy Advance Non-playable character


  1. ^ Mario Kart 64 (From Japanese to English) The Mushroom Kingdom (Retrieved July 2, 2022)
  2. ^ Super Smash Bros. Melee (From Japanese to English) The Mushroom Kingdom (Retrieved July 2, 2022)
  3. ^ Kongtroversy. The Mushroom Kingdom (Retrieved July 2, 2022).
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