Within the Nintendo corral of flagship characters, the foremost is undoubtedly their plucky Italian plumber named Mario, who has literally appeared in hundreds of games and shows no signs of slowing down his heroic adventures. Yet, as famous as he has become for fighting Bowser in his repeated attempts to take over the world and kidnap the Princess, Mario’s original nemesis was not even reptilian.He was Donkey Kong, who made his first appearance in the self-titled Donkey Kong arcade game, in which Mario had to traverse red iron girders, ladders, rolling barrels, and other obstacles in order to traverse past Kong, who, like King Kong, was a giant ape who held a lithe blonde girl captive.
The big monkey guy has since gone on to not only continue to fight Mario, but also begin appearing in his own successful line of games. What makes this gorilla tick?
Donkey Kong has evolved (pun intended) from his crude, pixelated, original look into a slightly more refined character. Now, he has a very expressive face, highlighted by big eyes and mouth atop a fittingly large head atop massive shoulders. His brown fur is lighter on his chest and hands, and the details of his hair differ from game to game, but he has one signature accessory that sets him apart and makes him immediately recognizable: He wears a red tie.
PersonalityAlthough DK typically only communicates in monkey-like noises such as shrieks, growls, and hoots, he has definitely formed a formidable personality over the years. Though he presents himself as a strong brute that will viciously defend himself and his banana hoard from crocodile baddies, he also has a playful soul that manages to pull off a “jungle cool” vibe, as exemplified in titles such as Donkey Konga, which came with a drum set, and his Donkey Kong Country antics that included jamming out to a boombox. Think of him as the friendly, laidback, partying college guy who will bust some heads if you get on his bad side.
With Donkey Kong, there is no need for finesse or technique, there is only room for physical might. Controlling an arsenal of rolls, punches, slaps, and spinning fists, DK proves to be quite the handy hero in a bout. One of his signature moves through his games is his ground pound, in which he slaps the ground so hard that it can break the ground and hurt nearby enemies. His combative prowess is so renowned, in fact, that he is a regular character on the Super Smash Bros roster.
In a nutshell, Donkey Kong is a strong ape with a heart of gold that just wants to eat his bananas in peace but usually gets caught up in some sort of mess. But with friends around like Diddy Kong, he can continue to delight fans and conquer foes for years to come.