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Published on February 25th, 2011 | by Jasmine


Leave Luck to Heaven #7: Rise of the Plastic Drums

The week has been abuzz with Activision’s announcement to officially cancel the Guitar Hero franchise.  On top of this news, Harmonix opted to celebrate by putting Rock Band game development on an indefinite hiatus.  For those wondering, the winner here is still Harmonix because they plan to continue pushing out downloadable content.

Guitar Hero may not have been the first rhythm game but I would say it definitely gave the genre traction in the states.  Well that or Dance Dance Revolution, but Guitar Hero definitely had the more complex peripheral of those two. However, to maintain my Nintendo fangirl club status, the best rhythm game was and always will be Donkey Konga.

Donkey Konga was a rhythm game that used Donkey Kong characters and a set of plastic bongos.  The two games were for the Gamecube and allowed for the cooperative and/or competitive play between four players.  Drawback here was that if you didn’t have four bongos, which started at a relatively high price, than the players using controllers had a significantly easier time playing.  Using controllers also takes away from the idea of a drum circle in front of the television.  The bongos had the obvious left and right but also could track claps to add that extra fourth beat style.

Graphically, the game falls short for some people probably, but I prefer it.  Yes there is movement in the background but the gameplay area takes up the bulk of the screen. Playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band, the majority of the screen being filled by flashy movement often times would distract me from playing the game. On top of this key difference, being for the Gamecube this game doesn’t measure up to the Xbox 360 or the PS3, but the Wii doesn’t really either.

The first installment predates Guitar Hero and went down the path of least resistance music wise and used Nintendo game music.  This was still fun but obviously some were more obscure or even some that were tweaked to nearly unrecognizable.  The second game actually got a mix of the Nintendo music and some pop songs.  This one I preferred of the two because it gave me something to sing along to if I wasn’t playing at the time.

With the at least current moratorium on guitar games, maybe after some time is given I’ll get to see another Donkey Konga.  I actually don’t see it happening due to the saturation of the current rhythm games, if anything new comes out for this genre I can’t imagine it until the next generation of consoles.

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