The Jungle Beat Translation Project - Part 2:- Oh the Places You'll Go -
The Sun Barrel
Opening Ceremony = はじまりの儀式 (lit. 'Beginning Ceremony')
This is it, the beginning. A ceremony to mark the occasion before Donkey Kong sets out.
The 'D' Barrel
Banana Kingdom = バナナ王国
- Dawn Savannah = 朝焼けの平原 (lit. 'Plains of the Morning Glow')
- Jungle Deeps = ディープジャングル (Deep Jungle)
- VS Dread Kong = VS ドレッドコング (VS Dread Kong)
As mentioned above, Final Kong seems to be represented by a Dark/New Moon. Donkey Kong starts his journey at dawn with the rising sun. Symbolism! As appropriate for our hero, he begins in the Banana Kingdom, presumably the kingdom closest to the DK Isles, and must fight the evil Dread Kong, who started out development as a sort of 'Shadow Donkey Kong', seemingly analogous to the Zelda series' Dark Link. He is battled on the branches of a great tree (the Sacred Tree?) with hundreds of Monkeys holding a candle-lit vigil spectating around the two apes. They watch and wait to see if their cry for help to Donkey Kong is even going to get started, as if he can't even defeat this first King, there is no hope.
Orange Kingdom = オレンジ王国
- Silver Snow Peak = 白銀の大雪山 (lit. 'Big Snow Mountain of Silver')
- Sky Garden = スカイガーデン (Sky Garden)
- VS Scruff Roc = VS スランプバード (VS Slump Bird)
The first of the Hoofer levels! Not a whole lot to say about that one. Run run as fast as you can! Sky Garden is the first instance of ruins in the game, a theme you're going to see a lot of. Here, they're overgrown with giant stalks and vines, winding their way up into the clouds. Scruff Roc is fought on a mesa, and is the first of his type DK encounters. It's interesting to note the the Rocs are the only of the Kings to actually die on defeat, as the Hawgs and Kongs are simply knocked out and the Tusks broken. The Rocs also mindlessly shriek at you, while the Hawgs laugh maliciously and the Kongs are, well, Kongs, leading me to believe the Rocs are 'Kings' in the same sense that a dragon might be, a powerful beast lording over the country side.
Watermelon Kingdom = スイカ王国
(スイカ (suika) is the Japanese word for Watermelon)
- Monkey Fest = キッキ村の祭り (lit. 'Monkey Village Festival')
- Desert Oasis = 荒野のオアシス (lit. 'Wilderness Oasis')
- VS Rogue Hog = VS ゴロピー (VS Goro Pig)
Watermelons are tradition Japanese festival fruit, and so it's appropriate that we kick off this kingdom with a festival in the village of the aptly called Party Monkeys, housed in a pair of giant trees! They seem to be enjoying themselves, presumably celebrating DK's early successes. An interesting note is that this is a village in celebration as the opening level of the third world, a theme that would be repeated games later in DKC Tropical Freeze. The Desert Oasis appears to be inside a mountain, arid outside and lush inside. An old volcano crater perhaps? Rogue Hawg is fought in a canyon, presumably connected or part of the oasis. He's the first of the Boss Hawgs, the clan with perhaps the most enemy types in the game.
Apple Kingdom = リンゴ王国
(リンゴ (ringo) is the Japanese word for Apple)
- Massive Canyon = グレイトキャニオン (Great Canyon)
- Ice Warren = ユキモグラ洞窟 (lit. 'Snow Mole Den/Caves')
- VS Turret Tusk = イウゾウ (VS Iuzō)
Massive Canyon apepars to be the back half of the Desert Oasis, and underground lichen cavern that transitions into a large mushroom-laden sinkhole (that DK climbs out of), before transitioning back into a canyon proper at the end. The Ice Warren is apparently an Eskimole den. Turret Tusk, the first of the shagohad elephant tanks that represent an oddity as some of the only industrial things in the game, is fought in some overgrown ruins, this time in a jungle clearing. These ruins contain the remains of some strange Buddha-ish statues, adding to the Eastern Mysticism themes cropping up in the game. Of note, the Tusks are very clearly mechanical. They start billowing smoke as you damage them, make mechanical sounds as the angle and and aim their canons, and break down when you defeat them.
The 'K' Barrel
Strawberry Kingdom = イチゴ王国
(イチゴ (ichigo) is the Japanese word for Strawberry)
- Helibird Nest = ヘリバードの巣 (lit. 'Helibird Nest')
- Spirit Tree = 大神木 (lit. 'Great Spirit Tree')
- VS Mo-Hog = VS モロピー (VS Moro Pig)
This whole kingdom takes place within a single giant tree, the Great Spirit Tree named in the second level presumably. The Helibird Nest takes place within its branches and leaves as you traverse the home of a flock of the lazy looking Helibirds, who look like they'd much rather be sleeping than helping out this galumphing ape. The second level takes place within the tree itself, as you traverse around and clear out its infestation of enemies. Finally, Mo-Hawg is on its roots. It's interesting that this single tree is so important that an entire kingdom within the game is dedicated to it. I posit that it is one and the same as the Sacred Tree you pay tribute at with your bananas at the end of each Kingdom, and Mo-Hawg was sent to capture it. The Strawberry Kingdom marks the beginning of the second set of kingdoms, and by this point Final Kong would be aware of DK's progress and is presumably beginning to actively work against him.
Pineapple Kingdom = パイナップル王国
- Rumble Falls = 大滝のぼり (lit. 'Waterfall Climbing')
- Pristine Sea = 南国の碧い海 (lit. 'Tropical Blue Sea')
- VS Karate Kong = VS コンフーコング (VS Kung-Fu Kong)
Rumble Falls consists of DK fighting his way up a waterfall to the goal above. A visually beautiful level, but fairly straightforward. The bulk of this kingdom is instead taken up by the Pristine Sea, the first underwater level of the game. There's a shipwreck and various underwater blockages that have apparently trapped an Orca (named Orco) in the deeps and DK must make his way down to free his newfound friend. Karate Kong is fought on a log going down a river (the same river that ends in the afore-seen Rumble Falls?). He's probably the most ascetically interesting of the enemy Kongs, the old wizened martial arts master. I imagine that, if the enemy Kongs have a similar hierarchy to the ones we know and love, that he's this group's analog of Cranky.
Lemon Kingdom = レモン王国
- Chopperbird Race = バードマンレース (Birdman Race)
- Cactus Mine = サボテン鉱山 (Cactus Mine)
- VS Fleet Roc = VS ハッスルバード (VS Hustle Bird)
The race with the so called 'Chopperbird' takes place in the tree-tops of an autumnal forest. Is this quest taking DK some time? Does Dawn Savannnah represent not just Dawn, but Spring? Watermelon festivals traditionally take place during the Japanese summer, so perhaps up to this point DK's journey of revolution has taken the better part of a year? The Cactus Mine is, as it says, a mine, mainly inside a giant cactus, but partially also in the rockface adjacent. Is this like the moisture farms of Star Wars, a mine to gather water from the giant cacti in the desert wastes? Fleet Roc is the first Roc to start pulling dark fairy stuffs from the giant black eggs they carry, leading me to surmise that Final Kong has employed these (mostly expendable) great aerial beasts to transport his black tar fairies throughout the kingdoms to help him take and solidify his control, like Hideyoshi's demonic cherry trees in Onimush Dawn of Dreams.
Grape Kingdom = ブドウ王国
(ブドウ (budou) is the Japanese word for Grape)
- Sweet Paradise = スウィーツヘブン (Sweets Heaven)
- Primeval Ruins = いにしえの神殿 (lit. 'Ancient Honden)
- VS Grave Tusk = VS キクゾウ (VS Kikuzō)
The two levels of this kingdom take us above the clouds and below the ground. It's interesting that Retro would later take a cue from Sweet Paradise and fill their mystical skies with giant fruits and jelly-blobs. 神殿 (honden) is the 'alter' part of a Shinto shrine, and is intended purely for the uses of the enshrined kami spirit. The Primeval Ruins level itself appears to be a buried temple, with giant roots twisting throughout the background. Perhaps the level rests below/near the Great Spirit Tree? Given the worship, or at least deference to, the Moon going on throughout the game, I think it's safe to assume that this may be a honden of the Kami of the moon. Grave Tusk is fought in an area that is some dilapidated ruins half-buried in sand, presumably the above-ground part of the Primeval Ruins.
The 'J' Barrel
Cherry Kingdom = チェリー王国
- Aurora Glacier = オーロラ氷河 (lit. 'Aurora Glacier')
- Grim Volcano = 魔の火山道 (lit. 'Demon Magic Volcano Road')
- VS Hard Roc = VS ナックルバード (VS Knuckle Bird)
Aurora Glacier is a nice looking level that allows DK to show off his ice skating skills years before Mario would get a chance to do the same. Grim Volcano is, well, a volcano. DK goes inside through a cavern in the foothills and works his way up towards the crater. It is, notably, an early (possibly first?) appearance of the strange Tar enemies, this time a Tarman. Essentially minibosses, but don't get an introductory scene like the Spidancers or Pan-Pans, these tar beasts attack you with swarms of black fairies and must be defeated in order to advance. The further south DK gets, the more these guys show up, along with other signs of Final Kong's reign. Not much to say about the Hard Roc fight other than that each successive Roc fight has featured more black fairy stuff going on with the black eggs.
Peach Kingdom = モモ王国
(モモ (momo) is the Japanese word for Peach)
- Arctic Plunge = 極海の氷山 (lit. 'Iceberg of the Frozen Sea')
- Ancient Foundary = エイリアンプラント (Alien Plant)
- VS Torch Tusk = VS エンゾウ (VS Enzō)
Arctic Plunge is a mainly underwater ice level which has more Tar enemies (this time a Tarfish
blocking DK's path. The interesting bit of the kingdom though is the Ancient Foundry. It's Japanese name suggests it is otherworldly in origin, being an ancient alien factory of some sort. The design looks a lot like Inca architectural design with lots of tubes & wiring in the background. The level culminates with all the tubes and wires leading to a giant cracked open sphere, inside of which is a tiny garden area with the fruit tree. It's an interesting level. I can see it being an 'alien plant/factory' in a meso-american ancient aliens sort of way. I posit that Final Kong was sealed away here and recently broke out (hence the broken open dome), and that this foundry is where the Tusks are produced, being the only industrial area in the game, and foundry to boot.
Melon Kingdom = メロン王国
- Iguanagon's Realm = カメオンの巣 (Kameon's Den)
- Banshee Swamp = 鬼火の沼 (lit. 'Ghostfire Swamp')
- VS Bloat-Hog = VS ドロピー (VS Doro Pig)
Iguanagon's Realm is a miniboss stage in the same way the Squidicus' levels are in Returns and Tropical Freeze. It's actually kind of interesting looking back at Jungle Beat and seeing how much Returns and Tropical Freeze share in common with it, but that might just be because, once you get past the control scheme, Jungle Beat actually has a lot of traditional Donkey Kong Country stuff in it. Anyway, you ride Hoofer through the level, lobbing pineapple bombs at the mighty Iguanagon, which is being protected by Roc enemies. Banshee Swamp is a haunted swamp with bits of crumbling castle architecture strewn about, another classic DKC set-piece. The Japanese title reveals that the blue flames are ghostfires or will-o'-the-wisps, just waiting to lead DK to his doom. The level ends with possibly the only instance of a smaller Roc enemy (as a miniboss) that you can have DK punch.
Durian Kingdom = ドリアン王国
- Battle for Storm Hill = 嵐の丘の戦い (lit. 'Battle of Storm Hill')
- Arie Fortress = 雷雲トリノス城 (lit. 'Thundercloud Torino Castle')
- VS Ninja Kong = VS ブシドーコング (VS Bushidō Kong)
This is another kingdom where the entire thing takes place in one location, similar to the Great Spirit Tree way back up the page. This time, however, the kingdom is actually a kingdom! DK spends these levels making his way towards Ninja Kong's fortress atop Storm Hill and making the name apt by storming the damn place. This is one of the coolest kingdoms in the game, and its tight continuity in a single setting certainly helps that. By the end of the kingdom, Ninja Kong lies defeated, and the fortress burns in the rain. Only Final Kong awaits!
The Moon Barrel
VS Cactus King = 覇王降臨
(lit. 'Overlord Advent/Descent')
The kanji 降臨 can be read as both 'advent' and 'descent'. This is the Rise and Fall of the Overlord. This strange mushroom cavern leads to the fight with the Final Kong himself. At the end of the battle, DK stands triumphant and the credits roll. It all ends here. Or does it?
The 'B' Barrel
Pear Kingdom = ラフランス王国
(ラフランス (La France
) is the Japanese term for a French Pear)
- Deep Sea Sprint = 深海大レース (lit. 'Deep Sea Big Race')
- Clock Tower = クロックタワー (Clock Tower)
- VS Gloat-Hog = VS ゲルピー (VS Geru Pig)
In true DKC fashion, there's an unlockable set of levels after you've defeated the 'final' boss. The Pear Kingdom starts out with a race against some speedy sea turtles in an underwater grotto, followed by exploration of a giant clock tower. Seems like DK is taking it easy after defeating the root of all evil, right? But then Gloat-Hog shows up to do his name proud, gloating that the the war ain't over yet and letting DK know he still has work to do.
Lychee Kingdom = ライチ王国
- Helibird Dash = ヘリバード大レース (lit. 'Helibird Big Race')
- Lava Cavern = 灼熱の溶岩谷 (lit. 'Scorching Lava Valley')
- VS Thunder Roc = VS ストライクバード (VS Strike Bird)
Helibird Dash starts within the roots of a giant flower and winds its way up up up through its stalk & stem to the bloom itself. The Lava Cavern, is, more or less, a lava cavern. Not a whole lot to say about the level, really. Thunder Roc is the most black fairy magic laden bird yet fought, actually using similar black fairy swarm attacks to the Tar creatures in addition to the repertoire of attacks it shares with its Roc brethren. In the background of the fight is a cloudy crescent moon, Final Kong's symbol. I note, however, that instead of a fuzzy edge, it's sharp, further leading me to think it's more of an oncoming eclipse than a simple phase of the moon.
Chili Pepper Kingdom = トウガラシ王国
(トウガラシ (togarashi) is the Japanese word for Capsicum)
- Cloudy Heights = 雲海の上 (lit. 'Above the Sea of Clouds')
- Magma Coliseum = マグマコロシアム (Magma Coliseum)
- VS Double Tusk = VS ジンゾウ＆カンゾウ (VS Jinzō & Kanzō)
Cloudy Heights takes place above and amongst the clouds, with giant vines egripping chunks of land in their twines. It reminds me a bit of that one section of Avatar, but it's a common enough set-piece in fiction. If I recall, this is also the level it's possible to wrack up an 18-combo on, if you take your time to set it up properly. Magma Coliseum, on the other hand, is a bitch. It's probably the most frustrating level in the game, with enemy placement meaning you're probably going to watch DK hold his ass and scream as you fall into the lava at least once during your run through the level. The boss fight puts a twist on the typical Tusk battle by having you fight two of them at once! Now that the foundry has been liberated, I guess they're throwing what's left at you, as neither of the two is as powerful as the last solo one you fought outside the foundry proper.
Star Fruit Kingdom = スターフルーツ王国
- Ninjape Rally = ニンザル大レース (lit. 'Ninzaru Big Race')
- Asteroid Belt = メテオアイランド (Meteor Island)
- VS Sumo Kong = VS ヒャッカンコング (VS Thousand Pound Kong)
And then things got strange
. Ninjape Rally sees you racing some Ninjapes through caverns, a castle area, and finally some forest outside. The remnants of the Storm Hill Fortress perhaps? It's a fairly straightforward race stage. We already had a swimming one and a flying one this set of worlds, so here's the on-foot one. Easy enough. It's the next bit that gets out there. I mean all the way
out there. Meteor Island takes place in outer space. Yeah. Maybe the Storm Hill Fortress contained a warp of some sort? Who knows? DK traverses asteroids, fighting multiple minibosses over the course of the stage until he reaches the goal, and proceeds to fight Sumo Kong on a chunk of rock that's burning up on re-entry. And there's weird robotic chanting going on in the background of the sumo wrestling match you have with the thousand pound gorilla. Yeah.
The Moon Barrel Revisited
VS Ghastly King = 覇王復活
This is it. The really
final battle. The level is the same, but this time, Final Kong in his revived form is sporting some new black magic attacks, as he can now spit ghostly meteors at you. Whatever Sumo Kong was doing out in space to revive this guy apparently paid off, as he's been powered up a bit. Once the fight is over, the credits roll, again. You are treated to a celebration, which includes the no-longer-evil Kongs and the Ninjapes as well as the Monkeys celebrating DK liberating the land, and you can rest easy, knowing that you've really beaten the game and saved the Southern Seas this time. At least until NPC! came along and added some more levels.