Donkey Kong

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Not to be confused with Cranky Kong, who is named "Donkey Kong" in titles prior to Donkey Kong Country.
This article is about the character. For the franchise, see Donkey Kong (franchise). For other uses of the name "Donkey Kong", see Donkey Kong (disambiguation).
Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze artwork
First appearance Donkey Kong (1981, as a title)
Donkey Kong Country (1994, current Donkey Kong)
Latest appearance Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Nintendo Switch) (2018, Donkey Kong franchise)
Mario Strikers: Battle League (2022, overall)
Homeland Kong Island
Alias(es) DK
Residence DK's Tree House
Family Cranky Kong (grandfather)
Wrinkly Kong (grandmother)
Donkey Kong Jr. (father)
Diddy Kong (nephew)
Species Kong
Race Gorilla
Gender Male
Affiliation(s) Kong Family
Occupation(s) Protector of Kong Island
Abilities Barrel Roll
Brute Strength
Enemies Kremling Krew
Ghastly Kong
Tiki Tak Tribe
Portrayed by Mark Betteridge (1994–1995)[1]
Chris Sutherland (1994, when failing a Bonus Level)[2]
Grant Kirkhope (1999-2010)
Takashi Nagasako (2004–present)

Donkey Kong (also shortened to DK) is the main and titular protagonist of the Donkey Kong franchise. He is the grandson of Cranky Kong, the son of Donkey Kong Jr., and the uncle of Diddy Kong.[3] While Donkey Kong made his debut appearance in Donkey Kong Country, the "Donkey Kong" title was first used by Cranky, who debuted in the arcade game Donkey Kong.

Donkey Kong's goal is protect his Banana Hoard, defend Kong Island, and help his friends whenever they are in trouble. Most of the time, Donkey Kong is joined by Diddy, serving as his sidekick. Although he is the Donkey Kong franchise's main protagonist, some of the games have a premise of Donkey Kong being kidnapped, so a different Kong, specifically Diddy or Dixie, is substituted as the main protagonist.

Donkey Kong is consistently depicted as a pale-skinned gorilla with brown fur, brown eyes, and a hairstyle. He wears a red necktie bearing his initials "DK" in yellow.


Donkey Kong Country / Donkey Kong Land series

Donkey Kong Country

In Donkey Kong Country's backstory, Donkey Kong entrusted Diddy to guard the Banana Hoard until midnight as part of his video game hero training. During the night, while Donkey Kong was sleeping, the Kremlings steal all of the bananas within the Banana Hoard and seal Diddy into a DK Barrel. The next morning, Cranky walks into DK's Tree House and informs Donkey Kong that all of his bananas have been stolen. Donkey Kong is upset and vows to free Diddy and reclaim all of his stolen bananas. In the Game Boy Advance version, this is shown in the form of a opening cutscene, which is a truncated version of the story in the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System version's instruction booklet.

Upon starting his journey, Donkey Kong rescues Diddy from his DK Barrel. The two of them start from their home at Kongo Jungle, followed by the caves of Monkey Mines, the forest of Vine Valley, the icy tip of the island, Gorilla Glacier, the Kremling-run factories of Kremkroc Industries Inc., and the underground areas of Chimp Caverns. In each world, Donkey and Diddy receive help from three other Kongs — Cranky, Funky, and Candy — as well as their Animal Friends found in various levels.

After completing Chimp Caverns, Donkey Kong and Diddy board the Gangplank Galleon, where they find King K. Rool and battle him. After defeating him, Donkey and Diddy go to Cranky's Cabin, where Cranky congratulates them and informs them that all of their bananas have been safely returned into their Banana Hoard.

Donkey Kong Land

Donkey Kong at the start of Jungle Jaunt, the first level of Donkey Kong Land

In Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong go on another adventure, similar to their first one in Donkey Kong Country. In the manual's backstory, Donkey and Diddy were at Cranky's Cabin, telling Cranky of their previous adventure in Donkey Kong Country. However, Cranky was jealous, believing that video games had become easier as technology progressed and that people only liked it for the "fancy graphics." Donkey told Cranky that people liked the game because it was fun and that the colors and resolution made no difference. Cranky then has an idea for Donkey and Diddy to repeat their adventure on a Game Boy system, believing that they would be unsuccessful. Donkey and Diddy agreed with Cranky's arrangement to have the Kremlings steal Donkey Kong's Banana Hoard once more, setting the stage for their next adventure.[4]

Unlike their previous journey, Donkey and Diddy are not assisted by any of their fellow Kongs. However, two Animal Friends, Rambi and Expresso, return in certain levels to assist them. Donkey and Diddy only traverse through four worlds; they start their journey in the ship areas of Gangplank Galleon Ahoy!, followed by the underwater ruins of Kremlantis, then the mountainous and sky areas of Monkey Mountains & Chimpanzee Clouds respectively, and lastly the buildings and construction sites of Big Ape City, with a battle against K. Rool at the end.

Donkey and Diddy manage to defeat K. Rool once more, proving themselves also capable of having a successful adventure on a Game Boy.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest artwork

In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong is kidnapped by the Kremlings, and Diddy and his girlfriend Dixie go on an adventure to save him. In the manual's backstory, Donkey Kong was at the beach and had finished the last of his banana milkshake as he relaxed on a beach chair. Just as Donkey was about to take a nap, Cranky approached him and hit Donkey on the head with his cane. He told Donkey not much of a game would result from him sitting around and says to Donkey that he thought he was supposed to be a "big star." Donkey Kong stated that even stars get time off, although Cranky then said that he never got any time off in his heyday. Donkey asks to be left alone and suggests Cranky to go pester Diddy or someone else. As Cranky left, Donkey put a hat over his eyes and dozed to sleep. Donkey did not return home by night, so Diddy and Dixie went to the beach to investigate. There, they found Donkey Kong's chair, broken to pieces, and a note from K. Rool's new alias, Kaptain K. Rool, stating that he has kidnapped Donkey Kong and demanded the Banana Hoard in exchange for his freedom. Diddy refused, so he and Dixie began their journey to rescue Donkey Kong from the Kremlings' home at Crocodile Isle.

Late into their adventure Diddy and Dixie briefly find Donkey in Stronghold Showdown, located at the end of the penultimate world, K. Rool's Keep. He is tied up and hanging from the ceiling, and just as Diddy and Dixie begin to celebrate, Donkey is dragged upward into The Flying Krock. Diddy and Dixie are shocked, and they rush up after him.

In the boss level K. Rool Duel, set within the Flying Krock itself, Diddy and Dixie see Kaptain K. Rool shooting kannonballs from his blunderbuss at Donkey Kong, who is then pulled upward offscreen, starting the battle. This scene is only shown the first time Diddy and Dixie access the boss level. Each time Kaptain K. Rool takes a few hits, Donkey Kong is shown onscreen few seconds before Kaptain K. Rool gets back up. At the end of the battle, as Kaptain K. Rool prepares to blast Diddy and Dixie away, Donkey breaks free of his bonds and uses a powerful uppercut on K. Rool, causing him to fly out of the Flying Krock and down into Crocodile Isle's surrounding waters.

Donkey Kong appears in the ending's Cast of Characters, grouped under Kong Klan with the other Kongs. In it, his name is listed as "Donkey," and he is shown tied up like in Stronghold Showdown and K. Rool Duel.

In the true ending, after Diddy and Dixie defeat Kaptain K. Rool a second time in Krocodile Kore, a scene is shown where Donkey, Diddy, and Dixie watch from a distance as Crocodile Isle sinks into the ocean, although K. Rool manages to escape.

In the Game Boy Advance version, there is an intro cutscene based on the events told within the manual's backstory. One major difference is that the Flying Krock arrives to kidnap Donkey Kong right after Cranky walks away, followed by Klingers sliding down from the Flying Krock and two Kutlasses hacking at Donkey Kong, who is then pulled up into the Flying Krock. There, Donkey is shown tied up from the ceiling (just like in K. Rool Duel) as Kaptain K. Rool says tells him that he will never see his friends or DK Island again. Another difference within the Game Boy Advance version is that Stronghold Showdown does not feature a short cutscene of Donkey Kong being tied up, and instead features a boss fight against Kerozene.

Donkey Kong Land 2

Diddy discovers Donkey in Stronghold Showdown in Donkey Kong Land 2

In Donkey Kong Land 2, the premise is the same as in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest, although it is a lot shorter: Kaptain K. Rool has kidnapped Donkey Kong, demanding the Banana Hoard in exchange for his safe return, and Diddy and Dixie go to rescue him.[5]

Like in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Donkey Kong is first seen tied up in Stronghold Showdown, and there is a cutscene of him being dragged out of the area. A difference is that Donkey Kong is not immediately dragged upward but is instead slowly pulled to the rightmost part of the area before being dragged upward. Another difference is that the Kongs do not show a shocked expression, which is absent from the game, nor are they shown immediately rushing out.

Donkey Kong makes another appearance in K. Rool Duel, and is also tied up from the ceiling. At the start, instead of a brief moment of Kaptain K. Rool beating Donkey Kong and shooting kannonballs at him, Donkey Kong is briefly pulled down onscreen before being pulled back up. This also occurs during a few brief moments where a DK Barrel appears while K. Rool is knocked out. Like in the previous game, Donkey Kong breaks free at the end of the battle and uses a powerful uppercut on Kaptain K. Rool, launching him out of the Flying Krock and into Crocodile Isle's waters.

Unlike Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong Quest, Donkey Kong does not appear in the Cast of Characters, despite having an essential role in the game's plot.

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

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! ending screenshot of Donkey and Diddy, after being released from KAOS

In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, both Donkey and Diddy are kidnapped, this time by KAOS, the leader of Kremling Kreeps.[6] In the manual's backstory, it is mentioned how for months following their most recent victory against the Kremlings, the Kongs would regularly relax on DK Island, with Donkey and Diddy often chilling out on a hammock, listening to music while having a banana milkshake. One day, Donkey and Diddy decided to explore the islands, and Diddy left a short note letting Dixie know that they had gone exploring and that they would return tomorrow. Dixie began to worry, especially when they did not return the following day, and began her journey in search of them. She went to visit Wrinkly at her home, and was told by Wrinkly that Donkey and Diddy had stopped by but did not say they went to. Wrinkly then suggested that Dixie check Funky's Rentals. There, Funky told Dixie that her toddler cousin, Kiddy, was the only visitor that he had all week, and Dixie agrees to take Kiddy along as a sidekick on her journey to find both Donkey and Diddy.[7]

In the game itself, Donkey Kong does not physically appear until Kastle Kaos, where the first boss fight against Baron K. Roolenstein (another alter-ego of K. Rool) takes place. Here, it is discovered that Donkey and Diddy are being used as a power source for his robotic invention, KAOS. When Dixie and Kiddy defeat both K. Rool and KAOS in battle, KAOS breaks down, and Donkey and Diddy are released from the upper opening. Donkey is dizzy and asks what happened, going on to say that one minute he was dreaming about the world's largest pile of bananas and then the next as a "power-crazed madman." Donkey thinks that even Cranky would have been impressed from Dixie and Kiddy's efforts at rescuing them. Cranky then appears in the castle to tell them that he's not really impressed, angering Dixie and Kiddy, who approach him from the left and right side each, presumably to hit him while Donkey and Diddy watch.

The Game Boy Advance version had a tie-in promotional site titled Where is Donkey Kong, which was based on the premise of Dixie and Kiddy searching for Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. One of the site's wallpapers was of a missing poster depicting Donkey Kong's head.

Donkey Kong Land III

In Donkey Kong Land III, although Donkey and Diddy do not appear within the game, they have a role within the game's backstory. In it, both Donkey and Diddy entered a contest to discover the Lost World. Dixie was sad that they did not invite her to participate, so she decided to begin searching for the Lost World as well and took Kiddy along as her sidekick. Dixie and Kiddy managed to discover the Lost World before Donkey and Diddy, and therefore became winners of the contest.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

In Donkey Kong Country Returns and its Nintendo 3DS port, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Donkey Kong discovers that the animals on his own island steal the Banana Hoard, is faced by Kalimba and throws him out starting his journey. He explore the whole island by third time with Diddy to recover all his Bananas again, break the enchantment of the Tikis freeing the enslaved animals, preventing the Tiki army production, destroy the Tiki Tong and get the Orbs in the Key Temples to open the Golden Temple's entrance.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on his birthday, Donkey Kong and the Kong Family are expelled from own island by the Snowmads and discovers that the islands are conquered by them too. So DK along with Diddy, Dixie and Cranky will have to remove the Snowmads from islands first to recover his home, kick out Lord Fredrik with his underlings and get the Relics in the Key Temples from islands to activate the Secret Seclusion.

Donkey Kong 64

In Donkey Kong 64, DK had to recover the Golden Bananas, free his friends, find the Banana Fairies and mainly save his island from the Kremling Krew's bellicose power called Blast-O-Matic. It was on this journey that Donkey Kong received his Coconut Gun by Funky Kong, he was allowed to use his pad by Cranky Kong, received his Bongo Blast by Candy Kong, received the Strong Kong by Cranky Kong, collecting various items with his color code which is yellow, defeating Army Dillo twice to win the keys to K. Lumsy's cage and defeat K. Rool.

DK series

In DK: King of Swing, Donkey Kong explore the whole island for second time to recover all DK Medals which was stolen by K. Rool and save the Jungle Jam Tournament. As playable in the Jungle Jam, his Jump and Attack are 3 out of 5.

In DK: Jungle Climber, DK and his gang find a giant banana on top of Sun Sun Island first. Donkey Kong meet Xananab discovering that K. Rool and his minions stole the 5 crystal bananas from same. He with the help of his nephew Diddy explored the more 4 islands to recover all the Crystal Bananas and save the universe from K. Rool's hands.

Donkey Konga series

In Donkey Konga series, Donkey Kong and his friends make their performances on magic bongos that were found in the beach.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

In Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, DK had to go through several kingdoms to recover his bananas which was stolen by Ghastly King. He freed the Kong Kings from spell, strikes Rocs, fought with Hogs, destroy Tusks and defeated Ghastly King twice.

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

In Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, Donkey Kong is the first selectable playable character. He has well-rounded stats, all of which are 3 out of 5, and has a Kritter as his counterpart. If all 32 of Candy's Challenges have been completed, an upgrade to Donkey Kong is unlocked, Ultra Barrel DK, whose stats are instead all increased to a maximum 5 out of 5.

Appearances in other media

Donkey Kong Country television series

“That"s Donkey Kong, the strongest, brawniest, hippest ape in all of Kongo Bongo. Our protector and future king! Got a lot of muscle mass... But uh, not so much brain mass.”
Cranky Kong, Bad Hair Day

In the Donkey Kong Country television series, Donkey Kong is the main protagonist where he finds the Crystal Coconut on Inka Dinka Doo's temple and was predicted by the same that he would be the future ruler of the Kongo Bongo Island.[8] His job was to protect the coconut from K. Rool with his army and Kaptain Skurvy with his mates.


Main article: List of Donkey Kong quotes


Main article: List of Donkey Kong profiles


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Donkey Kong.

Music themes

Main article: List of Donkey Kong music themes


  1. ^ Shesez (November 22, 2019). The Donkey Kong Country 25th Anniversary Interview Documentary. YouTube. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  2. ^ David Wise on Twitter (retrieved on January 10, 2019)
  3. ^ Playing with Super Power: Nintendo Super NES Classics Prima Games, p. 112 - "THE DK LINEAGE: Super Mario Kart is the only Mario Kart game to feature Donkey Kong Jr. Due to the success of Donkey Kong Country, all future Mario Kart entries featured Donkey Kong, who is actually Donkey Kong Jr.'s son, with Cranky Kong, aka Donkey Kong Sr., canonically being the character featured in the original Donkey Kong game. Make sense, right?"
  4. ^ Donkey Kong Land instruction booklet, pages 2 and 3.
  5. ^ Donkey Kong Land 2 instruction booklet, page 2.
  6. ^ Nintendo Power Magazine Vol. 89, 1996, p. 96 - THE ARMY OF KAOS: No diabolical plan would be complete without a bevy of baddies. KAOS has an army of Kremling kreeps. These fanatical followers will obey any order given by their mechanized master of mayhem."
  7. ^ Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! instruction booklet, pages 4 and 5.
  8. ^ "Kaptain Skurvy:A stupid ape just wandered by and snatched my treasured prize♫" - Booty and the Beast