Play or Pass: God of War II and Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2

Welcome to the next post in my year-long series “Play or Pass” that takes on the proverbial “must before death” theme with video games. Every other week I will be covering one or two games from “32 Video Games You Have To Play Before You Die,” a list compiled by BuzzFeed based on a reader poll. I will not be critiquing the list itself, but rather I’ll be discussing each game or games in whatever manner feels fitting and will attempt to answer a couple simple questions: Have I played [insert game name here]? If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why? If no, do I want to play the game before I die? I’ll be going through the games in the order in which they appear on the BuzzFeed list. Good? Good. Let’s get on with the games!

Week twelve: (15) God of War II and (16) Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2

So up first this week is yet another hack n’ slash: God of War II.


Funny since we just talked about Diablo II a couple weeks ago, only this time round I have a little more experience. Well, a dash more, sort of. A smidge? A pinch? Okay…maybe none. See, the closest I’ve ever come to a God of War game is through watching one. I can’t remember which one…it was the one with all the sex. Was that 2? Or 3? Or all of them? Whichever one it was, it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. What with Kratos and his insane weapons stash set against a beautiful world based in Greek mythology. I mean, Clash of the Titans (from 1981, not whatever-the-shit came out in 2010) and Jason and the Argonauts are two of my most favorite movies, so God of War was good to go with me.

Regardless of whatever God of War game I watched, my understanding is that God of War 2 built nicely upon the foundations of the first game in a way that made it both enjoyable and compelling. However, personally…taking it back to my GoW viewing party…I don’t know that I found Kratos very intriguing. Maybe I’m not giving him a fair shot, but my thought then was that you could stick any beefy guy with outrageous weapons in his place and still have the same game. Thinking about similar titles, would Devil May Cry be the same with Dante? Would Bayonetta be the same without Bayonetta? I don’t think so on both counts. (And there’s likely no comparison to the likes of Diablo, either.)

That said, I feel like the biggest reason to play a God War game is for the mythological setting. It’s both visually arresting and educational! I know I like that combination with my games. (No really, I do.) So even if Kratos is a hunky blank slate (and maybe he’s not), he’s just a means of transportation. The game’s worth lies outside of him and his giant deltoids.

Have I played God of War 2?

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
I think playing a God of War Game is probably a must. It has become a pretty iconic series.

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?

Going from being a complete badass to being king of the jungle is an odd transition. At least it is to me. Because I don’t know if any set of games lay on opposite ends of the spectrum than a God of War game and Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2.



Thankfully though, the DKC games are ones that I can reasonably discuss. I have played both; I have loved both. Both games remain way up on the pedestal of fantastic gaming experiences of my past. I’ve written about both games here before, so I’m going profess my love for these lovely, lovely games by self-servingly quoting myself. First, from my post on Donkey Kong Country:

DKC was more than the sum of its secrets.  It was a 16-bit game that stood out in the late 90s growing sea of 32-bit games, and it probably helped the SNES hold the line against the likes of the Playstation and Saturn.  DKC was just as good if not better looking than some 32-bit games, and the game was just hands-down enjoyable.

And then from my post on Donkey Kong Country 2:

Rare hit the sequel ball out of the park with the grand slam that was DKC2. Back were Rare’s beautiful, colorful, signature graphics. The basic mechanics of DKC also returned, which were fun in the first game and fantastic in the next. From banana collecting to finding secret areas to gathering special items, there was plenty of exciting jumping, swinging, and enemy-bashing to go around. DKC2 also had some new minigames, which added to the game’s appeal. I had an especially wonderful time playing as Dixie with her great jumping ability and twirly ponytail that could be used to either slow a long fall, hang onto hooks, and hurl barrels at enemies.

If you don’t believe me when I say that the DKC games are brilliant and wonderful and enjoyable, then, as LeVar Burton once said, don’t take my word for it. Play them for yourself. Or, just head over to United We Game’s YouTube channel where The Duck of Indeed has posted and is posting to a DKC playlist. (I’d say *hint hint wink wink,* but I’m pretty sure we’re all grownups here. Just be a man and click the damn links.)

Words seem to lose all meaning when I think of DKC 1 and 2, except for the ones that form the sentence “YOU and “SHOULD” and “PLAY” and “THESE” and “GAMES.”

Have I played Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2?
Yes, both.

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
I heartily concur with BuzzFeed readers that they are both, equally, must-play games. Not only did they propel 3D platforming in to the stratosphere, but they also helped further prove that the Nintendo 64 was no slouch of a console.

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?
N/A, though it’d be cool to play them again before I sleep with the fishes, see.


  1. The Donkey Kong games are visually impressive for their time, but I found the platforming to be a bit frustrating. Haven’t played the GOW games.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the DKC games are by no means perfect. But there’s such a good rhythm to the levels that even the most frustrating situations don’t seem all that insurmountable.(Unlike in Mario and Rayman when some things seems completely impossible to do.) However, I say that without having tried the games again recently. I should give them a go and see if I change my tune.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve played the God of War games and loved them, though I get the thing about Kratos not being an intriguing character. Though I have a feeling the upcoming game will fix that up nicely. Not sure how I feel about the gameplay change though.
    DKC is definitely a must play classic. I need to get around to it someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the new God of War game looks to improve greatly upon Kratos’s own story. That alone sounds very intriguing.

      I honestly do recommend that everyone try out DKC. It’s one of those games that either hooks you in or turns you off immediately. It’s absolutely worth a shot no matter how things turn out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very happy with how highly you think of DKC. That series is one of the pinnacles of platform gaming for me, with DKC2 being one of my favorite sidescrollers. You hit the nail on the head on what makes DKC2 so brilliant.

    As for God of War, I have the first game, but have yet to finish it. Like you, I’d like to go through the rest of the series at some point, especially with the new game coming out.

    Keep it up with your Play or Pass articles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, and I shall endeavor to do so! 🙂

      One of the things that makes the DKC games so great is that they are really fun and challenging without being overly-difficult. Like, in many Mario games, there are levels that are difficult only for the sake of being difficult, and that’s not cool. I hate it when a game makes you feel like you’re doing okay and then pulls the rug out from under those good feelings. DKC is all about feeling good all the time while playing!

      Liked by 1 person

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