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Donkey Kong Country Returns to drive you bananas

This isn't the Donkey Kong you remember from the arcades of the 1980s, the one who tormented Mario from atop scaffolding. No, this is the Kong that Nintendo transformed into a hero in 1994, sending him on a mission to recover stolen bananas in Donkey Kong Country.

The mission has Kong running, hopping and climbing across more than 70 tropical levels. The first few sequences are fairly straightforward. You'll surf on the back of a whale. You'll steer a barely controllable rocket past pirate ships crewed by cannon-firing crabs. In tribute to the '90s games, you'll bounce between exploding barrels and ride carts along roller coaster-like mine tracks.

Also along for the ride are Diddy Kong, a smaller primate whose jet pack helps you glide across wider gaps, and Rambi, a rhinoceros who can crash through most obstacles. So you've got a monkey riding an ape riding a rhino: What more can you ask for?

DKC Returns is so hard, it will cause many players to hurl their controllers in frustration, and it's a battle to simply survive most levels. If you really get stuck, you can ask the game to play itself for a level or two, which sounds lame but at times may be the only way to preserve your sanity.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

RATING E for Everyone

PLOT Kong has to find his stolen bananas

DETAILS Wii, $50

BOTTOM LINE Will delight fans of the big ape

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