As the Kongs learn more skills, the controls get necessarily complicated. While the control itself is intuitive, aspects of it do detract from the game. With the exceptions of Diddy and Tiny, the Kongs run slowly. This makes exploration a bit tiresome in levels where that Kongs search for the last golden banana. Fortunately, the game uses teleports to whisk characters from one area to another - but a slight speed boost for the big Kongs would've helped. Otherwise, the responsive control works just fine in most situations. What does fall short - and what is likely the game's biggest flaw - is the camera. This is a game where the enemies and bosses won't kill you, but the camera angles will. This is especially true in some swimming sequences, where the camera flakes out when you're close to walls, and in at least one boss battle, where the camera's fixed location prevents you from seeing the boss half the time - and wild camera swinging makes it a pain to jump accurately. In some cases, when a Kong's behind an object, the camera gets confused and flutters wildly. But 95 percent of the time the camera works decently enough - and since no 3D game has yet to offer a "perfect" camera, it's unfair to hammer this point home. Suffice it to say, the camera is the one aspect of the game that could use improvement, and you will just have to accept the frustrating five percent. The game suffers from other minor flaws. The GoldenEye-type multiplayer mode, while serving up extra gameplay styles such as tag and survival, loses its luster rather quickly. This is mainly because some Kongs move slowly, and there's a woeful lack of weaponry to spice up the destruction. The other multiplayer modes seem a bit too trivial to sustain long-term enjoyment as well.
All flaws aside, strong gameplay reigns throughout Donkey Kong 64, mainly because Rare has preserved the Kongs' cooperative spirit from the 16-bit titles. Simply put, one Kong must complete several tasks (such as activating switches) so other Kongs can complete their quests in that stage. This process gets rather complex in later levels, and you must keep thinking creatively to solve the game's many puzzles. This truly adds to the "cerebral" gameplay aspects, in addition to the jump-and-shoot reflex testing already prevalent in the game's levels.
For those with a high-quality sound system, this game will prove a delight, with the Dolby surround sound effects adding to gameplay - audio clues can help gamers find certain items such as fairies. The audio filters that kick in, such as when a Kong's underwater, are also impressive. Although there's plenty of audio for the intro, it would've been better to add some talking audio for animals or supporting characters within a level, rather than plain text and sound effects.
To best summarize this game is to flip-flop a popular catch phrase of the day: "Don't hate the game, hate the player." Had this game been released with the Nintendo 64's launch, gamers would've gone bananas (sorry, I couldn't resist at least one monkey-related pun) and hailed this game as a gift from the video-game gods. Nowadays, 3D adventures seem to be a dime a dozen, and despite all the exhaustive gameplay Rare has thrown onto this game's plate, jaded players will probably aim "been there, done that" criticism at the title.
That said, this reviewer feels Donkey Kong 64 offers too much solid gameplay to warrant such criticism, even though it's not the technological marvel that Donkey Kong Country had been in its heyday. Those of you who remotely liked Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie will be excited to the point of numbness by this game. However, for those of you averse to the "collect everything" gameplay mentality, this game might come off as a chore to complete. In any case, Donkey Kong 64 has high-quality adventure written all over it - despite its camera flaws - and it gives you many reasons to see the good-guy Kongs thrive in 3D.