DKL Tricks & Movement
- 1 Basic Movement
- 2 Rolling
- 3 Other Mechanics
Both characters have essentially identical stats in terms of their basic movement and collision properties. The main differences between the Kongs is how they hold barrels, and DK's ability to stomp Krusha and Army. For this latter reason, and because DK starts in front, and because swapping or taking damage costs a lot of time, Diddy is ideally never used during the run and the entire game is played by DK. Therefore DK will be referenced as the main character throughout this page, however note that almost everything applies to Diddy as well.
- Walk - 86
- Run - 144
- Walk Jump - 86
- Run Jump - 104
- Walk Roll - 106 (+30)
- Run Roll - 144 (+0)
- Bounce - 144
- Carry Barrel - 124
Typical movement priority is: Run = Bounce > (Run) Roll > Carry Barrel > (Run) Jump > "Slow" (Walk) Roll > Walk Jump = Walk
Run Speed Persistence (RSP)
After rolling you gain a "buff" which will hereby be referred to as Run Speed Persistence (RSP). While RSP is active, you can release B and continue running for 20 frames. Actions taken during this time will behave as if you are running, meaning rolls and jumps will be running speed. The 20 frame timer begins to count down when RSP is activated, that is, when the B button is released during a run. If you land from a running jump and continue moving, RSP will activate and you will run even if B is released before landing. Releasing B while standing still does not activate RSP and it can be maintained while walking. The 20 frame timer can be refreshed by rolling again.
Since bouncing is the same horizontal speed as running, it is advantageous to use bounce chains across enemies whenever possible, especially when traversing ascending or descending platforms in order to avoid jumping. DK's collision is quite generous and many enemies can be bounced by running into them and jumping immediately before contact, hitting them on the way up. This is easiest with Kritter, Hogwash, Krusha (DK only) and Army (DK only). It is possible but difficult with Gnawty and Necky, and even more difficult with Slippa and Klaptrap.
When landing from a normal jump onto a regular platform, you go through a brief "landing" animation where you are grounded and able to jump again, but have not yet regained running speed. This landing sequence has some funny behavior. It is possible to buffer rolls slightly before and during the landing animation, but these rolls will always be slow rolls regardless of whether RSP is active or not. Then there is 1 frame where roll inputs always get eaten. Following that, you will be considered grounded and will be able to regain running speed. You also go through the landing animation after running off a platform, since this fall is considered to be a jump rather than an "air-run" as it is in other Donkey Kong games. You cannot be damaged by enemies while landing - jumping while inside them grants consistent uppercuts.
Landing on entities causes you to immediately become grounded, skipping the landing animation and letting you run immediately. This also happens when you land after bouncing enemies or getting blasted out of barrel cannons.
Snap to Platform
Standable entities like moving platforms and oil drums have a tendency to "pull" you up as you jump up from below, making this a consistent way to land on them.
It is possible to "coyote" jump midair after running off a platform, even if you didn't roll. This is usually slower and less useful than rolling off the platform, so it isn't intentionally used in many places, but it can be used as a backup. Coyote jumping is not possible for a brief period of time after landing, so it may not be able to save you on small platforms.
Rolling is not as central to the movement in this game as it is in other DK games. However, roll behavior is somewhat complicated. Rolling from running (typically using RSP) is the same speed as running, and no speed is gained for hitting enemies. This is the most normal/useful type of roll, so for the rest of this document, "rolling" will refer to run-rolling by default. Rolls create 1 freeze frame at the start and end of the roll, therefore losing 2 frames over just running, and 1 freeze frame each time an enemy is hit. Therefore, rolling is typically preferred over jumping, including running off platforms and falling, but not preferred when simply running forward or bouncing enemies is an option.
Avoiding dead rolls in this game is very simple - just hold B until the end of the roll. This rule is active regardless of whether enemies are hit, whether DK starts a roll from standing, walking or running, and whether or not it is a slow roll. However, if you hit an enemy and have an extended roll available, you can release B to end the roll without extending and without dead rolling.
Rolls can only be extended on the end frame. If you hit an enemy during a roll, you can extend the roll once by holding B on the end frame. If you release B during the roll, you can re-press it before the end frame. The roll can be extended again by hitting another enemy after the first extension. Hitting two enemies during one roll segment does not allow the roll to extend twice. Rolls also extend if you are airborne on the end frame. If you hit an enemy and gain an extension, then becomes airborne during the first end frame, the roll will extend in the air and the extension will be preserved until the next end frame.
Rolls get extended when enemies are hit - but they don't need to be hit by the roll itself. You can throw a steel barrel in front of you and roll, and each time it hits an enemy an extension is granted. Bonus coins and banana bundles also count as "enemies" and grant extended rolls when they are collected, but other collectibles such as KONG letters, single bananas and floating DK barrels don't do this.
Rolling from walking gives a slow roll, which is only slightly faster than jumping. To avoid slow rolling, you must roll from a run, which is usually done using RSP. It's also possible to get a frame-perfect fast roll on the first frame you land from a run jump, even if RSP isn't active. Since RSP is not active at the start of a level, the first roll in a level and after any transition will always be a slow roll unless you get a frame-perfect roll out of a jump. Finding a spot in the level to "burn your slow roll" to activate RSP is usually an important factor to consider during routing, since slow rolling in the wrong location can lose time or lead to damage or death. It's usually easy to maintain RSP for the remainder of the level, so you typically only have to slow roll once.
Boosted Slow Roll
Full speed rolls cannot gain speed, but slow rolls can. Each enemy hit adds 30 speed, up to a maximum of 168. The speed boost is only applied on the end frame, not applied if the run ends in the air, and can only be applied once per roll segment. Therefore to reach a speed of 166 it is necessary to hit an enemy, extend the roll and get the boost, then hit another enemy and extend the roll again. The third enemy hit in sequence will bring the roll speed up by 2 to the max speed of 168 and the roll will not gain more speed for any subsequent hits. If RSP is active before starting the roll, the maximum speed will be 144 instead. Jumping out of a boosted slow roll still counts as a walking speed jump.
Vertical speed is set to 0 when landing, however, rolling and running around on platforms does not reset vertical speed. When you roll off a platform, your vertical speed will begin to increase as you fall. If you land on a lower platform during the roll your vertical speed will not be reset. If you roll off another ledge, even after starting a fresh roll, your vertical speed will initiate at whatever value it was previously, causing you to fall immediately instead of "floating" off. Roll fall can be negated by landing (from a jump or by running off a platform and falling), standing on entities like moving platforms, or picking up barrels - these actions reset vertical speed to 0.
If you fall for long enough during a roll, the game will no longer let you jump out of the roll. The only way to regain control is by landing on a platform.
It is possible to store negative (upwards) vertical speed while rolling. To set this up, you must press B to buffer a roll during the landing animation, then press A exactly one frame after the B press. The jump input will be eaten, but you will be assigned negative vertical speed which will not be reset when the roll ends. The next time you roll off a ledge, including if you reach a ledge with the initial roll, the negative speed will be applied and you will go high into the air. It's possible to jump out of this roll while ascending or shortly after reaching the apex of the superjump, before the roll gets stuck.
Taking damage is incredibly slow and should be avoided at all costs. While the damaged Kong is getting knocked back he is still considered to be active, meaning he can interact with certain entities like bananas. If you take damage while jumping, the platform or entity you jumped from must still be on screen, or you have to land on something - otherwise, the game will kill you even if you have a DK barrel.
If you fall off the bottom of the screen faster than the camera you will die, even if there is more level below you. Holding A while jumping helps the camera stick to you, which can significantly mitigate this. In any%, this mechanic is used to intentionally die at the end of Deck Trek, in order to reenter from the checkpoint and grab the TNT barrel again (it's actually used twice in Deck Trek, since dying out of the level the second time is faster than completing it, which is not required in this category).
You will always pick up barrels if you run into them while holding B, but you can roll through them to pass without picking them up. You can also release B, run through the barrel with RSP, then press B while already on top of the barrel and you will roll instead of picking it up. DK barrels do not persist after dying to pits - if this happens, you will need to find your buddy again.
Rambi travels at running speed (144), but does not slow down when jumping or hitting enemies. This makes him optimal when he is available - most notably in Jungle Jinx. Rambi accelerates very slowly, so it is best to jump on to him with speed when possible to transfer your speed to him. Expresso functions exactly the same as Rambi but with wings - he can plow through and bounce off enemies, and also fly. Unfortunately, animal buddies cannot be carried through bonus transitions.
After defeating a boss, the fadeout is tied to the music. Therefore you can swap characters for free without losing any time. This can be useful if you got hit and have Diddy in front - you can wait to finish the boss to swap back to DK for free.
In the water levels, there are a few specific sharks and clownfish who can randomly go up or down, and for some of these fish predicting its path is necessary to pass without slowing down. Fortunately, there is an easy pattern to remember - watch the direction of the first clownfish in Kremlantis. All other "random" fish during the current run will go the same direction, including those in the other water levels.
With a pixel-perfect, subpixel dependent position, it is possible to jump up through the ceiling barriers above the ropes in Deck Trek and Riggin' Rumble. For DK the position depends closely on his X and Y subpixels. However, Diddy's collision is actually smaller for these purposes and the setup is much more lenient for him. For Diddy, the X subpixel does not matter, and the Y subpixel only has to be greater than 32, meaning there is a 7 in 8 chance of Diddy being able to get the clip assuming a "random" subpixel. If his subpixel is too low (subposition is too high), it's possible to clip from 1 pixel lower, but there's no way to know if this is the case without viewing the memory. Unfortunately, subpixels are not reset between levels and there is no known way to consistently manipulate them, so this mechanic is not RTA reliable for DK. Fortunately, all useful clips can be bypassed with superjumps, which are generally faster and more consistent to set up, and work equally well for DK.
It is possible for Diddy to get launched by Krusha by jumping on him and turning around before landing on him, but this technique is not well understood.