DKC Tricks

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DKC1 Introduction Video

(Timestamps for this video can be found in the video's description on the YouTube page)

This video explains most things you need to know before starting to speedrun DKC. The most important part is the beginning section on rolling mechanics.

Alternatively, you can read the text explanation of rolling mechanics in the section below. After that, you can proceed to learn each stage through the level-by-level guides on the main page.

The rest of the video covers specific tricks with a more detailed demonstration than the quick guides below, with tips for consistency and such.

An Introduction to Rolling Monkeys

"Can we get off? I'm feeling a bit dizzy."

Rolling is the meat of this game. It's faster than running or jumping and generally does a better job of dispatching enemies and getting over gaps than the jump alone. To sum up Donkey Kong Country, basically "any time not spent rolling is generally time better spent rolling." DKC speedrunning is primarily based around speeding yourself up through tight maneuvering and tricks to gain speed, so rolling as often as possible and using enemies and the terrain to your advantage is key. As such, knowing enemy placement and how different parts of the stage can affect the Kongs' roll is very important.

"That's a tasty single-file line you have there."

The most basic and important thing to note is that each enemy you roll through will extend the duration of your roll. A long line of enemies can be used to keep you rolling and let you breeze through an area at a much faster speed than running. Additionally, rolling through any amount of enemies will remove the delay when it ends, so you can simply keep moving forward afterwards. Otherwise, you'll need to jump just before the roll ends to avoid a small pause.

Another way to increase a roll's distance is to roll off a platform. The distance you travel is always the same on a normal roll; however, if you fall off an edge, you will keep rolling until you hit the ground (you keep speed while in the air), and the regular length after that. If you time your rolls correctly, you can maintain your speed for a long period of time. When combined with rolling through enemies, this can let you keep rolling through huge portions of a stage. Poorly timed rolls may stop early, however, and falling off a cliff at the very end of one will leave you plummeting straight downwards, so you'll need to be precise to get consistent results.

"I've always dreamed of being faster than the camera."

The duration of the roll isn't the only thing you need to focus on. There are a few different ways to gain speed when rolling through enemies. You will accelerate up to a set max speed when rolling through a series of enemies. Each enemy will increase this max, up to four.

(Diddy | Donkey)

  • Rolling max speed: 1152 | 1024
  • After 1 enemy: 1408 | 1280
  • After 2 enemies: 1664 | 1536
  • After 3 enemies: 1920 | 1792
  • After 4 enemies: 2048 | 2048 (this is the max)

Rolling through a line of enemies not only lets you roll longer, it makes you faster, too. This lies in tandem with another technique: the extended roll, or "extendo." The speed boosts above only apply if you are holding down Y when you roll into the enemy. If you let go of the Y button while you go through them, you will not gain the speed boost right away. If you press Y again before that same roll ends, however, you will not only speed up, you'll also reset the duration of your roll. For example, if you press Y to roll, go through an enemy with the button released, then repress it a moment later, you will gain speed up to 1408. This does not work if you roll through multiple enemies with the button released, though—for an optimal extendo through multiple enemies, you typically want to hold down Y while rolling through all but the last one. (Some very difficult strategies actually involve multiple extendos in one roll!)

Extended rolling lets us do two things: Firstly, it lets us control when we gain speed during a roll. Because rolling only lasts for a short period of time, doing an extendo will ultimately make you faster, because you increase the time spent rolling, and speed up during the second half. However, this does not apply if you have to interrupt your roll early—with a jump to reach a platform, for example. In that case, you want to keep Y held down to get your speed boost right away, since you won't be able to keep it for long. Ergo, extended rolling is generally only faster when doing so allows you to roll longer.

Secondly, extended rolls can let the Kongs cross much wider gaps than usual. If you release Y through a couple of enemies, then repress it right on a ledge (or sometimes even after you leave the ground), you will blast forward with a new roll at a much faster speed and be able to clear large gaps with ease. This is used pretty heavily in DKC, as you will be able to maintain rolls much longer when you don't have to jump across every gap. It also allows you to skip some slow-moving obstacles that the game expects you to use, such as ropes and tire platforms.

"I'm worried my youngest chimp won't ever learn to fly."

The last important rolling mechanic is a glitch called the jumproll (a.k.a. the dankspin, comfy cozy spin, monkey flip, etc). Essentially, when you execute a roll on the same frame that you land on an enemy, the game bugs out and sends the Kongs flying—literally. Upon performing the glitch, Diddy and Donkey spin in the air as if they were just shot out of a barrel cannon. This continues indefinitely until you cancel it (by jumping or sometimes rolling), run into a Zinger, or touch the ground. It also stops if you run into an object that takes over your control of the Kongs, such as a mine cart or barrel. The jumproll can save massive amounts of time in some stages, but it typically requires an enemy to be near a ledge in order to execute, and is only useful in a few levels. It can also be combined with another glitch, the Superjump, to perform a Super Jumproll: an infinite jump + infinite roll combo.

A Summary of DKC Speedrunning (tl;dr)

  • Rolling is the primary form of movement in DKC speedruns, and you generally want to be rolling as much as possible.
  • While rolling, instead of a fixed speed, you accelerate continuously until your roll ends. Rolling through enemies increases your speed gain for each hit, up to four max.
  • If you roll through an enemy, you will keep running at the end of it. Otherwise, you must jump right before the roll stops in order to not lose speed.
  • A simple way to improve when you're new is to record your play and look for spots you've been simply running and try fitting in an extra roll, or starting your rolls throughout the stage sooner. Try beginning with the techniques in the "safe strat" videos, and add more movement from the optimal videos as you improve.
  • Extended rolling lets you increase your roll length and tends to be faster if you are able to keep rolling through the whole duration.
  • If you have to jump out of a roll, and you can reach the jump without an extendo, it's faster to just do a regular roll, because you don't gain speed while Y is released.
  • You can chain multiple "extendos" in a single roll if there are enough enemies. This chaining is the key to optimizing movement throughout the game.


Example of an extendo
Example of a jumproll

Other Speed Tricks

Fanfare Skip

By pressing A, B, X or Y (not start) during the Kongs' victory dance on the map, you can end it about 2 seconds earlier. This only works in US versions 1.0 and 1.1.

Fast exit

Let go of right until you are well into the level's exit, and then repress once you are past the walking trigger. In realtime runs, this only saves time in mine stages (Stop & Go Station and Misty Mine).

Animal Buddy Fast Start

Example of Enguarde Fast Start

When mounting Enguarde, press up and B right before landing on him to get a faster start. This also works with other animal buddies on land. Fall in the direction you want to go instead of straight down. The speed you have when you mount an animal buddy is the speed they start moving at.

Enguarde Invisibility Frames

Clipping Example

This trick allow you to pass through enemies with proper timing. Seen in:Coral Capers and Poison Pond.

Barrel Boost

If you jump from a slope while holding a barrel, you can gain a considerable amount of speed and distance. This can be done in a 1-frame window on most edges, but it is easier on the slopes in snow-themed stages.

Really Gnawty Damage Boost

Boss Damage Boost

If you run a Kong into Really Gnawty, the World 4 boss, while he's laughing, you can skip his next high-jump cycle. This is used at the end in some categories to skip his longest, four-jump cycle.

Invisible Barrel/Bonus Warp

Example of Invisible Barrel

The Invisible Sprite glitch can be used to scramble the warp destination of a bonus door. It is used in Any%, Old Summon, Reverse Boss Order some other categories to skip stages. The key to reaching the correct stage when bonus warping is to follow a certain path to the bonus and throw at the correct position. Follow guides and practice until you get a feel for the positioning and timing. Incorrect movement can load objects onscreen in the wrong order and make the trick not work.

Technical explanation: There are three methods to hold an invisible barrel. 1. By throwing a barrel and picking it back up, (easiest to bounce a steel keg off a wall) then breaking a floating barrel. You can use a checkpoint or floating DK barrel. Break the floating barrel from below or to the side so the barrel you're holding is close to the floating barrel when it breaks. The barrel you were holding will be destroyed, but your Kong will still act as if they are holding an object. 2. If you have two Kongs active with the split-up glitch, you can pick up a barrel with both Kongs at the same time. You have to make one of the Kongs do something that would normally drop a barrel, such as breaking it against an enemy or bonus wall, or bouncing on something like an enemy or animal crate. You must hold Y while doing this so your other Kong doesn't also drop their barrel. 3. Like in method 2, pick up the same barrel with both Kongs using split-up glitch, but drop one Kong into a pit to kill them. Before the game death-warps you out of the stage, break open a DK barrel, retrieving your backup Kong. (If the barrel you are using as your invisible barrel setup is a DK barrel, you can throw it once the other Kong has died.) Your backup Kong now has an invisible barrel stored. Hold Y and swap Kongs, and they will be still holding that invisible barrel.

Once you've successfully setup the invisible barrel, this frees up the object "slot" in RAM that the barrel was loaded into. The game will now treat this as an empty slot and will load and unload objects into it (such as enemies, bonus doors, other barrels, etc). As you walk through the stage holding this "invisible barrel" the game will treat whatever object is in that slot the way it would treat a barrel being carried. This is why having consistent movement and timing is necessary when abusing this trick in a speedrun. What object you are "holding" is dependent on what order object are spawned onscreen).

The properties of objects in DKC are different based on what object is being affected. Every stage entrance (stage start, checkpoints, bonus rooms, and the location you're returned to when coming back to a stage from a bonus). Every bonus door has two stage entrances assigned to it. One tells the game where to warp you when you enter that door, this is the bonus itself. The other tells the game where to return you to if you win, take damage, or otherwise exit a bonus. This second value is stored in the same memory array that stores the information of where a barrel should be in relation to the Kong holding it. This value changes at different points in the holding, placing-down, and throwing animations, and there are different values for Donkey and Diddy. Whatever this value is when you enter the bonus, is the entrance you will be warped to. It is only possible to warp to some stages this way, and some are different depending on what version of the game you are running. Attempting to warp to some stage entrances will crash the game (Candy, Cranky or Funky entrances being some examples).

Dual Exit Warp

By exiting a bonus twice, you will change the destination of the warp. This is possible in two bonuses in 3-4, by taking damage as Diddy while the screen is still fading in, and then dying with Donkey as well. It is also possible to exit a bonus with one Kong immediately before breaking open a DK barrel while you have the split-up glitch active, and then exiting with your newly active Kong as well. This is frame perfect. Any% uses an invisible barrel in 3-5 to change the return value of a bonus that has a throwable DK barrel inside it. Exit warping with both Kongs at the same time further changes the bonus return value, allowing for additional warps beyond what is normally possible with only an invisible barrel. This is how it is possible to warp to 6-2. Reverse Boss Order also uses this to warp to 5-3, which is only possible by using both and invisible barrel warp and dual exit warp.

Invisible Animal/Warp

Using split-up glitch, you can ride a single animal buddy with both Kongs at the same time. It is possible to take your Kongs far enough away from the animal buddy object to despawn that animal offscreen. From this point, you will be riding an "invisible animal". This allows you to wrong warp, but only takes you to 1-1 or can kill you, so it has limited uses in speedruns. If you try to jump while a different object is loaded into the memory slot the animal was previously in, you are able to corrupt memory (much the same way as with an invisible barrel as seen above). If you dismount or take damage while riding a bonus door, you will open the door and move it to your location. However, if you push B in this state, you will change the bonus return value much the same way you would with the invisible barrel glitch, but the game will always send you back to 1-1. Beware, if you are riding a bonus door and jump to change the bonus return value, but try to move left or right without dismounting your invisible animal, you will corrupt the stage layout and fall through the floor to your death.

Controlling Two Kongs (Split-up Glitch)

Kong Storage
Follow-Up

This glitch is used for Perils Skip to wrong warp out of the stage, and during the any% bonus warp to further scramble the location of the bonus exit in order to reach World 6. When you throw the DK barrel with only one Kong and exit the stage via start+select, you interrupt the Kong's appearance. This will cause a softlock if you get hit at any point, as the game will hang waiting for your other character. However, you can circumvent this by getting hit over a pit, which will will cause your Kong to fall below the death plane and put you back on the map screen. After getting damaged and falling into a pit, the game expects your second Kong to be in control. As a result, when you actually do get your second Kong, you will end up in control of both of them.

Fast Crawlspace

Bouncy Bonanza

If you jump as you enter a crawlspace, you can stay in the air as you go through it. If you remain crouching after your first jump, you can continue to jump freely. Note that rolling beforehand is not required to perform the trick; it just makes it easier.

Seen in: Reptile Rumble, Bouncy Bonanza and Elevator Antics.

Advanced Fast Crawlspace

Reptile Rumble

If you roll while crouching in a crawlspace, you will be pushed out of the wall towards the nearest exit. This is known in most speedruns as a zip. In order to zip to the opposite side, you'll need to make sure you jump as far as possible into the crawlspace before rolling.

Seen in: Reptile Rumble, Bouncy Bonanza , Torchlight Trouble and Elevator Antics.

Tire Roll

When you land on a tire, you can roll off the edge before it makes you bounce. You must be on the edge of the tire for this to work. The easiest way to execute a tire roll is to land directly on the edge and press Y just before you land.

Seen in: Bouncy Bonanza, Tree Top Town, Temple Tempest, Rope Bridge Rumble, Oil Drum Alley, Mine Cart Madness, Blackout Basement, Loopy Lights and Platform Perils.

Rope Scaling

Forest Frenzy
Slipslide Ride

To climb above the screen while holding onto a rope, hold down and press B. Repeatedly pressing B will cause you to go higher. Releasing down will cause you to be pushed back into the camera.

Seen in: Forest Frenzy and Slipslide Ride.

Super Jump

super jump setup
example of super jump

The Super Jump is performed by getting hit near a wall and retrieving the Kong that died, then sacrificing the other Kong and immediately landing on an enemy. When you get hit near a wall, your Kong will infinitely jump up to the sky instead of just running off screen. After this, you must get hit with your other Kong close to where you started. When you get hit with the other Kong, you will automatically jump in the air. If you immediately land on an enemy, you will be able to control the infinite jump. You must hold B while you are landing on the enemy (hidden item mounds also work). You will keep gaining height indefinitely until you release B. You can also hold Y to increase your airspeed.

More Superjump info

Currently not used in any speedruns, but the superjump is stored until you jump. Not press b, big difference. If you can somehow repress b without jumping (like when you switch kongs) the superjump will still work for you. It is also important to note that the superjump only works on things you can bounce off of (i.e. enemies, animal crates, etc.)

Superjump off an animal crate

Map Warp

Example of the map warp

example of the map warp

While walking across corners between stages on the map, you can trick the game into making you enter a stage by pressing A, B, X, Y or Start on the same frame you reach the corner. These corners only exist in World 1, and they all send you to Orang-utan Gang, with the exception of the second one, which just sends you back to the second stage. When you reach that corner, your Kong stops in place for one frame. So if you happen to be pressing a button when you reach it, the game thinks you're trying to enter a stage and puts you somewhere. If you have two Kongs on the map, however, this won't work, as the Kong behind you is still moving. To do this trick with two Kongs, you must be in Funky's barrel, so that they are together in the same sprite.

Jumproll

As explained in the introduction at the top of the page, the jumproll is an infinite-flying trick that is performed by starting a roll on the same frame that you bounce on an enemy. In order to be able to perform the jumproll, you will need to be in a situation where you can bounce on an enemy while still on the ground. This is usually done when an enemy is right next to a ledge, but can also be done on a tire or while airborne during the Mine Cart Madness mid-air rolling glitch.

You will need to press Y on the same frame that you land on the enemy in order to execute the jumproll, and then immediately release it. Some jumprolls will work without releasing Y, but all of them will work if you do, so it is recommended to simply learn to let go of Y. During the jumproll, you are immune to all enemies except for bees. Touching the ground, however, will immediately end the jumproll. Additionally, you can roll out of the jumproll, but only if you see two "explosions" (the red/white bursts that appear when you hit an enemy) when you land the jumproll. Otherwise, you will need to jump out to end the trick.

Here's a video where Rainbow elaborates on a few specific jumprolls:

Jumproll tutorial

Super Jumproll (SJR)

Super Jumproll tutorial

Super Free Roll (SFR)

Like the Super Jumproll, but without the frame-perfect Jumproll. Start by storing a superjump. After taking damage and holding B to activate a superjump, bounce off of an enemy. As long as you haven't touched the ground since you took damage, you can grab a vertical rope. Once you grab a rope, keep holding B the whole time, and press and hold down to float down from the rope. Touch ground on your way down from the rope, then (while still holding B) roll off a cliff and you will start floating upwards while still rolling. Like the super jumproll, you want to hit as many enemies as possible to gain speed (max speed at 4 enemies). Like the superjump and super jumproll, you will gain height as long as you hold B, and will begin falling when you release B.

  • It is not possible to do a damageless SFR. You have to bounce on an enemy after taking damage. Don't touch the ground at this point or you will be unable to grab ropes.
  • If you're far above the rope, you have to let go of down and you will warp to the top of the visible part of the rope
Misty Mine SFR

Instabounce

It is possible to use the freezeframes of a DK barrel opening to instantly bounce on an enemy as soon as you take damage from that enemy. Doing this will allow you to grab ropes and is optimal for a faster Super Free Roll in most cases. It does eat your next Y input so you have to either crouch when you land from the rope, or let go and repress Y at some point in the air (not on the rope).

Instabounce Example

Boss DK Barrel Skip

There is a 3 frame window at the beginning of every boss (including K Rool) where you can groundpound/slapslide with Donkey and avoid picking up the DK barrel. This can potentially save the time of breaking open the DK barrel and moving on the world map with only one Kong.

  • Doing this trick against World 5 Boss, Dumb Drum, will softlock your game.
  • You do not have to slapslide. (which is frame-perfect) A regular ground slap will work. Simply hold down and press (or mash) Y during the fade-in of a boss battle.

Miscellaneous Glitches

Clone Kong

While riding a steel keg past an animal buddy, press and hold B and Y to ride them. Releasing Y will cause the animal buddy to turn into a glitched version of your current Kong. You can immediately repress Y to keep your run speed.

Slap Slide

Press down + left/right and Y on the same frame with Donkey Kong in order to slide as you slap the ground. This does not change the effect of the slap itself. The D-pad takes a bit longer to register an input, so you'll need to press the direction a moment before the button in order to get the timing right. (left/right can be held before starting, but down and Y must be pressed on the same frame)