King K. Rool
|King K. Rool|
|Donkey Kong character|
King K. Rool as he appears in DK: Jungle Climber
|First game||Donkey Kong Country (1994)|
|Created by||Rare, Nintendo|
|Designed by||Steve Mayles|
|Voiced by (English)||Chris Sutherland (Donkey Kong 64)
Benedict Campbell (animated series)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Toshihide Tsuchiya (Donkey Kong series, Mario series)
Jūrōta Kosugi (animated series)
King K. Rool (Japanese: キングクルール Hepburn: Kingu Kurūru) is a fictional character and the main antagonist of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong video game franchise. K. Rool is the leader of a band of reptilian creatures known as the Kremlings, who have crossed paths with the Kongs on many occasions. First appearing in the 1994 video game Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, he has been described as being “to Donkey Kong what Bowser is to Mario.” He is depicted as a crazed Kremling who often feigns defeat in order to deceive the Kongs, tricks them by wearing different costumes, and utilizes a variety of gadgets to his advantage. K. Rool resembles an overweight crocodile with an infected, bulging eye. The name “K. Rool” is a play on the word “cruel”, a nod to his malevolent nature. In addition to video games, K. Rool has appeared in the manga adaption of Donkey Kong Country, the Donkey Kong Country animated series, comics, and several pieces of Nintendo merchandise.
In his debut appearance, King K. Rool is depicted an obese Kremling who wears a red cape, golden wristbands, a golden belly plate, and a gold crown. He was designed by Steve Mayles, an artist at Rare and brother of designer Gregg Mayles. In later appearances, K. Rool’s attire changes depending on which persona he’s masquerading as. His aliases include Kaptain K. Rool, Baron K. Roolenstein, and King Krusha K. Rool. K. Rool has also been seen piloting a variety of vessels, including Gangplank Galleon, a large pirate ship in Donkey Kong Country, the Flying Kroc, a steampunk inspired flying machine in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, and the Knautilus, a fish-shaped submarine in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble!.
In Paon’s contributions to the Donkey Kong franchise, K. Rool has been given a more cartoony appearance. His golden belly plate is now tan-colored skin, his tail has been removed, and his crown is much smaller. This incarnation of K. Rool also makes an appearance in Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii, wearing Maya king attire and wielding a green sceptre.
K. Rool is described as being “demented” and “unbalanced” in his Super Smash Bros. Melee trophy description, citing his desire to blow up DK Isles in Donkey Kong 64. In a former Rareware.com scribes column, Gregg Mayles stated that K. Rool’s motivation for stealing the banana hoard is that he wants Donkey Kong to starve to death so that he can occupy his "cosy treehouse pad," or perhaps that he simply likes bananas. The latter explanation is contradicted in DK: Jungle Climber, as K. Rool states that he hates bananas.
Donkey Kong Country
King K. Rool appears in Donkey Kong Country as the final boss. Here he steals the Kongs' banana hoard and must be fought on his pirate ship, Gangplank Galleon. This ship later appears as the introduction stage of Donkey Kong Country 2, and again as a sunken ship in Donkey Kong 64. During this battle, K. Rool attempts to punish the Kongs by running into them, jumping on them from above, tossing his crown, and summoning a downpour of cannonballs, presumably from the ship’s mast. Halfway through the battle, K. Rool feigns defeat, causing the game’s “Kredits” to roll. This is an attempt to deceive the player, as he gets back up soon after and must be jumped on a few more times before the battle truly ends.
Donkey Kong Country 2
In Donkey Kong Country 2, K. Rool is given the “Kaptain” moniker and kidnaps Donkey Kong. He wears a pirate costume resembling that of real pirates during the Elizabethan era, complete with a large black hat, frilly robe, and a blunderbuss as his weapon of choice. This disguise compliments the pirate motif of Donkey Kong Country 2. The Kongs confront Kaptain K. Rool aboard the Flying Krock, a flying machine that hovers above Crocodile Isle. During this battle, they must avoid an onslaught of cannonballs and toxic gases that can either reverse the player’s controls, slow them down, or briefly stun them.
Kaptain K. Rool is fought a second time in Krokodile Kore, a volcano located in the Lost World of Crocodile Isle. To gain access to this level, players must collect every bonus token and present them to Klubba, a muscular Kremling who guards the Lost World, which is heavily implied to be the Kremlings' place of origin. After K. Rool is defeated once more, a cutscene takes place showing Crocodile Isle exploding against a sunset, with the Kong family observing from a nearby cliff.
Donkey Kong Country 3
Following the events of Donkey Kong Country 2, K. Rool goes into hiding due to the destruction of Crocodile Isle. This time he kidnaps both Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, imprisons the Queen Banana Bird, and heads to the Northern Kremisphere. Here he resides in Kastle Kaos, and takes on the role as a mad scientist, known as Baron K. Roolenstein. He tricks the heroes Dixie Kong and Kiddy Kong into believing that he has been defeated and KAOS, a Frankenstein-esque robot, is responsible for kidnapping the other Kongs. Once they reach the castle, they’re shocked to learn that K. Rool has been the true mastermind behind the plot. He states that, “I’d have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling kids”, an obvious reference to Scooby-Doo.
Baron K. Roolenstein is battled twice; first in Kastle Kaos, and again in the Knautilus, a submarine that is located in this game’s hidden world, Krematoa. The name Krematoa is likely derived from the volcanic island Krakatoa. During both boss fights, K. Rool utilizes electricity and technology to torment the Kongs. After being defeated for a second time, K. Rool is chased around the North Kremisphere by the Queen Banana Bird.
Donkey Kong 64
Instead of kidnapping other characters and stealing bananas, King K. Rool takes a more bombastic approach and plans to blow up DK Isles with his Blast-o-matic laser. K. Rool wears his traditional King attire for the majority of the game, but in the final battle against the Kongs, he wears a boxing outfit under the ring name of King Krusha K. Rool and does battle with them in front of his Kremling subjects. This final boss fight has five rounds due to there being five playable characters, though typical boxing matches usually have up to 12 rounds. Much like in his original appearance, K. Rool attempts to trick the Kongs by playing dead. After being distracted by Candy Kong in a brief cutscene, Funky Kong delivers the final blow to the Kremling King.
In addition to his primary roles in Rare’s Donkey Kong Country games, King K. Rool appears in Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Land 2, Donkey Kong Land III, the Game Boy Color port of Donkey Kong Country, and the Game Boy Advance ports of the SNES Donkey Kong Country trilogy. He appears in trophy form in the Super Smash Bros. series, and as a downloadable Mii fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. He also appears in several Donkey Kong games following Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare in 2002, including Donkey Konga, DK: King of Swing, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, and DK: Jungle Climber. K. Rool’s first playable appearance outside of the Donkey Kong series was in Mario Super Sluggers. He is the strongest right handed batter in the game, but has poor stamina and fielding. He shares good chemistry with Kritter and King Boo, and bad chemistry with the Kongs and Bowser.
K. Rool was planned to appear in Diddy Kong Pilot for the Game Boy Advance, which was later reworked into Banjo-Pilot due to Rare no longer having authorization to use the Donkey Kong license. Leaked beta footage shows K. Rool wearing an aviator outfit.
In other media
King K. Rool appears as a main character in the Donkey Kong Country animated series, portrayed by Canadian theater actor Benedict Campbell. In most episodes, K. Rool attempts to steal the Crystal Coconut, an ancient relic that is said to possess extraordinary power. This version of K. Rool has more realistic proportions, a smaller cape, and no tail. He is accompanied by his two Kremling henchmen, Klump and Krusha, who appear in the Donkey Kong Country video game as generic enemies.
The character has received mostly positive critical reception over the years. Playtonic Games, a development team containing many former Rare employees, campaigned for his inclusion as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U downloadable content. Additionally, many fan conducted polls have found King K. Rool to be a highly requested character in the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot, an online survey Nintendo held to determine future DLC contenders.
Game Revolution gave K. Rool the number two spot on their list of characters who deserve a spot in Super Smash Bros., arguing that "it's been far too long since we've seen the Kremlings get some proper representation, with the reptilian foes being conspicuously absent from both of Retro Studios' DKC titles. It's time, Nintendo. Bring back K. Rool!" Game Rant listed K. Rool at number eight on their list of the Top 10 Most Iconic Nintendo Villains, stating “We’ve been waiting patiently for K. Rool to pop up in one of Retro's Donkey Kong Country games, but at this point, we’d settle for a spot on the Super Smash Bros. roster instead.” ScrewAttack similarly placed K. Rool at number nine on their list of Top 10 Nintendo Villains, noting that “What makes King K. Rool such a joyful villain is his blend of classic cartoonish style by looking at the fourth wall and playing dress-up on occasion and a menacing edge that shows when the battles get intense.” YouTube channel WatchMojo.com listed K. Rool as the seventh greatest video game boss.
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King K. Rool: Oh, sweet, creamy, potassium-rich irony! I hate bananas anyway!
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