|I'm all for crazy accessories, but one can only fit so many of them inside one's home. So, do you set aside some permanent space for the little bongo drums that come with Donkey Konga? Well, I haven't, yet.|
Instead I was fortunate enough to play this at a friend's house. The drums are a fairly cheap affair of course, but the game is still normal price with drums included, so that ought to be a decent deal. The drum heads feel more like buttons beneath a thin plastic cover, which is in fact what they are, so you can get away with just pressing on the drum top rather than beating it, although beating it is supposed to be more fun.
The drums also have a microphone in the top middle. I wondered what this was for until I played the game, and found that sometimes you have to clap your hands over the microphone to match a beat pattern. This is swell and all, but I guess I have soft pansy hands and clapping along with these songs was making my palms sting. I guess I was clapping hard to make sure the sound registered.
The drum also has a single button in the middle which is used for confirming menu choices and things. All told, navigating the game menus with the drums is a bit of a chore, and the button is in an inconvenient spot to press while still keeping the drums ready for play.
Anyway eventually you get to playing. There seem to be a lot of songs available, although some are silly and not really what you would probably want to groove to. As is typical with many rhythm games, a string of required inputs scrolls along from right to left, and you have to match the input when its market gets to the left end. So you do left drum or right drum or both or clap (ouch!), as the game demands. Also as with many rhythm games, it often doesn't feel like you're really keeping the beat, and whether you hit left or right seems pretty arbitrary, given that they sound the same.
As you're drumming a pre-rendered Donkey Kong follows your motions in the upper left of the screen with his own pre-rendered bongos. He doesn't really animate well, but you won't have that much time to watch him. A few other pre-rendered sprites, including some clever little banana-creatures (??), do little spot animations, but otherwise the background is completely static. Compared with, say, Samba de Amigo or DDR, the game looks pretty dead.