Welcome to a brand new edition of Bad Guys Anonymous. This week, we’ll be taking a closer look at the very first minor minion gamers encounter in Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Right after our intrepid gorilla hero blasts out of his cave top loft and discovers that his “Banana Hoard” has gone missing, players immediately do three things: they collect their first bananas, they break Diddy Kong from his barrel prison and they square off against the exceptionally basic Gnawty.
Look out, friends, we’re in Donkey Kong pun territory here.
Gnawty is, basically, a beaver. This waddling terror has only one attack pattern: walking forward. With every lurching step taken under the heinous reign of King K. Rool, he’s an absolute threat to Donkey Kong and his tie-wearing little buddy named Diddy.
Except, well, not really. Just like almost every other first baddy encountered in a game, Gnawty can be knocked out with one simple move. Players can either hop on their heads, or they can roll/cartwheel directly into them. Much like their crocodile cohorts known as Kritters, Gnawties vary slightly in color throughout the game. Their abilities, however, remain the same. Walk, chew, murder.
We’re only two articles deep in this hopefully lengthy tribute to the most pathetic of gaming villains, but I’m already sensing a strong pattern in the works. As we learned last week with the Goomba, the first enemy a player encounters in a game needs to be basic. It’s too hard to task players with completing two or three maneuvers to conquer their first in-game foe, so these dudes need to be simple.
That’s the Gnawty in a nutshell, simple.
While a Gnawty might not stand as much trouble for even halfway decent Donkey Kong players, perhaps catching a gamer off guard whilst blasting between barrels, the real challenge comes from the blown up versions of this generic beaver foe.
Very Gnawty and Really Gnawty are two world bosses in the original Donkey Kong Country. They represent the first and second world, respectively. Perhaps only marginally stronger than their peasant-like little cousins, these two beaver brawlers rarely present much of a challenge for the primate tandem seeking their stolen bananas. Really Gnawty’s major ability upgrade form Very Gnawty? He jumps higher during his attack pattern.
What a jerk.
While the Gnawty is almost a constant obstacle in both Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land, the less respected title that launched for the Game Boy, he’s basically only referenced in Donkey Kong 64. This poor water-bound critter doesn’t even make an appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest on the SNES. Instead, Rare, the developers behind Donkey Kong Country, elected to fill that world up with slightly different crocodile-type creatures.
However, Rare made reference to this minor beaver when they released Banjo-Kazooie for the Nintendo 64. Somewhere in Click Clock Wood resides a distant relative of the simple little foes in Donkey Kong Country. His name is Gnawty, he’s a giant beaver and he’s purple.
His heart will go on.