Smash History: King K. Rool


Despite being a giant bipedal crocodile creature, King K. Rool seems to be more a fan of bananas than any kind of meat. Or maybe he just hates Donkey Kong and likes to mess with him. We don’t actually know why he keeps stealing bananas around Donkey Kong Island. In fact, there’s a case to be made K. Rool has multiple personality disorder. Every time Donkey Kong and his friends clash with him, he takes on a new persona. Sometimes he’s a scientist, sometimes a pirate, and sometimes even a boxer.

Why He Was Requested

When K. Rool missed Melee, it wasn’t seen as too much of a shock. He was certainly in demand, as he was seen as Donkey Kong’s main villain. However, with the only real villains making it into Melee being Bowser and Ganondorf, it didn’t seem like huge slight. After all, these were the villains of Nintendo’s 2 undisputed biggest franchises. K. Rool would have his chance in the next one, easily. He was the main rival of Nintendo’s next biggest franchise.

But then something happened that no one saw coming. Nintendo sold Rare, the biggest proponent for the Donkey Kong franchise. But Nintendo kept the Donkey franchise, so surely K. Rool would stay relevant, right? That appeared to be the case at first at least. Nintendo was putting out ports of Donkey Kong Country for the GameBoy Advance, and K. Rool was still making appearances in DK side games like King of Swing and Jungle Climbers.

However, K. Rool was absent from Brawl. Sakurai said he didn’t feel like he was that relevant of a character to Nintendo anymore. These words would be proven true over the next few years, as Donkey Kong would see a revival on the Wii with the first Country game in quite some time with no K. Rool in sight. And then again when Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze came out on the Wii U, K. Rool would be suspiciously absent. Fans were outraged by the time Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U came out with still no K. Rool


As many have pointed out, K. Rool’s moveset is pretty much exactly what everyone has predicted it to be. His crown toss comes straight from the original Donkey Kong Country, and seeks to mimic the same sort of physics and odd animation from the SNES capabilities that gave it a kind of charm. That weird musket/cannon/vacuum combo is the Blunderbuss and it comes straight from Donkey Kong Country 2. The helipack is from Donkey Kong Country 3 and serves as a no-frills recovery move. Finally, it appears as if K. Rool has a counter move that takes the form of his knockback animation from whenever you tried to roll into him in the older games.

However, K. Rool’s attention to detail goes further than just slapping some references to his special moves and calling it a day. Fans have pointed out that at times K. Rool pulls out his boxing gloves for what appears to be his Smash attack. This is actually pulled straight from Donkey Kong 64 from his boxing persona. Not only that, but his Final Smash is pulled from Donkey Kong 64 as well, as it’s a reference to the game over screen from that game when he’d ominously point his laser cannon at DK Island. For his Blunderbuss, K. Rool even pulls out his captain’s hat and has to take it off when he’s finished with the special. It’s not quite the same, but it’s attempting to capture that same feeling as that game where the Blunderbuss was a heavy risk/reward and leaving K. Rool vulnerable after it’s done.

Final Thoughts

King K. Rool was another one of those characters like Ridley who was viewed as a lock but as time went on was viewed as an impossibility. However, with Ultimate, Sakurai has gone with a different approach and has been purposely focusing on those exact dream characters.

Who knows? Maybe this means Geno is next.

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