Winky the Frog
The animal buddies from Donkey Kong Country each aided the Kongs in their own unique fashion, and in the case of Winky, that consisted of leaping to incredible heights to reach previously inaccessible areas. He probably also kept flies at bay and enjoyed a Budweiser every now and then. The point is, Winky was an especially fun character to use, but the writing was on the wall for him at an early stage. In the much-anticipated sequel, Winky had been replaced by Rattly the rattlesnake, a coiled serpent who operated in much the same fashion, albeit with a souped up super jump and forked tongue poking out all the while. Winky fans the world over felt besmirched; not only had he been shown the door, but the fact that he had been scrapped for a facsimile that played almost exactly the same was particularly painful. So what happened? Did the staff at Rare have a falling out with frogs?
Funnily enough, we actually know the true reason, and at long last, we can fill you in on this most compelling mystery. According to Steve Mayles, character designer and sprite artist for both titles, “the way Winky hopped/jumped meant you often plummeted to your death amid much swearing. The frog wasn’t allowed back for DKC2” Admittedly, Rattly’s less gangly animation did make for more precise controls, and in hindsight, it probably isn’t a coincidence that Expresso the ostrich, whose long legs made him similarly tricky to handle, was also omitted from subsequent titles.
But surely, all these years later, we should have found a suitable method to render Winky in such a way that makes him less cumbersome? It’s time for us to reach down into the depths of our imagination (as well as, presumably, whatever bottomless pit Winky happened to have fallen into) and find a way to bring this plucky companion back from the brink. Come now, guys – hop to it!