Cranky Kong is a character from the Donkey Kong series of video games, created by Rare and owned by Nintendo. He is introduced in Donkey Kong Country and is characterized as an elderly incarnation of the original Donkey Kong character featured in the 1981 arcade game. He is known for his scathing, fourth wall-breaking commentary on the state of video games today. Cranky has appeared in a number of Donkey Kong games, primarily as a reluctant adviser to Donkey Kong and his various simian pals. The current Donkey Kong introduced in Donkey Kong Country is Cranky's grandson, who inherited the name after Cranky's retirement. Briefly after the release of Donkey Kong 64, however, a representative of Rare once stated that Cranky is meant to be Donkey Kong's father, and that the current Donkey Kong is meant to be an adult Donkey Kong Jr.
As his name implies, Cranky is a loud-mouthed old ape who is perpetually bitter about many things and complains about them to anyone who gives him even the slightest acknowledgment. He is mostly angry about the state of modern video games, once going so far as to complain about how many bits and bytes are used up to simply animate his swinging beard. Every time he sees any such thing he seems to fondly recall his heyday in which he was an 8-bit character with only three frames of animation. According to the instruction manual for Donkey Kong Country, Cranky is actually an aged version of the original Donkey Kong who rivaled Mario in the original 1981 game by Nintendo, and that the current Donkey Kong is his grandson. (This fact is mentioned by Otacon in Super Smash Bros. Brawl). Contradicting this, in Donkey Kong 64 he refers to DK as his "good for nothing son".
In Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, Cranky's main purpose was to distribute helpful hints about the game's many stages to Donkey Kong and his sidekick Diddy Kong whenever they dropped by his cabin. These hints could be very useful in finding the game's many secrets, but always came peppered with insults and complaints, as well as a few good raps on the head from Cranky's cane. Cranky also featured prominently in the game's manual, popping up and offering complaints as if he were reading through it with the player. This became a running joke in the manuals for subsequent DK games.
Donkey Kong Country 2 saw him play a similar role, although this time his advice came at a price. Whenever Diddy and Dixie Kong stopped by the Monkey Museum, they would have to provide enough banana coins to buy specific hints from the grouchy old ape. In the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 2, he also hosted the Expresso Racing minigame, where you control Expresso (who did not appear in the SNES version) and race other ostriches.
In Donkey Kong Country 3, however, Cranky took a slightly more active role, serving as Dixie and Kiddy Kong's opponent in the throwing game at Swanky's Sideshow. Later, in the Game Boy Advance port of Donkey Kong Country 3, Cranky opened up a dojo where players could briefly take control of him in a martial arts themed mini-game.
Donkey Kong 64 saw Cranky turn mad scientist as he dabbled in potion making. These potions granted each of the five playable Kongs (DK, Diddy, Chunky, Lanky, and Tiny) special abilities and could be purchased at Cranky's Lab. He also housed the Jetpac game, and would let you play it after earning 15 Banana Medals. Achieving 5,000 points in Jetpac earned you the Rareware Coin, which was required to beat the game. Cranky also DJ'ed the DK Rap, and apparently enjoyed it.
His most recent appearances have been in DK Jungle Climber, the sequel to King of Swing where he once again dispensed gameplay tips (although in a much less cranky fashion than usual), and in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast where he served as a fully playable character for the first time.
Appearances in other media Edit
Cranky was also a regular on the Donkey Kong Country animated series. He was still as senile as in the games, but without his fourth wall-destroying comments. His cabin was where the Crystal Coconut, the mystical bauble that made DK the future ruler of Kongo Bongo Island (as DK Island was called on the show), was kept. Often, Cranky mixed potions, somewhat prefiguring his Donkey Kong 64 role. He was voiced by Aron Tager, and in the Japanese dub by Ryūsei Nakao.