This article is about Donkey Kong's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. For other uses, see Donkey Kong.

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong) is a returning character from the Donkey Kong series in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He was first shown very briefly at the E3 2007 press conference, and was officially confirmed on the Smash Bros. DOJO! on July 12, 2007. Rather than utilizing the recycled clips from Super Smash Bros. Melee or being voiced by Takashi Nagasako (who voiced Donkey Kong starting with Mario Power Tennis), Donkey Kong now uses a new set of realistic gorilla grunt and roar sound effects.

Donkey Kong ranks in the D tier, 21st overall, due to his well rounded attacks, good mobility, good range and incredible finishers (namely a fully charged Giant Punch); however, being a candidate for infinite chain grabs as well as problems dealing with certain projectiles are the reasons for his drop from being a high tier character from the first tier list. Additionally, he has a poor vertical recovery, making him vulnerable to weak spikes.

Additional problems of Donkey Kong include most of his attacks having heavy ending lag (making it easy to punish most of his attacks if he misses), being very vulnerable to meteor smash gimps due to his recovery gaining much less vertical distance, his shield being too small for a character of his size leaving him heavily vulnerable to shield stabbing, and lacking a projectile, which when combined with his very large size and aforementioned shield issues, gives Donkey Kong severe issues dealing with camping. While his rolls and air dodge are about average, his sidestep is the second slowest, after Bowser. Overall, Donkey Kong has decidedly poor matchups while being countered by the majority of top and high tier (and is also hard countered by two, but Donkey Kong also hard counters three), and has achieved average tournament results.


Donkey Kong is a very heavy character with very powerful attacks, great attack range, and high knockback capabilities. Despite these pros, Donkey Kong lacks projectiles and a reliable way to deal with them, which makes his moveset and style of approach unvaried. He is one of the fastest heavyweight characters; his movement speed is above average: fast running, fast walking, fast air speed, and very high initial jump. Donkey Kong's weight helps him stay alive longer, though he is a big target and has very poor vertical recovery, but extremely long horizontal recovery. He can even use Spinning Kong to cancel knockback from an attack that would even KO Bowser, Snake, or King Dedede. Despite his extremely long horizontal recovery, it is vulnerable to disjointed attacks and has poor vertical height, which means even weak spikes can be devastating, though it is hard to edgeguard without a disjointed attack due its initial invincibility frames and being a high priority move. Combining his impressive weight and good horizontal recovery with good Directional Influence, he can be extremely hard to KO.

Although he can take a lot of damage before dying, he gets hit very easily due to his large size. His shield, though large, doesn't cover his body very well, making it hard for him to block attacks. His large size and heavy weight also leaves him open to many chain grabs (e.g. King Dedede's infinite chain grab without a wall, which is truly problematic at such a high level), except Bowser's ground releases. Though given his attack range and speed, it can be difficult for characters with short-ranged grabs like the Ice Climbers to grab him to begin with. His Headbutt allows him to get a free attack on the opponent, as many of his follow-up attacks have low startup time, and it also does very high damage to shields. His fully charged Giant Punch also heavily damages shields, and the super armor it grants may allow him to trade KO moves with an opponent and survive. Even his grounded Spinning Kong does high damage to opponents or shields. Having three high shield damage attacks he can give high shield pressure. Donkey Kong has no problems KOing: all his smashes are powerful, with Up Smash and Down Smash coming out very fast; Up Aerial can compensate for a missed edgeguard, three reliable Meteor Smashes, Back Aerial, Back Throw, an almost fully charged Giant Punch (which is actually more powerful than fully charged, but without Super Armor), and the cargo stage spike.

He can counter any ground grab releases because of his unique extremely short grab release animation, making him escape from release lag 10 frames earlier than any other character does, and being immune to Bowser's grab release game. with the addition of only Snake and Yoshi being able to force him to jump break from grabs. Donkey Kong is unique to be able to carry crates, barrels and Bonsly without a reduction in speed, but small items have unusual long end animation (though he has one of the best Glide Tosses in the game). DK also has a large grab range with powerful throws, and he is even able to chain-grab some characters, being able to infinite-Cargo release Lucas and Ness, and also KOing characters in low percents when using the Cargo stage spike. Donkey Kong can also perform Kongocide, although it is not the most useful of the sacrificial KOs.

Although Donkey Kong has his share of problems, he fares decently against the majority of the cast, and there are very few matchups he can't overcome.

Changes from Melee to Brawl

Donkey Kong has been significantly buffed from SSBM to SSBB. Overall, he is a bigger, faster, and stronger too and longer ranged character with increased priority in most of his moves. For example, both his back air and down smash have highly increased knockback. Giant Punch has shorter range and has less knockback when fully charged (the 9 charge is much stronger but doesn't have super armor like the fully charged), but he can now also reverse it. In addition, it also charges faster. Headbutt comes out faster and deals more damage. Additionally, Headbutt can now dig if Donkey Kong uses it in the air and the opponent is in the ground rather than just Donkey Kong in the ground as well. Furthermore, since buried characters can now receive knockback, and the duration is increased if the victim has higher damage, Headbutt can now easily be comboed with Giant Punch. Hand Slap is a better move in general, as it covers more range and deals 14% instead of 11%.

Spinning Kong does less knockback but grants super armor just before it is released. Landing on the ground from his Spinning Kong leaves him vulnerable as he lands on his back and has to get up. However, it gives slightly more horizontal distance and higher vertical height. Donkey Kong's shield is larger, but it's still small in relation to his body. His side smash has higher knockback, and a fully charged side smash has higher knockback than fully charged Giant Punch. His up smash can now hit grounded characters, and his down tilt now trips foes, leaving them vulnerable. People escape out of his carry throw automatically, even without touching the control stick. Additionally, only the opponent takes damage if released.

Donkey Kong's falling speed is much slower (no longer among the fastest), which has both advantages (such as making chain grabs less effective) and disadvantages (such as making approaching with aerials less effective). His dash attack now has horizontal knockback instead of vertical knockback. Forward carry throw has more vertical knockback and less horizontal knockback.

In terms of cosmetics, Donkey Kong has more realistic gorilla roars (similar to other characters having more realistic noises). His costume is lighter and very different from Melee (making him comparable to his appearance in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat with his furrier appearance), and his black costume now has a yellow tie instead of a blue tie. Many of his attacks' sound effects (particularly his smash attacks) are significantly louder.


Ground Attacks

  • Neutral attack - Does a quick cross punch and follows up with an uppercut. Certain hitboxes can jab lock. 4% first hit, 6% second hit
  • Dash attack - Skids to a halt doing a side-kick. High lag and poor shieldstun. Similar to a move from Donkey Kong 64. 11% damage
  • Side Tilt - Swats in front. Large range and fast but low knockback. This move can go through Meta Knight's Mach Tornado. 10% damage, 12% angled up, 9% and trips angled down.
  • Up Tilt - Swats above his head. Fast with a good arch range. Can chain some characters at low percents. 9-11% damage depending on where it connects.
  • Down Tilt - Swats at his opponent's feet. This move causes opponents to trip. Slightly less range and similar start-up of his forward tilt, but barely any ending lag and still has long range. A great lock move at low percentages and a trip can be combined with his Hand Slap. 8% damage
  • Side Smash - Claps hands together in front of him. Highest damage from close, but slightly higher knockback at the farther hitboxes. Extremely high knockback when fully charged. Great priority. Fairly quick for a heavyweight. 20%-21% damage uncharged, 28-29% fully charged
  • Up Smash - Claps hands above his head. Good startup and ending lag. This move sweetspots when it hits foes above him, and becomes weaker when it hits right beside Donkey Kong. Huge knockback when hitting from below. Good hitting from below a platform and great running up smash. Has almost no hitlag, meaning it is nearly impossible to SDI. 18%-26% damage
  • Down Smash - Does a double back-handed punch by bringing his closed fists down 90 degrees at both sides. Good startup, but fairly bad ending lag. Very fast, great vertical knockback, and one of the strongest down smashes in the game. 17%/25% damage when hit with his fists, 14% up close.
  • Ledge attack - Throws his back at the opponent. Fairly quick and has the longest range of any ledge attack in the game. 8% damage
  • 100% Ledge attack - Climbs onto stage and swats forward. 10% damage
  • Floor attack - Swats with his hand in a wide arch. 6% damage
  • Trip attack - Spins with his fists as he stands. 5% damage

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral Aerial - Spins with arms extended. Similar to his Spinning Kong move. 8-11% damage
  • Forward Aerial - Puts fists together above his head, then does a powerful Axe-handle Smash. A powerful Meteor Smash. Great for catching edge guarders while recovering. Looks almost exactly like the one from Donkey Kong 64, but obviously slower; has some of the highest starting and ending lag of any aerial. 16% damage
  • Back Aerial - Back-kicks behind him. Very fast, long ranged and strong. 8% if not sweetspotted (closest to DK) or 13% on his foot for max damage and knockback.
  • Up Aerial - Headbutts above. Extremely quick, can Star KO at high percentages. 15% damage
  • Down Aerial - Stomps down, arching his body forward. When this move hits, it will always spike similar to Ganondorf's d-air, and it is his strongest Meteor Smash. Has Star KO potential. Can be used on many characters by carry down throwing, then jumping and dair. 14-16% damage.

Grabs & Throws

  • Standing grab - One of the longest non-tether grab ranges and high vertical range
  • Running grab - Much worse than standing grab range: Much shorter range and a lot of ending lag
  • Pivot grab - Slightly longer range than his standing grab range
  • Pummel - Does a slight karate chop at the enemy's neck. 3% damage
  • Forward Throw - Heaves the opponent on his back, just like carrying the barrels from Donkey Kong Country, causing minor damage. He can carry around the opponent (regardless of size) as if the opponent were a heavy item. Can also jump while holding an opponent to increase vertical launch. Can be released - opponent will take 6% - and regrabbed if he can react quicker, being an infinite on Lucas and Ness or fastfallers when turn releasing and turn grabbing. Follow-up throws result in;
    • Forward : 8% damage
    • Up: 7% damage
    • Down: 6% damage
    • Back:

Donkey Kong is unable to use his forward throw on enemies in the SSE, making him the only character unable to use one of his standard throws for said reason. If the input for the forward throw is used, he will use his up throw instead.

  • Back Throw - Swings his arm back and throws the opponent. A very good KO throw and it has fast start-up. 11% damage
  • Up Throw - Grabs the enemy and throws them in the air with his right hand. 9% damage
  • Down Throw - Slams the opponent down with his hand. Can chain grab characters like Snake or Kirby. At low percentages, this can combo into Hand Slap and can start aerial juggles from there. 7% damage

Special Moves

Donkey Kong's Special Moves
SSB Melee Brawl SSBWU/3DS Ultimate
Standard Special Giant Punch
Side Special Headbutt
Up Special Spinning Kong
Down Special Hand Slap
Final Smash Konga Beat Jungle Rush

On-screen appearance

  • Breaks out of a DK barrel, grunts and makes a strongman pose.


  • Up: Repeatedly pounds his chest while smiling.
  • Side: Shakes his head from side to side, then doing it with the rest of his upper body.
  • Down: Faces the screen, puts his palms of his hands near his cheeks and moves his head from side to side and making a questioning facial expression.

In competitive play

Donkey Kong has a fairly average matchup spread all around. He hard counters three characters, counters three, soft counters five, and has eight even matchups. On the contrary, he is soft countered by six, countered by nine, and hard countered by two characters. DK normally does well against characters he can generally outrange and characters who have difficulty in KOing him easily, such as Marth and Lucario. DK’s sheer range and great setup tools allows him to match Marth in the neutral game while simultaneously making it difficult for Marth to escape in disadvantage. He also boasts excellent matchups against Ness and Lucas due to possessing infinite grab releases on them. However, he has poor matchups against characters who can take advantage of his inability to break through opponents who camp, like Olimar and Falco, or characters who can chaingrab him, like King Dedede, who can 0 to death him through his standing infinite. DK can attempt to circumvent this with his faster movement speed, though it is extremely hard for him to avoid a grab otherwise.

Donkey Kong was initially seen as a high tier character in Brawl, being ranked 10th on the first tier list. The buffs he received from his transition from Melee to Brawl made him a powerful character that could compete against a then inexperienced playerbase who didn't utilize much camping and chaingrabbing. As the metagame developed however, it became apparent that Donkey Kong's buffs were simply not enough to keep him as a high tier character, since he struggled to deal with projectile camping from the likes of Snake, Falco and Olimar and was heavily vulnerable to chaingrabbing, most notoriously from King Dedede.

Donkey Kong's decline started slowly, as he fell to 14th on the second tier list, and fell again to 18th on the third one, but he remained there on the fourth iteration. He slightly dropped to 20th out of 38 on the fifth tier list before going back to 18th on the sixth tier list. The seventh tier list marked Donkey Kong's lowest placing to date at 23rd out of 38, before rising to his current position of 21st out of 38 on the current tier list. While Donkey Kong struggles at high levels of play, his representation and results gathered by his playerbase have managed to secure his position as a mid tier character. In the mid tier and lower, there aren't many projectiles that heavily disrupt his approach and chaingrabbing is much less frequent, which allows him to fully take advantage of his great mobility, range and excellent endurance.

Role in the Subspace Emissary

Donkey Kong in the SSE

The Koopa Troop and Bowser steal Donkey Kong's Banana Hoard. As a Hammer Bro. drives off in a car which contains all the bananas, Donkey Kong watches him from a cliff. The Hammer Bro. and the Goomba aboard the car spot Donkey Kong and shoot Bullet Bills at him. However, Diddy Kong comes out from a bush and expertly shoots the Bullet Bills with his Peanut Popguns. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong then follow the Hammer Bro. to retrieve the Banana Hoard. After following him, they see Bowser with a strange type of gun called a Dark Cannon, revealing that he is working for the Subspace Army. When Bowser charges the cannon, Donkey Kong quickly charges his Giant Punch and launches Diddy into the sky and out of the way, sacrificing himself. Bowser shoots Donkey Kong and turns him into a trophy.

Later in the story, Diddy Kong, Fox McCloud and Falco Lombardi see a ship which is carrying Donkey Kong as a trophy to a mysterious floating island. Falco then helps Diddy by following it with his Arwing and having the little Kong with him. Falco then does a barrel roll and drops Diddy out. Diddy fires up his Rocket Barrels and takes out his Popguns and shoots the ship. After seeing this, Captain Falcon and Olimar decide to help him and jump to the ship, where Diddy frees Donkey Kong. All four then fight the Primids and other enemies on the ship. After winning Diddy says bye to Falco. The ship takes them inside a factory producing Subspace Bombs, and encounter various R.O.B.s that happen to live on the island. They later meet up with Pikachu and Samus Aran where they see the Ancient Minister and a whole lot of R.O.B.s. After Ganondorf controls the R.O.B.s into activating all of the Subspace Bombs, the Ancient Minister is shown to be R.O.B., the leader of all the lesser R.O.B.s who were forced to work for the Subspace Army. R.O.B. then fights with the others. When trying to escape Captain Falcon calls for his Falcon Flyer and tries to leave the cave when Meta-Ridley appears and they must fight him. After that they all meet up with the others.

Donkey Kong and the other heroes enter Subspace and meet Tabuu, who turns everyone into trophies with his Off Waves. However, King Dedede had anticipated this and created badges that revived certain fighters back into their original form. With his team consisting of Luigi and Ness, Dedede rescues Donkey Kong and most of the others, although some of them were rescued by Kirby. They also recruit Bowser, Ganondorf, and Wario when they learned about Tabuu. At the end of the Great Maze, Sonic the Hedgehog shows up and helps weaken Tabuu's Off Waves so Donkey Kong and the others would be able to beat him and restore the World Of Trophies to normal (except the Isle Of The Ancients that was impossible to return due to the massive number of Subspace Bombs going off at once).

Playable appearances

Exclusive stickers

These stickers can only be used by Donkey Kong or a select few including him.

  • Chunky Kong: [Throwing] attack +31
  • Diddy Kong (Donkey Kong 64): Launch power +20
  • Diddy Kong (Mario Hoops 3-on-3!): [Leg] attack +28
  • Diddy Kong (Mario Superstar Baseball): [Leg] attack +12
  • Dixie Kong: Launch resistance +39
  • DK: [Head] attack +27
  • DK Barrel: Launch power +53
  • Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat): [Arm] attack +22
  • Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country): [Electric] resistance +10
  • Donkey Kong Jr.: [Arm] attack +14
  • Enguarde: [Body, Spin] attack +15
  • Funky Kong: [Leg] attack +13
  • Karate Kong: [Battering] resistance +25
  • Lanky Kong: [Throwing] attack +6
  • Party Monkey: [Head] attack +6
  • Pauline & Donkey Kong: [Arm] attack +18
  • Tiny Kong: [Arm] attack +4
  • Wrinkly Kong: [Battering] resistance +4

In Event Matches

Solo Events

  • Event 7: Diddy Kong Panic: As Donkey Kong, the player must defeat 15 tiny Diddy Kongs on Mario Circuit.
  • Event 9: The Monster Beneath the Earth: If the player fails to KO both Diddy Kongs before reaching the underground section of Castle Siege, a giant Donkey Kong will face the player.
  • Event 10: All-Star Battle Regulars: Donkey Kong is one of the opponents fought in this event. All opponents are starters from the original Super Smash Bros. game.
  • Event 22: Monkeys Unite: The player controls Diddy Kong, who must work together with a giant Donkey Kong to defeat Sheik and Lucario on Rumble Falls.
  • Event 27: Three-Beast Carnage: As a tiny R.O.B., the player must defeat a giant Bowser, a giant Donkey Kong, and a giant Charizard on New Pork City.

Co-op events

  • Co-Op Event 4: The DK Tag Calamity: As a tiny Donkey Kong and a tiny Diddy Kong, both players must defeat one Donkey Kong and four Diddy Kongs on Mario Circuit.
  • Co-Op Event 14: The Dark Guardians: Both players control Ganondorf and Wolf, who are tiny, and must defeat a giant Donkey Kong and a giant Charizard on New Pork City.
  • Co-Op Event 21: The True All-Star Battle: Two players select a character and take on the entire roster on Battlefield.

Palette Swap

Donkey Kong's changeable palette swaps in SSBB

Trophy description

Donkey Kong

A carefree jungle dweller with the charisma of a natural leader. He keeps busy by foiling the plans of the Kremlings and their boss, King K. Rool. As his physique suggests, this ape is a powerhouse. He's got speed to match too, and his love for bananas is second to none. His famous necktie is adorned with his initials, DK.


Here are the games Donkey Kong appears in.

  • Donkey Kong (1981, Arcade)
  • Donkey Kong Jr. (1982, Arcade)
  • Donkey Kong 3 (1986, NES)
  • Donkey Kong (1994, Game Boy)
  • Donkey Kong Country (1994, SNES)
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest (1995, SNES)
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong Trouble (1996, SNES)
  • Mario Party (1999, N64)
  • Super Smash Bros. (1999, N64)
  • Donkey Kong 64 (1999, N64)
  • Mario Party 2 (1999, N64)
  • Mario Party 3 (2001, N64)
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001, GCN)
  • Donkey Kong Land (1994, Game Boy)
  • Donkey Kong Land II (1995, Game Boy)
  • Mario Kart 64 (1997, N64)
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001, GBA)
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!! (2003, GCN)
  • Mario Party 4 (2004, GCN)
  • Mario Party 5 (2005, GCN)
  • Mario Kart DS (2005, Nintendo DS)
  • DK King of Swing (2006, DS)
  • Mario Party 6 (2006, GCN)
  • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (2005, GCN)
  • Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (2007, Wii)
  • Mario Party 7 (2007, Wii)


  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl marks the first time Donkey Kong's name is fully spelled out, as opposed to the previous installments where it is abbreviated as D.K.
  • Even though Donkey Kong has teeth, he only shows them when performing certain attacks or taunts. He occasionally opens his mouth with no teeth showing.
  • When DK is tiny, he actually moves faster while carrying a Crate or Blast Box.
  • DK is the only character in Brawl that has more than four different throws.
  • Donkey Kong and Luigi are the only two veterans to be buffed and never be nerfed or unchanged from one game to another.
  • Donkey Kong seems more smart in Brawl as shown when he didn't fight Bowser knowing how dangerous he could be with his gun
  • When forward smashing with the Home-Run Bat, Donkey Kong has the longest range with the bat out of all the characters. However, if he is too close to the Sandbag or a character, they will be propelled upwards at a slight angle with drastically weaker knockback (though still powerful). This also happened to Donkey Kong in Melee.
  • Donkey Kong is one of only three characters that can't use their down special move in midair, the others are Peach and Pokémon Trainer, although he is capable of using Hand Slap in the air in Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Donkey Kong is one of the few known characters to have an obvious error in his moveset coding - his forward aerial cannot be auto-canceled, but the coding of the move shows that it was intended to be able to, but it cannot be due to a minor error caused by using the wrong type of timing function.

External links

DKSymbol.svg Donkey Kong universe
Characters Donkey Kong (64  · Melee  · Brawl  · 3DS/Wii U  · Ultimate)
Diddy Kong (Brawl  · 3DS/Wii U  · Ultimate)
King K. Rool (Ultimate)
Side Characters Boss Giant Donkey Kong
Assist Trophy Klaptrap
Mii Fighter Costumes King K. Rool  · Dixie Kong
Background characters Cranky Kong
Stage Hazards Klaptrap  · Donkey Kong
Enemies Kritter  · Tiki Buzz
Other Funky Kong
Stages Kongo Jungle  · Kongo Falls  · Jungle Japes  · Rumble Falls  · 75m  · Jungle Hijinxs
Items Hammer  · Barrel Cannon  · Spring  · Peanut
Music List List of Music (Donkey Kong series)
Song "Gang-Plank Galleon"
Collectibles Trophies Melee Trophies  · Brawl Trophies  · 3DS Trophies  · Wii U Trophies
Stickers List of Stickers (Donkey Kong series)
Spirits List of spirits (Donkey Kong series)
Masterpiece Donkey Kong
Related universes Mario  · Yoshi  · Wario  · Wrecking Crew