This article is about Donkey Kong's appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. For other uses, see Donkey Kong.

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong) is the main protagonist of the Donkey Kong Country series, and shares the name of the main antagonist of the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. One of the original 12 characters who have appeared in every Smash Bros. game, Donkey Kong was confirmed to return for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U on June 11th, at E3 2013. He retains most of his attributes from previous titles.

Donkey Kong currently ranks 22nd on the tier list. He is strong and heavy, along with having a good throw combo with the 'Ding-Dong Combo', which is good for damage and kill confirms. However, he struggles against fast, combo heavy characters and has bad vertical recovery.



  • Second heaviest in the game, after Bowser.
  • Super armor during many attacks.
  • Very fast for a heavy character.
  • Strong throws.
  • Good combo game.
  • High launching power and range on most attacks.
  • Powerful Special Moves in terms of damage and shield damage.
  • Headbutt can burrow opponents for a follow-up attack and can break shields.
  • Has four Meteor Smashes, being the most of all characters in the game: Forward Aerial, Down Aerial, Side Special and Down Special (in the air).
  • Can carry opponents with his Forward Throw (known as Cargo Throw), being able to jump and move.
  • Is the only character capable of moving fast and jumping while carrying heavy items, such as crates.


  • Large character, meaning larger hurtboxes.
  • Some moves have considerable lag (either startup, ending or both).
  • Very poor vertical recovery, which combined with his high falling speed makes him easy to gimp.
  • Lack tools to deal with jugglers.
  • Has problems to approach some characters, specially those with disjointed hitboxes.
  • Cannot deal very well with opponents that can use projectiles or very fast pushers, such as Sheik.


Donkey Kong's stats by Kurogane Hammer.

Donkey Kong is a Bruiser type of character, with a good focus as a Grappler style of gameplay. Unlike most heavyweights, he is quite agile, having good attack speed and dashing speed. Nearly all of his attacks have potential KO power, and his super armor during some of them allows him to sustain and even shrug off flinching. This, combined with his heavy weight, makes him greatly benefit from Rage.

His attacks are pretty straightforward: high damage and knockback, while those that lack power can be used for combos. Down Tilt is a fantastic move that can lead to great follow ups; it can combo with itself, and also has a small chance of tripping opponents, which can lead to Forward Tilt, Dash Attack or grab. Up Tilt can also combo with itself at lower percentages, and can lead to many aerial setups. All of Donkey Kong's Smash Attacks are very potent, being able to score earlier KO's due their raw power and range.

Donkey Kong's aerial combat is notable as he has the highest number of Meteor Smashes in the game (Forward and Down Aerials, Headbutt and aerial Hand Slap), all being very powerful and useful as the situation demands. His Back Aerial and Up Aerial can also combo with themselves against opponents with low percentages. Neutral Aerial has high priority and low ending and landing lag, leading to many follow ups if used properly, as well being a good spacing tool.

As for his throws, all of them have great utility. For combos, Down Throw can lead to some guaranteed combos at lower percentages with Forward Tilt or Dash Attack. He can also use the combo setup known as "Ding Dong" by fans, using his Forward Throw (also known as Cargo Throw), where the player jumps once while holding the opponent, throws him/her upwards and finish with Up Aerial, which can lead to earlier KO's on stages such as Battlefield; alternatively, the player can also use Spinning Kong instead of Up Aerial against opponents with low percentages to rack up high damage.

Donkey Kong has very potent Special Moves, all capable of dealing high damage and knockback. A near-fully charged Giant Punch, which is notably more powerful than a fully charged, with higher knockback scaling; while a fully charged grants him super armor frames at the start. His other Special Moves are also able to inflict high shield damage, allowing him to put more pressure on his opponents. Headbutt can break some shields in two or three hits, while Hand Slap also inflicts considerable shield damage in each consecutive hit, being exceptional against opponents blocking near the ledge. Spinning Kong is a great out of shield option that also inflicts considerable shield damage, although lower than his other moves; it also racks up damage quickly while boasting from super armor frames.

His flaws, however, are in his poor vertical recovery (which also means he can't gimp or Meteor Smash opponents near the bottom blast line without suiciding) and his large frame, meaning he is an easy target and can be easily hit and juggled by some characters. His approaches can be hurtful against faster characters, who can punish the ending lag of his moves, and opponents with disjointed hitboxes, that exploit his moves with high range to hit him. Donkey Kong's lack of a projectile also hinders his approach against said types of opponents.

Overall, Donkey Kong is a very potent character with lot of power and speed, and is often considered one of the strongest heavyweight characters. Players must be always in the offensive and use the huge range of his moves to pressure opponents.

Differences from Brawl

Donkey Kong received a quite good amount of buffs. One of the main improvements has been to his overall speed; most of his attacks, such as his Giant Punch, are now performed faster, and his already excellent movement speed has also been greatly increased, allowing him to better keep up with, and in quite a few cases, even out-speed lightweights.

Although he was buffed, Donkey Kong did receive a few noticeable nerfs, mostly to his grab game, which is now slightly weaker (although the "Ding Dong" setup makes him very strong) and his size, which makes him an easy target for juggles and combos.

His design remains mostly the same as in Brawl, but with a brighter color palette, to match his appearance from Donkey Kong Country Returns. His head is also smaller in proportion with his body, as with most of the cast, and his teeth are bright white instead of yellowish. Lastly, all his animations are more fluid, with more expressions to refer to his kinda "goofy" personality.


  • Slightly lower base jump.
  • Heavier and larger.
  • Faster walk speed, dash speed, air speed and falling speed.

Ground Attacks

  • Neutral Attack second hit is faster and with less ending lag. Additionally, the first hit pulls opponents towards Donkey Kong, being useful to Jab Cancel intro grabs.
  • Forward Tilt has slightly more ending lag.
  • Up Tilt has less startup lag and hits in a wider arc.
  • Down Tilt causes less damage.
  • Forward Smash has a larger hitbox, with intangible frames during a small portion of the attack, when Donkey Kong is about to clap his hands.
  • Up Smash has a larger hitbox.
  • Dash Attack has a different animation, being now his signature Barrel Roll from the Donkey Kong Country games. It is faster, covers more distance and has less ending lag, being now more safe on shield. However, it deals less damage.
  • Ledge Attack has a new animation, where Donkey Kong gets up with a forearm club. It is slower and has less range than his old one, but also has less ending lag.

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral Aerial has more landing lag.
  • Forward Aerial has less startup lag, but a has smaller hitbox, with his hands not growing as large. It also has more landing lag and its sourspot deals less damage.
  • Up Aerial has less startup lag and higher vertical range, but also has more landing lag.
  • Back Aerial has slightly more range and damage, but also has more landing lag.
  • Down Aerial has a tweaked animation, with Donkey Kong's leg extending further down while growing slightly, being slightly faster and with higher reach. It now has a sourspot near his chest that inflict less damage and sends opponents more horizontally.

Grabs and Throws

  • Pummel is faster, but deals less damage.
  • Dash Grab is slightly slower, but has less ending lag.
  • Cargo Throw received many tweaks:
    • Cargo Forward Throw deals more damage.
    • Cargo Back Throw deals more damage and knockback, as well sending opponents at a different angle.
    • Cargo Up Throw deals more damage and more knockback scaling, but less base knockback. It can also be used to set the "Ding Dong" setup with Up Aerial or other aerials.
    • Cargo Down Throw deals more damage and knockback. Donkey Kong also hops slightly when using it.
  • Down Throw has a new animation, with Donkey Kong slamming the opponent with both hands rather than shoving with his fist. It has much lower knockback scaling.

Special Attacks

  • Giant Punch charges faster, has faster startup, and has slightly longer reach. It is much more powerful in both damage and knockback when fully charged. However, it no longer causes shield damage, and the faster start up means less super armor frames.
  • Headbutt has more range and inflicts huge shield damage. However, its aerial version deals less damage, less shield damage, has more ending lag and no longer stops Donkey Kong's momentum.
  • Spinning Kong, when used on the ground, now causes Donkey Kong to hit in an angle, increasing the vertical range, however, it deals much less damage (almost 20% less). The aerial version, on the other hand, is now a multi-hit attack which deals more damage.
  • Hand Slap can now be used in midair, where Donkey Kong slaps two times, with the second hit being a Meteor Smash. Its ground version is faster and has larger hitboxes, hitting enemies from a slightly longer distance. However, it has more ending lag.
  • Konga Beat now shows a bar to indicate when the player must hit the attack button. It also slows down time for auto-scrolling stages, preventing Donkey Kong from being left behind, causing suicide.


Ground Attacks

Normal Attacks

  • Neutral Attack: Punches in front of him once and then throws an uppercut.
  • Up Tilt: Swings an open hand in an upward arc over his head.
  • Down Tilt: Swings an open hand along the ground in front of him.
  • Forward Tilt: Swipes a fist in front of him; hits with the back of the fist.
  • Dash Attack: – An attack from the Donkey Kong Country games. Donkey Kong rolls forwards to hit with his whole body.

Smash Attacks

  • Up Smash: Claps his hands above his head.
  • Forward Smash: Claps his hands in front of him.
  • Down Smash: Slams his fists on the ground on both sides.

Other Attacks

  • Ledge Attack: Pounds his fist on the ground as he climbs back up from the ledge.
  • Get-Up Attack: Claps behind him and then in front of him before getting up.

Aerial Attacks

  • Up Aerial: Headbutts in an upward arc above him.
  • Down Aerial: Stamps down with one foot.
  • Neutral Aerial: Rotates in the air with his fists extended.
  • Forward Aerial: Clobbers with both fists in a downward arc in front of him.
  • Back Aerial: Kicks behind him with one foot.

Grabs and Throws

  • Pummel: Hits the opponent with his other hand.
  • Forward Throw: Grabs the opponent with both hands and carries them over his head; can move around and jump while carrying them; once a forward or backward direction is input he will throw them away with both hands.
  • Back Throw: Spins around and hurls the opponent behind him.
  • Down Throw: Slams the opponent on the ground.
  • Up Throw: Turns slightly and tosses the opponent upwards.

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

Donkey Kong's Custom Special Moves
Custom 1 Custom 2
Standard Special Lightning Punch Storm Punch
Side Special Jumping Headbutt Stubborn Headbutt
Up Special Chopper Kong Kong Cyclone
Down Special Focused Slap Hot Slap


Up Taunt: Beats his chest.

Side Taunt: Shakes around.

Down Taunt: Looks at the camera, raises his hands to the sides as if to shrug and growls.

In competitive play

To be added

Trophy Description

Donkey Kong


This king of the jungle really, really loves bananas. His adventures usually start with people stealing his hoard of them. In Smash Bros., he's known for his incredible strength and long reach. Despite his size, he's still pretty quick. He can even jump carrying heavy items! Use this knowledge well.

  • SNES - Donkey Kong Country (11/1994)
  • Wii - Donkey Kong Country Returns (11/2010)

Donkey Kong (Alt.)


Donkey Kong pulls no punches when it comes to fighting. Or headbutts, as it turns out. His Headbutt special move will bury those on the ground who get hit, leaving them open to some serious damage. If Donkey Kong strikes airborne foes with this move, they'll go crashing downward.

  • Same as above

Donkey Kong + Barrel Train

This mean machine may look like it was meant for the tracks, but really it was made to soar. That fine wood finish isn't so great in the water, though. I bet more than a few players have fond memories of the Barrel Train and its first driver, Diddy Kong.

Other features

To be added

Costume Gallery

Donkey Kong Palette (SSB4).png



  • His forward throw is a reference to the original Donkey Kong arcade game when the gorilla lifted barrels and other objects above his head before throwing them.
  • His Final Smash is pulled from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and features Donkey Kong's theme song.
  • Donkey Kong's crowd chant in this game references the "DK Rap" from Donkey Kong 64.


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