Before Donkey Kong Country was the game we all know, it was Donkey Kong and the Golden Bananas. Long time Rare designer Gregg Mayles has been tweeting out all sorts of art and concepts from the early stages of the SNES hit, which Rare developed in the early '90s.
In the picture above you can see two main villains names Krash and Krudd. While Krash is more akin to a normal beefy Kremlin, Krudd is the inspiration for K. Rool, main villain of the original DKC trilogy. No popped eye ball or protruding gut here. Just one mean looking crocodile with some plated armour and a cape. I almost like him better.
Not much is known about Donkey Kong and the Golden Bananas, but Mayles did reveal a shiney guide with some basic DK art.
Upon looking inside we find some very poorly drawn art regarding Donkey Kong himself and the original story for the game.
Apparently DK is advanced enough to wear sunglasses, but not to invest in a safe for this grandpa's golden banana.
Above we have Junior, who is pretty much just Diddy with a "J" on his shirt. Though I'm sure he was just a modern version of the original Donkey Kong Jr. at this point. I guess they hadn't quite tied it all together at this point.
Next we have some concept art for Donkey Kong as he would appear in the game. Definitely more cartoony then he turned out with his pseudo-3D graphics. You'll notice he is also missing his signature tie.
Speaking of which, here's some early looks at DK in the 3D realm. Still no tie.
Very shiney and muscly.
Apparently Shigeru Miyamoto, Donkey Kong's original creator, faxed over the picture below suggesting DK wear a tie. That's more like it.
Last but not least we have a look at some of DK's animal pals, which were a staple for every one of the Donkey Kong Country games to date. Many of these animal ideas never materialised in any of the games, but it's interesting to think of how they might have looked and functioned within the games we know.
Mr. Mayles is likely not done sharing these documents, so check him out on twitter for more.