|Date||1996 or 1997|
|Engine||TomSoft's Lion King III engine|
|Sound engine||Konami/Hidenori Maezawa (Super Contra)|
Panda Baby plays similarly to Donkey Kong Country and runs on the same Tomsoft SDK engine The Lion King III: Timon & Pumbaa uses. The titular character can crawl, jump with the B button and roll into enemies with the A button. Unlike Donkey Kong Country, he lacks a partner and a single hit will cause him to lose a life. You're also unable to run unlike in Donkey Kong Country. Similar to other Donkey Kong Country ports, it lacks many other elements such as animal morphs and bonus levels, making it more of a straightforward platform game.
There are three playable levels: two jungle levels and an underwater level. Many of the enemies are based on the ones from Donkey Kong Country although some have been drawn into something else. (One example is the Kremlings in the first level are what appear to be jumping bears). The bananas have been replaced with bamboo but they reward points instead. The second jungle levels require Panda Baby to climb some vines. In the underwater level, Panda Baby will swim in whichever direction you hold. In the first two jungle levels; you must defeat a boss before going through the exit. The first boss is a triceratops that needs to be stomped on or rolled into when standing still. The second boss is a man with a club that either needs to be stomped on three times or rolled into once in order to be defeated.
While Dragon Co.'s games are notorious for being poor in quality, Panda Baby is notable for not only being unusually glitchy but also unfinished. The collision with not only enemies but also platforms is notably worse than other Dragon Co's games. Collecting bamboo can sometimes cause Panda Baby to teleport and climb air. On the second stage, the boss can be despawned if incitated to go beyond the right side of the screen, making the level unbeatable. When underwater, getting killed after the checkpoint will cause Panda Baby to respawn not in a swimming state but rather one that suits overworld stages; any movement will cause him to fall to his death and he'll be stuck like this until a game over. The underwater level also can't be finished; exiting will cause Panda Baby to glitch out to the top of the screen. There are two other levels that can't be accessed normally: a cave level with an impossible jump and a mine cart level where once you reach the end of the level, you fall to your death. (These can be accessed by altering RAM address 0340 to 03 and 04 respectively before pressing Start.) The ending (Which can be accessed under value 07 with the same address.) also appears unfinished; the music doesn't load (despite the track being within the ROM) and it only contains a simple background, an animation with Panda Baby and his girlfriend and no message.
- Panda Baby release differs from the other Dragon Co. titles in many different ways:
- The cover is original and does not reuse existing art.
- The cover is cut differently, the corners are way less rounded.
- The ID does not match with the rest of Dragon Co. titles (Panda Baby being the only known release under the DJ line).
- The Dragon logo lacks the gold plate seen on all others Dragon Co's covers.
- As noted above, the game seems unfinished and looks like it hasn't been playtested. There's a possibility that this game was originally cancelled and Dragon Co. released it way later in the company's life before Dragon Co. went defunct. This would also explain its rarity.
- Similar to other Dragon Co. games, the ROM contains the Tomsoft developer credit. It also contains leftover text from 2500 A.D. Linker Version 4.01f, an assembler suite.
- Despite the obvious fact that Donkey Kong was replaced with Panda Baby, the first level retains the "DK" sign from Donkey Kong's house.
- While there are checkpoint barrels in the underwater level and the mine cart level, they actually act as hazards instead of granting you checkpoints.
- There are some unused graphics, some of them contain a basketball, a laser gun, an alien-looking creature and a gorilla with a basketball. It's unknown if they were intended for Panda Baby or not but the ones listed appear at the end of the CHR.
- This is not the only Donkey Kong Country bootleg that replaces the main characters with pandas; Ka Sheng's The Panda Prince also uses the same concept although it stays closer to the original source.
|List of games by Dragon Co.|