The world list in Donkey Kong Country 2 tallies up to eight total, one more than in Donkey Kong Country. There is also the newly introduced Lost World that requires a total of fifteen Kremkoins (the in-game currency) to access one level. The eight worlds are:
There are six bosses in the game (seven in the Game Boy Advance version). The final boss, Kaptain K. Rool, is battled twice within the story: once in The Flying Krock and again in the Lost World. The seven bosses are:
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The game now has an intro that can be viewed if the player creates a new file. The intro is based on the prologue from the original version's manual.
A new animation has been added to Dixie: Balancing at the edge of a platform, just like Diddy and Donkey did in Donkey Kong Country.
Some characters have voice clips, most are copied from Donkey Kong 64 (Dixie has the same voice as Tiny).
The world maps have been remodeled and zoomed in just like in the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country.
A cheat was removed where you could earn every Kremkoin in the game in the first stage.
Castle Crush, Clapper's Cavern and Windy Well have all exchanged positions in level order, all which are levels of K. Rool's Keep.
Kerozene is the new boss of Stronghold Showdown in K. Rool's Keep, replacing the cutscene of Donkey Kong being dragged to The Flying Krock.
Some characters, notably enemies, have gained or lost game sprites.
There are three new minigames: Funky's Flights II, Expresso Racing and Bag-a-Bug.
Monkey Museum is renamed to Cranky's Hut, much like in the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country on where Cranky's Cabin was also renamed to Cranky's Hut.
The player can travel to a different world for free at any time, as long as the challenge in Gangplank Galleon has been completed.
On the world map, the push of the START button brings up a menu that lets the player save the game, keep track of his/her status, advice from Cranky and Wrinkly, and an option for the game to be quit.
The player no longer uses Kong Kollege to save his/her game and is not charged for it after he/she save the game at least once in the world.
Boss rematches now cost ten Banana Coins and also are timed. You can continue to play them and improve your times. Some players didn't like this change as the SNES version and all the other Donkey Kong Country games have them free.
There is a new time attack mode called Diddy's Dash.
The Warp Barrels hidden in certain worlds now have a new design.
Levels now include a feather that is hidden within each one of them.
There's a thunderstorm during the battle with Kleever. This is only during the first battle and not during a rematch.
Like the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country, there are little animals in the background including birds, small Winkies and spiders.
The game saves the amount of Banana Coins and extra lives collected, a feature that has been criticized for eliminating the challenge from the game.
Cranky talks to the player after he/she defeated a boss. In the original version, Diddy would play his boom box or Dixie would play her electric guitar, depending on which one defeated the boss.
The title screen is different and is identical to the SNES version's boxart. In the European version, it resembles the boxart of Donkey Kong Land 2 and in the Japanese version, it resembles the promotional art for Krem Quay.
Candy Kong makes a cameo in the game as Swanky's assistant in Swanky's Bonanza.
The song Run, Rambi! Run! is removed from the level Rambi Rumble. However, it can still be heard in Sound Test mode. The new song is the same one used in Screech's Sprint.
Kackles no longer have a different colored cap to indicated their difficulty and rather all wear blue caps.
The two endings can only be seen once per file. Though, the KREDITS cheat allows the player to watch the credits whenever he/she desires.
A Cheats menu has been added which allows the player to enter certain cheats to affect gameplay depending on the cheat.
In the rollercoaster levels, Target Terror and Rickety Race, the background was changed from night to early morning, and the screams heard in the music is removed.