I'd certainly like to see more control over the creatures you control, as you suggested there was problems doing this in DK1 because the AI wouldn't do as you wanted it to. Taking specific tiles etc wasn't possible, just dig and claim.
DK1 by far, the flexibility of the game when compared with DK2 vastly outweighs things in my eyes. Was quite dissapointed with how DK2 turned out as well, so much so that I never finished it, got bored and uninstalled. DK1 still shines as one of my all time favourite games to this day.