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Donkey Kong (Atari 2600)

Written by  :  Bob Montgomery (519)
Written on  :  Jun 21, 2007
Platform  :  Atari 2600
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars

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Summary

A pale imitation, but there's still some fun to be had.

The Good

For all it's faults, this version of Donkey Kong has it where it really counts: the gameplay is solid, authentic, and fun. Jumping barrels, climbing ladders, pulling rivets, dodging fireballs, smashing things with a hammer - in the two levels presented, it's all there, but don't expect much more.

The Bad

Donkey Kong really deserved so much more. If this was an original platformer, or an obscure port, this would have a well-deserved place among the better 2600 games. But it has to measure up as Donkey Kong, and it just doesn't: First, the barebones nature of the game: no music, no title screen, none of the cut-scene intermissions or intros. Next, the graphics - is that really supposed to be Donkey Kong? Looks more like a sock puppet! And are those fireballs? I don't think so! More like strange ghosts. And where's the sound? The iconic music? All you get is the squeaky shoes, a jump noise, and two goofy licks: one for when you die and one that plays when you beat a level and when your game is over. More substantially, of the four levels, only two (!) have made it to this version: the barrel level and the rivets level. And the game starts out easy and stays easy. For a long time. If you have the stamina and patience, it does eventually become harder.

The Bottom Line

This version of Donkey Kong is ok, considering the limitations of the 2600 - but it could have been much better. It's a fun game if you can overlook it's shortcomings: flat difficulty curve, extreme repetitiveness, and lackluster graphics/sounds.