You Can't Go Wrong With Donkey Kong, But....
(Note: This is for the 2004 "NES Classics" version, not the e-Reader card.)
Donkey Kong remains a timeless classic, as well as the launching point for two of Nintendo's biggest stars: Mario and Donkey Kong. So much has been said about the Donkey Kong arcade game, that it's simply one of gaming's biggest legends. It's a fun game with catchy music, memorable characters, fun animations and lots of challenge. Simply put, the game has stood the test of time, and remains as fun to play now as it was then.
The GBA version also saves your high score, so that's something also to be noted.
That said, here lies one of the biggest mysteries the NES ever created: Why, oh why, could the system brought us the "Super Mario Bros." and "Legend of Zelda" series, simply not give us the Pie Factory level? Why is it missing animations and in-between screens? I can understand the older systems like the ColecoVision and Atari 2600, but not the NES. And why am I criticizing the NES version when I am reviewing the GBA version? Because the "NES Classics" version is a straight port of that version.
This means no "How High Can You Go" screens, no opening Donkey Kong climb to the top of the first level, and no Pie Factory. The NES was capable of producing huge, in-depth games. They made a lot of cuts with their flagship title, and this GBA port carries every single glaring flaw. In some ways, I wish Nintendo would have just simply cheated and had given us the full game when they brought it over to the GBA.
The Bottom Line
Again, "Donkey Kong" still remains a lot of fun, but don't expect the complete experience, or you'll be sorely disappointed. The full version is something of a console rarity as it stands as only the original Game Boy remake and the hidden game in "Donkey Kong 64" are the only recent titles to house the full experience.
The GBA version is cheap fun for its $15-$20 price tag, so while it's still recommended to people who want to enjoy the game on the go, but be forewarned as to what you're getting into. "Donkey Kong" enthusiasts, step right up. "Donkey Kong" purists, you have been warned....