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Donkey Kong

aka: DK, Donkey Kong-e
Moby ID: 574

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 78% (based on 3 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 45 ratings with 1 reviews)

A timeless classic

The Good
If you were wandering through your local arcade in the early Eighties, you would have probably found a classic gem called Donkey Kong. My first glimpse of the game was the tabletop version by Coleco, which contained inferior hardware and featured basic graphics, different sounds, and no animations whatsoever. Then I remember getting the version for my Commodore 64 made by Ocean, which is so faithful to Nintendo’s original coin-op. The game was responsible for introducing us to the Big N’s two major characters – Mario and Donkey Kong – who would eventually say good-bye to each other and feature in their own individual series.

The setting is a construction area consisting of four separate screens, which include construction site, cement factory, elevator level, and finally the rivet level. No matter what screen you’re on, the object is the same: jump over barrels, trays of cement, and fireballs - or use a hammer on them - while making your way to the top. Once there, both Mario and Pauline are together for a few seconds until the gorilla carries her off to the next screen. On the fourth screen, you also have to remove all the rivets by walking over them. Along the way, Mario can grab items belonging to Pauline, such as hats, parasols, and purses for bonus points. Let the bonus counter run out or collide with an enemy, and Mario will lose a life. The game ends when there are no lives left.

The artwork around the cabinet, featuring the main characters, is well designed, and the graphics and animations are impressive. The background music consists of small loops that never grow tired. The “How High Can You Get?” intermission encourages players to have ”just one more go”, not only to get a lot further than their previous game, but also to make their mark on the high score table. The controls are simple, with a joystick used to direct Mario and the one button to jump.

The Bad
Just like most home ports, the coin-op version punishes players who don’t go far enough, denying them access to some levels. On level one, you don’t get to play the cement factory or elevator levels. On level two, only the elevator level is unlocked, and on level three, all four screens are playable. Also, there is a limited amount of time in which you can destroy obstacles with the hammer, but I don’t think this is long enough, even on the earlier levels.

The Bottom Line
Donkey Kong is a popular game that requires you to make your way to the top of the screen to rescue the damsel-in-distress, while avoiding the obstacles that come your way. The graphics, animation, and sound is excellent, but the major disadvantage is the way the game omits some screens on the earlier levels. Official ports and clones were released for a multitude of platforms, and each platform also has its own drawbacks.

Arcade · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2022

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, CalaisianMindthief, jumpropeman.