Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | PC | PS4 | PS5 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | XSX | All

Donkey Kong (Game Boy) artwork

Donkey Kong (Game Boy) review

"You can't get a much better game than this for on the go play. Donkey Kong is the stuff, really it is. It's not what you think: it's not just a little plumber named Mario (formerly Jumpman) leaping over barrels sent his way by an angry ape. There's a lot more to it this time 'round. "

You can't get a much better game than this for on the go play. Donkey Kong is the stuff, really it is. It's not what you think: it's not just a little plumber named Mario (formerly Jumpman) leaping over barrels sent his way by an angry ape. There's a lot more to it this time 'round.

Sure, the first world, world zero, is filled with levels that use the basic Donkey Kong design - run up slanted platforms leaping barrels and climbing ladders and using hammers to crush barrels until you reach the top where Donkey Kong himself is standing, dishing out the punishment. Then, as expected, he'll get angry, take your girl and head up to the next screen, and the next level for you.

Yes, your girl. You're not surprised are you? Why else would a plumber get up from in front of the T.V. to brave such illogical dangers? Only for good sex. This game makes good sense.

Anyway, beyond the basics of area zero, Donkey Kong for the Gameboy gives us another nine worlds and something like 100 levels of platformer/puzzley fun. Things change up in a hurry once the old school basic training zone is behind you. Donkey Kong is still to blame for your troubles, and he often enlists a cute Donkey Kong Jr. (who leaps around adorably as he flicks switches to cause you harm), but now the game isn't about reaching the top of the screen as things cascade down dangerously. Now the game is about moving a key the size of Mario to a locked door. Do that, and it's on to the next level.

Clear enough levels in the Big City, and move onto the next themed world. Your quarry takes you to a Glacier, to a Ship, to the Jungle and to the Desert, among other typical locations. The variety of locales means you get to swim, to brave strong winds and so on. All in the name of bringing a key to locked door. All in the name of bringing your special key to your beloved's locked door. That's some groovy symbolism now that I think about it.

Donkey Kong's visuals are adequate. Everything is large and clearly drawn, but I would have hoped for more quality considering the level of quality of the rest of the game. Ditto for the music, which is at times atmospheric, but is usually completely forgettable. In fact, if there is a weakness in the Donkey Kong armour (and there is! There is! Check out the score for proof!) then it is the underwhelming presentation.

Aside from this, the game is a perfect way to spend a road trip. And in the rare case that you own one of those Super Gameboys like myself, you'll be happy to know that Donkey Kong supports the peripheral quite wholeheartedly. Spunky borders and colour variations are available if you desire to plug this thing in your SNES for big screen viewing.

The challenge is ideal, with things getting steadily harder as you progress from level to level. Early stages fill a single screen, while later challenges span several screens. Ironically, the most difficult puzzles usually entail bringing the key to the locked door over an infuriatingly short distance. The lock will be right there...! It's just that things like steel doors and the like will be in the way. One memorable puzzle involes using special switches to make floors, as well as employing springboards and ladders in midair to carry the grounded key all the way up two screens to where the locked door awaits.

It's all very clever fun and the 90 plus levels will engage you for hours and hours, and perhaps days and days. Donkey Kong is must have for any gamer on the go. Brilliant!

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 09, 2003)

There was a bio here once. It's gone now.

More Reviews by Marc Golding [+]
Streets of Rage 4 (PC) artwork
Streets of Rage 4 (PC)

Deja vu all over again
Wolfchild (SNES) artwork
Wolfchild (SNES)

Child of a lesser God
Vapor Trail (Genesis) artwork
Vapor Trail (Genesis)

Blazes no trails


If you enjoyed this Donkey Kong review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
willreid5 posted March 16, 2020:

Nice! But problem is, this review is under Donkey Kong for Nes...not the gameboy version. sorry.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998 - 2023 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Donkey Kong is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Donkey Kong, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.