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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!

Rating: 9/10

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

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