Donkey Kong 3 (NES) review
"What this means is you can't leave a section of the screen unwatched. Do so and you're likely to lose a life. You have to guard the flowers but generally the path to success is avoiding bugs while you pelt the ape with spray until he is backed up against the top of the screen. When he reaches the top, the stage is over and you can advance to the next. The problem is that your spray is rather weak, as a general rule."
In the modern age of games, a franchise means a lot. You see Mega Man X6 and you think of a blue bomber running through narrow corridors, blasting away at foes with a weakened form of what the last boss used to nearly end your career. Or Lara Croft peers around a corner in a dark tomb, chest heaving, guns at the ready. This is a franchise in the new millenium. Oddly enough, though, things weren't always that way. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than with Donkey Kong 3, one of Nintendo's early releases that proves some developers were willing to implement sweeping changes to a franchise in as little as a year or two.
The story of Donkey Kong 3, which is described only in the instruction manual if you manage to find the game and such a thing, consists of Stanley the gardener. He's a cheerful lad, from what I can tell, who has one problem: a giant ape has broken into the greenhouse and is stirring up trouble. The ape, of course, is Donkey Kong (also known for kidnapping Mario's girlfriend, taking her to the top of a construction site or four, and giving us one of the most beloved heroes video games have ever seen).
Your goal, then, is to stop Donkey Kong by working through repetitive levels. Your weapon is bug spray. Your enemies are the ape himself, caterpillars, and various flying insects. These include bees and flies, for the most part. The insects are intent on two things: stealing flowers and killing you. When a level starts, five flowers are at the bottom of the screen. You must protect those to complete a stage and earn more points. At the same time, you're keeping an eye on the ape. He's sliding down two vines and stirring up bees and such as he does so.
What this means is you can't leave a section of the screen unwatched. Do so and you're likely to lose a life. You have to guard the flowers but generally the path to success is avoiding bugs while you pelt the ape with spray until he is backed up against the top of the screen. When he reaches the top, the stage is over and you can advance to the next. The problem is that your spray is rather weak, as a general rule. From time to time, powerful spray will appear on a vine and Donkey Kong will knock it down if you push him up far enough. With that in hand, getting through another stage or two is a simple matter of jumping up just beneath the ape and letting loose with your spray.
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Staff review by Jason Venter (November 25, 2002)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
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