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Donkey Kong Package Art

Donkey Kong

It’s simple. Miyamoto’s 1994 remake, Donkey Kong, joins Tetris, Pokemon, and a few select others as one of the most famous Game Boy titles of all time. Yet, what is so jaw dropping about a wild, overgrown ape and some dirty Italian plumber hunting said ape with a hammer on the classic screen of green? Presentation, of course. Donkey Kong remains one of the most enjoyable titles ever to grace the gaming world, bursting with replay value and mind-bending puzzles that become increasingly difficult as one progresses. Read on and find out why every man wanted DK in his pants (within a Game Boy unit, you sickos!), and why this still holds true today in large pockets of our population.


While the only colors are black and white draped by a coating of pea green, the shades of said colors are many in number, providing clear perception of depth, space, and surrounding. One can make out DK's individual facial features, as well as the various expressions of critters lining Donkey Kong’s many levels. With limited particle effects, given the hardware, most of the "temporary" matter would disappear instantaneously -- or in the case of the briefly activated floorings -- fade from one end to the other until completely dissipated. Just like the Neutrogena in your water closet, these graphics are (pleasantly) clean, clear, and under control!


The track in DK was designed with both puzzle solving and twitch intensive action elements in mind. For example, if you’re in the process of deciding which switches to activate for the necessary progression, a series of tinny blips punctuates the curious tones of a boggled Mario. On the other end of the musical spectrum, running out of time, wielding the legendary hammer (which I like to call “DK’s Bane”), and going head to head with the gorilla all provide their own unique, fast paced melodies. It is the timing and precision of these musical cues that leave you so exactly on edge, or in a calmer state of intense observation.


The backbone of Miyamoto-San’s debut masterpiece is formed through the seamless fusion of some basic platforming mechanics with the frantic puzzle/board gameplay that dominated games of the earliest generation (i.e. Pac-Man & Tetris).

Basically, Donkey Kong has kidnapped Pauline (a warped alter-ego of Princess Peach), and it is up to Mario to save her. He has to climb and battle his way up, hanging from prongs, swinging from ropes, climbing along ladders, and proceed with caution. Every four levels Mario will face off with DK himself, who throws barrels around with reckless abandon. Mario can, in turn, try and evade them with his acrobatics, or crush them with a hammer. Working his way up, he needs to stun DK three times by throwing these barrels/items directly at him (once the barrels have come to rest, that is). Of course, just when it would seem Mario has him defeated, DK recovers promptly and re-whisks away your sweet little Pauly.

With a single hit or tumble resulting in one’s death, it is key that the player is constantly under control of the situation, watching every step with meticulous care, devising a careful plan of attack to complete each level. Even if one can see it -- the question remains -- how does one get there? The proper selection of switches, strings, and whatnot can effectively alter the environment in a way that makes it conducive to retrieving the desired key and getting the hell out. However, a stringent time limit and a hodgepodge of enemies up the ante a bit, which provides a challenging experience for even the most seasoned gamer.




The innovation, the magic, and the enchantment that Nintendo fans have grown up with and continued to adore started right here, folks. Reinventing this magic on their first handheld system was the natural thing to do, and the results couldn’t be more pleasing. Many an hour you’ll spend with this game, if you haven’t already. That said, I’d expect nothing less from the emotion-invoking masterminds that hail from the fortified developmental arm of Nintendo’s timeless empire.

final score 9.0/10

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Staff Avatar William Jacques
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"Oh oblivious, naïve Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."

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