Review by ZFS

"Jumpman! You just jump over those barrels to get the prize--Pauline!"



Let's sit down for a moment and just think about that title…Donkey Kong. If that isn't the most wacky, out of this world title you've ever heard for a videogame then I have no clue what possibly could be going on in your head. Sure. We've heard of King Kong or some other type of famous ape, but a Donkey Kong. It's funky, it's odd, and yet at the same time it's interesting. That is just what happens when the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto creates a videogame.

The whole idea behind Donkey Kong is this giant ape has stolen Pauline—the girlfriend of our hero Mario, who is called Jumpman in this game. Donkey Kong goes to the top of a skyscraper and with an unlimited amount of barrels—quite strange indeed—and begins to bombard you by rolling them down the strangely incomplete construction area to make them smack right into our lovable little Jumpman! That, more or less, is the entire idea of Donkey Kong. You have barrels. You have a damsel in distress. And you have a hero. Everything would appear to be in check…

Despite the odd premise, Donkey Kong is actually one of the single most addicting games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The fact that you don't have to put in quarters all the time doesn't help either. But, by no means is it a bad thing that the game is addictive. You'll just have to realize that by playing this game, you're going to be sacrificing some sleep in the process. It really is one of those games that has that “Just one more time, I swear!” to it. As you take Jumpman through a four different levels of umbrella wielding, barrel jumping action, you'll always want to keep giving it another go to see how far you can get. After you complete each of the four levels, you'll have to start all the way back over; the key is that the difficulty gets harder after each restart. So as you breeze through the game at the beginning, you'll have this indescribable rivalry with the game. Like you just know that it has nothing on your mad skills.

Since this game is from back during the arcade era, the game dominantly relies on the whole high score bit. During your playtime, you'll want to get a mad score, right? Nothing better than bragging to your friends about how you're the master of Donkey Kong with your incredible score. The system is setup so that depending on what you jump over or what items you find—like umbrellas—give you points. Each worth a certain numerical value. If you didn't have a desire to continuously jump over barrels, I'm sure you would now!

Graphically speaking, this game is really nothing all that special. It's really old, so expecting anything but simple is going aiming too high. That said, Donkey Kong does have a certain charm in its graphics. There's just something there that makes you really enjoy seeing the game visually, even though its more than run its course in age. From a audio standpoint, Donkey Kong isn't really much better off. This is basically nothing more than beeps and boops. Jumpman makes an oh so lovable little sound when he walks and every time he jumps over a barrel you feel rewarded with a sound of success! The audio in this game is the very definition of “old school.” Not necessarily because of when it was created, but just something indescribable is there that warrants it being called “old school.” Yeah. Plenty of sense made here!

Overall, Donkey Kong is the one game that really shows what Nintendo would be all about in the future. It's a very simple game with a wacky premise, but it somehow all comes together and works. If you never played this in the arcade, you're missing out on some great memories, but with this NES port you'll at least be able to experience one of Nintendo's better games, even by today's standards. This is nothing more than pure fun at its simplest.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/05


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