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    FAQ by War Doc

    Version: 1.01 | Updated: 08/28/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                               | D O N K E Y   K O N G |
                  GAME:  DONKEY KONG
              PLATFORM:  ARCADE
                 GENRE:  ARCADE SHOOTER
               CREATOR:  NINTENDO OF AMERICA Copyright 1981
    AUTHOR OF THIS FAQ:  Kevin Butler AKA War Doc
                E-MAIL:  kevinb(at)technologist(dot)com
           FAQ VERSION:  1.01
                                  TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1.  Legal Stuff
    2.  Version Information
    3.  Acknowledgements
    4.  Welcome
    5.  Overview
    6.  The Game
        6.1  The Controls
        6.2  The Playing Fields
        6.3  Scoring
        6.4  The Levels
    7.  Playing the Game
        7.1  Girder
        7.2  Rivet
        7.3  Elevator
        7.4  Pie Factory
    8.  Conclusion
    To find a particular chapter or subchapter do the following:
    1.  Highlight the chapter or subchapter name you wish to find.
    2.  Press CTRL-C
    3.  Press CTRL-F
    4.  Press CTRL-V
    5.  Press CTRL-F
    5.  You will arrive at the desired chapter or subchapter.
    ********************************* U N I T  I **********************************
    | 1.  LEGAL STUFF |============================================================
    This guide may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal
    private use.  It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
    publicly without advanced permission from the author.  Use of this guide on
    any other web sit or as part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and
    a violation of copyright.  All content in this guide is Copyright 2003 by
    Kevin Butler.  Only the sites listed below have permission to publish this
    work or to display it:
    If you wish to put this guide on your site, e-mail me and ask.  Save yourself
    the headache of putting up with lawsuits and whatnot because you failed to ask
    a simple "Can I post your guide on <insert site>?".  If you wish to use info
    in this guide, please acknowledge that you have done so.
    If you see this guide on any other site then the one listed above, please
    e-mail me.  If you wish to ask questions or give input to this guide, please
    e-mail me.  Just have Donkey Kong as the subject so I know it isn't another
    kooky vendor trying to sell me hair gel or another XXX site telling me I have
    new friends.
    | 2.  VERSION INFORMATION |====================================================
    Version 1.0   7/29/03:  A guide is born.
    Version 1.01  8/28/03:  Fixed a couple of errors.
    | 3.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS |=======================================================
    The following are a list of people or organizations that have made this FAQ
    My wonderful family (who has had to put up with the tapping on the keyboard)
    Nintendo of America for making a great arcade game
    GameFAQ's for putting up this FAQ
    | 4.  WELCOME |================================================================
    Welcome to my FAQ for Donkey Kong.  Since the game has you continuously
    rescuing the fair damsel until all your men are killed, there is no walkthrough
    per se.  Instead it will be broken up into the game itself and strategies for
    survival.  Input is appreciated along with constructive criticism.  If you wish
    to e-mail me thoughts on this FAQ, better ways of doing things, other
    strategies, etc., feel free.  Make sure you put Donkey Kong as the subject.  If
    you don't, I'm liable to discard the e-mail as spam.
    | 5.  OVERVIEW |===============================================================
    Donkey Kong Nintendo's first breakthrough into America.  Before that, Nintendo
    had a hard time trying to get anything into the United States.  It proved to be
    smart decision since the popularity of the game took off in spectacular
    fashion.  Nintendo established their headquarters of Nintendo of America to
    ensure that the game was being distributed properly.  It was one of the first
    games to feature four separate screens of action.  By mixing up the screens,
    the game created many possibilities for different levels.  After winning a
    couple of lawsuits, Nintendo licensed out Donkey Kong to manufacturers who
    created the table top games.  Although Donkey Kong allowed Nintendo to put its
    foot in the door, it wasn't until the first home gaming system made it to the
    United States that Nintendo was forever firmly entrenched in the United States.
    It also first established the character Mario (who originally started out as a
    carpenter).  Good luck on rescuing the lady.
    ******************************** U N I T  II **********************************
    | 6.  THE GAME |===============================================================
    Donkey Kong is a two-dimensional, platform style game.  Some big old stubborn
    ape has kidnapped your lady and taken her to the top of a structure.  Since he
    took your lady, your main purpose in life is to go up after Donkey Kong, get
    your lady, and hopefully be able to get in a shot or two on the monkey.  Your
    trip to the top, though, won't be easy since there are a few obstacles that you
    must go through or around.  Obstacles such as wayward barrels, nasty little
    flames, and baked pies are just some you must deal with.  Of course, once you
    clear one part of a level, there is yet another building to climb and more
    enemies to deal with.  All in a days work.
    / 6.1  The Controls /__________________________________________________________
    The controls on this game are very easy.  It may, though, take just a little
    bit of time to get used to them.
    -  A four way joystick for moving left, right, up, and down
    -  A jump button.
    / 6.2  The Playing Fields /____________________________________________________
    Donkey Kong actually consists of four playing fields.  It's the way the game
    mixes up the fields that determines certain levels.  Each field has it's own
    nuances along with any enemies and other special features.  I have included an
    example of what these fields look like (and also given them my own names since
    I don't recall some of the real names):
                                     | GIRDER |
        |                      H H                    LEVEL->L=             |
        |            LADDER->  H H                           +-BONUS-+      |
        |                      H H_________                  +-------+      |
        |                      H H        H                  |  8000 |      |
        |                      H H        H                  +-------+      |
        |______________________H_H________H_                                |
        |                          H        ------------------              |
        |                  BROKEN  H                          ------H--     |
        |      T <-HAMMER  LADDER->                                 H       |
        |                                                 __________H_______|
        |                          H    ------------------      H           |
        |     --H---------H--------H----                        H           |
        |       H         H                                                 |
        |_______H_________H                                                 |
        |               H  ------------------                   H           |
        |               H                    H------------------H----H--    |
        |                                    H                       H      |
        |                                    H            ___________H______|
        |               H                ----H------------                  |
        |     -H--------H------------H---                        T          |
        |      H                     H                                      |
        |______H___________          H                                      |
        |                   --H------H-------                               |
        | +---+                              ------------------------H--    |
        | |   | <-FIRE BARREL                                        H      |
        |_|___|_______________H________------------------------------H--    |
                                      | RIVET |
        |                                     LEVEL-> L=                    |
        |                                             +-BONUS-+             |
        |                        __________________   +-------+             |
        |                             |       |       |  8000 |             |
        |                             |       |       +-------+             |
        |      UMBRELLA---->U         |       |                             |
        |                   _____R____|_______|____R____                    |
        |                   H     H              H     H                    |
        |                   H     H       T      H     H <-LADDER           |
        |                   H     H              H     H                    |
        |              _____H____RH______________H_R___H_____               |
        | HAMMER->T    H                  H                 H               |
        |              H   RIVET-+        H                 H               |
        |              H         V        H                 H               |
        |         _____H_________R________H________R________H_____  PIANO   |
        |         H                H             H               H    |     |
        |         H                H             H               H    V     |
        |         H                H             H               H    P     |
        |     ____H______________R_H_____________H_R_____________H_____     |
        |     H                           H                           H     |
        |     H                           H                           H     |
        |     H                           H     C <-CAN               H     |
                                    | ELEVATOR |
        |                      H H                    LEVEL->L=             |
        |            LADDER->  H H                           +-BONUS-+      |
        |                      H H_________                  +-------+      |
        |                      H H        H                  |  8000 |      |
        |                      H H        H                  +-------+      |
        |______________________H_H________H____________________             |
        |             |                       |               H      CAN->C |
        | UMBRELLA    |                       |               H          ___|
        |  |          |                       |               H     ___  H  |
        |  V          |                       |               H__        H  |
        |  U        _____ <-ELEVATOR          |         ____             H  |
        |_____        |       ______          |          H          _____H__|
        |    H        |       H    H          |          H          H       |
        |    H        |       H    H          |          H          H       |
        |    H        |       H    H          |          H__        H       |
        |    H        |       H    H        _____             ___   H       |
        |    H        |       H    H          |                     H__     |
        |    H        |       H    H          |                          ___|
        |    H      _____     H    H          |                          H  |
        |____H        |       H    H          |                          H  |
        |  H          |  PIANO->P  H          |                         _H__|
        |  H          |       H____H          |                    ___      |
        |  H          |                       |               ___           |
        |  H          |                     _____                           |
        |__H__        |                       |         ____                |
        |             |                       |                             |
                                   | PIE FACTORY |
        |                      H H                    LEVEL->L=             |
        |            LADDER->  H H                           +-BONUS-+      |
        |                      H H_________                  +-------+      |
        |                      H H        H                  |  8000 |      |
        |                      H H        H                  +-------+      |
        |  H                                                             H  |
        |  H                           FIRE BARREL                       H  |
        |  H <-LADDER MOVES UP & DOWN    +--+   LADDER MOVES UP & DOWN-> H  |
        |__H____________________________0|  |O___________________________H__|
        |    H                        H  +--+  H                       H    |
        | T  H                        H        H                       H    |
        |    H            PIANO->P    H        H               UMBRELLA- >U |
        |____H________________   _____H________H_____   _______________H____|
        |                        H                  H                       |
        |                        H       T<-HAMMER  H                       |
        |                        H                  H                       |
        |    H                       H             H                   H    |
        |    H                       H             H                   H    |
        |    H                       H CAN->C      H                   H    |
    You control Mario through these four screens.
    / 6.3  Scoring /_______________________________________________________________
    Scoring in this game is pretty simple:
    Jumping Red or Blue Barrels:
    1 Barrel:            100 points
    2 Barrels:           300 points
    3 Barrels:           500 points
    4 Barrels and more:  800 points
    Jumping over a Fire Monster:  100 points
    Destroying Red Barrels with hammer:  300 points
    Destroying Blue Barrels with hammer:  500 points
    Destroying Fire Monsters:  500 points
    Picking up the Can, Piano, and/or the Umbrella:
    Level 1:  300 points
    Level 2:  500 points
    Level 3:  800 points
    Every level after 3 is 800 points
    Bonus points (starting):
    Level 1:  5000 points
    Level 2:  6000 points
    Level 3:  7000 points
    Level 4:  8000 points
    Every level after 4 is 8000 points
    You start with 3, 4, 5, or 6 lives.  You get a free man at 7,000, 10,000,
    15,000, or 20,000 points.
    / 6.4  The Levels /____________________________________________________________
    The levels in Donkey Kong are arranged in a specific order.  All levels after
    Level 05 are the same.  Use this key to determine the order of playing fields
    within a level:
              G  = GIRDER; R  = RIVET; E  = ELEVATOR; PF = PIE FACTORY
                 | HEIGHT   | 25m | 50m | 75m | 100m | 125m | 150m |
                 | LEVEL 01 |  G  |  R  |--------------------------|
                 | LEVEL 02 |  G  |  E  |  R  |--------------------|
                 | LEVEL 03 |  G  |  PF |  E  |   R  |-------------|
                 | LEVEL 04 |  G  |  PF |  G  |   E  |   R  |------|
                 | LEVEL 05 |  G  |  PF |  G  |   E  |   G  |   R  |
    ******************************** U N I T  III *********************************
    | 7.  PLAYING THE GAME |=======================================================
    When you start the game, Mario will start at the fire barrel on the bottom
    level of the Girders.  Your job is to navigate him to the top so that he can
    progress to the next levels.  What I will do here is break down the levels and
    strategies for each level.
    / 7.1  Girder /________________________________________________________________
    -  On Level 01, the Girders are pretty easy.  Donkey Kong will start the show
    by dropping a barrel into the fire barrel igniting it.  After a couple of
    seconds, a Fire Monster will jump out and dance about.  On the later Girder
    screens, Donkey Kong will throw the barrel diagonal toward the lower right
    corner.  If you are running toward that ladder, you and the barrel may have an
    unexpected encounter.  On the later levels, it's better to hesitate briefly,
    then start running so you can jump that barrel.
    -  Donkey Kong releases a barrel about every 2 seconds.  This does not mean,
       however, that the barrels will all come at you at a uniform rate.  Some
       barrels will fall down the ladders, whether they are broken or not, before
       reaching the end of a platform.  This can cause the barrels to bunch up in
       2's, 3's, and even 4's.  Be wary when attempting to jump too many barrels
       since you don't have the horizontal range to jump too many.
    -  Also remember to have enough overhead clearance when jumping barrels.  If
       Mario's head goes above the platform above, he may hit a barrel rolling
       down that platform.  This problem is especially true at the ends of the
    -  In the later levels, the barrels seem to go for Mario.  To offset this a
       bit, go just a little past a ladder.  The barrel may drop giving you an
       opening at a ladder farther down the platform.
    -  The hammer can be either your greatest friend or your worst hindrance.  It
       lasts anywhere from 5-7 seconds.  Here are some hammering tips:
       -  Remember, you cannot jump or climb ladders when you have the hammer.
       -  Be wary of trying to hammer barrels that are close together.  You will
          take out the first barrel, but the second barrel will get you when Mario
          is swinging the hammer up.  It's better to do a quick back and forth jog
          so that you can get the second barrel.
       -  If Mario stands at the end of a platform so the one above is right above
          his head, he can destroy barrels before they drop to his level.  Again,
          watch out for how much hammering time you have or a barrel may drop on
          you right when your hammer goes away.
    -  If there is a barrel coming down the platform above and you are about ready
       to climb a ladder, wait for a moment.  If you are on the ladder, the barrel
       may decide to take a short cut and land on your head.  This becomes more
       prevalent in the higher levels.
    -  As you proceed into the higher levels, Donkey Kong does not always play
       fair.  He has a tendency to throw barrels diagonally or even to drop them to
       the next platform.  Be ready to expect the unexpected at the later levels.
    -  Although the Fire Monster on this screen is rather sedate, it still can pose
       a danger.  If you take too long on the level, the Fire Monster will
       eventually climb the ladders to higher platforms so it is important to move
       up quickly and safely.
    / 7.2  Rivet /_________________________________________________________________
    This is probably one of the easiest levels to go through.
    -  There is no real pattern to taking out the rivets holding the girders.  What
       you must really be wary of are the Fire Monsters.  At the later levels, the
       Fire Monsters move quite a bit faster and they become more aggressive.
    -  One tactic is to get on one side of the rivet.  Right as a Fire Monster gets
       right next to Mario, jump backward over the rivet.  You will gain 100 points
       and remove the rivet.  Fire Monsters cannot cross the gap created by the
       missing rivet.
    -  Make sure you don't accidentally jump into Donkey Kong when you are on the
       upper platform.  This will lead to a premature end for Mario real quick.
    -  You can jump into the side walls away from the girders and they will bounce
       you back onto the girder you were on.  This move is usually for if you are
       surrounded by Fire Monsters and there is nowhere left to go.
    / 7.3  Elevator /______________________________________________________________
    Probably the hardest level in Donkey Kong.  It's the one that players have the
    most trouble with.
    -  Mario will start out on the bottom of the rightmost girder.  This level has
       a few hazards you must negotiate:
       -  The gaps between the girders.  A sure hand and jump at the right place
          will prevent tragedy.
       -  The elevators themselves can be hazardous if you don't jump off in time.
          Mario will be caught in the gears either in the uppermost or lowermost
       -  The springs themselves are a hazard.  If your timing is off, be prepared
          to have Mario squashed by a wayward spring.
    -  There are two routes you can travel to get to the top:  The upper and lower
       routes.  All veteran Donkey Kong players know that the upper route is the
       best route but it takes a little skill.  The reasons for the upper route
       -  You don't have as many jumps to make.  Look at the Elevator screen in
          Chapter 6.2 and you will see that you have a long way to travel via the
          lower route.
       -  You will have to cross the path of the springs twice.  Once while
          traveling on the lowest girders and again when you cross over on the
          highest girders.
       -  These factors create a higher risk for Mario not to make it.
    -  To navigate the top route, do the following:
       -  Get on the first elevator (it is going up).  When you almost get even
          with the top of the next girder to the right, jump onto it.  If a Fire
          Monster is in the way, jump back to the top of the girder on the left.
       -  From the top of that girder, get ready to jump on the next elevator (it
          is going down).  When the elevator is slightly higher then the girder
          Mario is standing on, jump onto it.  Without breaking stride (in other
          words, keep running), jump again to the third set of girders.  Mario will
          have a pretty good arc since you ran him constantly.  You should land on
          the top or second level of that girder.
    -  Climb the ladder onto the girder that Donkey Kong is standing on and don't
       move.  Mario will be right on the edge of that girder.  The springs will get
       very close to Mario (basically shaving his nose) but they won't hit him.
    -  When a spring basically scrapes Mario's nose, take off running toward the
       ladder to the platform with the lady.  This trick will require some timing.
       Run a little past that ladder then immediately turn around and go up the
       ladder.  If this trick is done correctly, Mario will follow the spring that
       just bounced over him and beat the spring right behind it.  This trick works
       on the later levels even when the springs are "double-jumping".
    -  This level requires practice to perfect your techniques.  Fortunately, there
       is only one elevator screen per level after the 03 level.  Remember, Mario
       cannot survive long falls.
    / 7.4  Pie Factory /___________________________________________________________
    Another relatively easy screen.  You just have to watch out for Fire Monsters
    and conveyer belts.
    -  The conveyer belts have a tendency to change direction very quickly.  So if
       you are just under a ladder, you may find yourself being moved in the wrong
       direction.  You may want to jump toward the ladder to reduce this chance.
    -  Watch out for the pies.  They come up randomly and Mario will lose the
       battle if a pie hits him.  The same goes for the Fire Monster that is born
       from the fire barrel.
    -  If Mario goes off the edge of the screen on a conveyer belt he will lose
       that battle.
    -  Look at what the screen looks like in Chapter 6.2.  Any platforms that have
       circles on one or both of the ends are conveyer belts.  That means the very
       bottom and third platforms are not conveyer belts.  Plan your strategy
    -  Once you get up to the fourth platform, depending on what side you are on,
       you must make it to the telescoping ladders.  You can hang on the ladder
       when it is retracted to avoid the pies.  Just make sure the Fire Monster
       isn't around to harass you.  Once the ladder extends to the next platform,
       climb it.
    -  On this level, you don't have to climb the ladder to the platform the lady
       is on.  All you have to do is make it to the platform that Donkey Kong is
    -  As in the elevators, Mario cannot survive long falls such as the distance
       between platform 3 and 2.
    ********************************  U N I T  IV *********************************
    | 8.  CONCLUSION |=============================================================
    When Donkey Kong came out, it was definitely something different and totally
    new.  Many hours were wasted (along with the quarters) to play Donkey Kong.
    This was a game that required more in the skill department then in the luck.
    You actually had to do a little planning if you were going to survive into the
    upper levels.  I remember seeing several Donkey Kong machines side by side
    since they were so popular.  The thing was, they were all being constantly
    used.  Amazing what a game with simple controls and pretty awesome graphics
    (for back then) could do to separate one from their quarters.  Unfortunately,
    it is very rare to find this machine anywhere.  However, through the miracle of
    emulation, a whole new generation is realizing what we "old" folks enjoyed
    those many years ago.  In addition, www.shockwave.com is bringing many of these
    classic games back.  Check out their site to see what ones are there.  I hope
    this guide helps you in being able to get the most amount of gameplay for this
    game.  If you do have other ideas or thoughts, please e-mail me and share them.
    Who knows, maybe I'll start a Q&A Chapter in this guide if enough people ask
    the same questions.  Anyway, thank you again for reading this guide.
    To see other FAQ's I have written please go to:
               ~~~  No trees were harmed in the making of this FAQ ~~~

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