Donkey Kong '94 is an update to the original Donkey Kong arcade game. In addition to featuring the first four levels from the original arcade game, this new adventure goes on to feature eight additional worlds that add an entirely new form of gameplay to the the original story of Mario rescuing Pauline from Donkey Kong. Where before Mario simply had to reach the top of the stage, he now found himself forced to chase Donkey Kong for miles and miles across varying locations and past dozens of identical locked doors sitting mysteriously out in the open. Eventually, Donkey Kong Jr. will join into the fray. He will interfere in both boss stages and normal stages, doing his best to make life difficult for Mario.
The game is also notable for its heavy use in promotion for the Super Game Boy, featuring an enhanced color palette as well as a game border resembling the original arcade machine.
Donkey Kong '94 is a hybrid platforming puzzle game. Mario's goal is to drag a key to a locked door. He must accomplish this task by outwitting enemies and finding his way past obstacles while holding onto the key. The key will disappear and return to it's starting point if he lets go of it for too long. Mario is much more acrobatic, being able to jump, do handstands, perform a triple-jump, and perform backwards somersaults. In this version Mario can only be hit once before he dies, although taking a hit from an enemy will only result in Mario being stunned for a moment. Mario does not have the ability to fall infinite distances in this game, if he plummets too far and lands on a solid surface, he will strike his head and die on impact. There are no powerups in this game, Mario's abilities at the start are the same as the abilities he has at the end. However, there are extra lives scattered throughout many stages, and a hat, parasol, and handbag hidden in every stage that has a key. If all of these items are collected, a mini-game will begin after the stage is finished which will allow Mario to gain more extra lives.
Every four stages, Mario must complete a boss stage where Donkey Kong will attempt to slow him down in a manner similar to the way he did in the original arcade game. Reaching Pauline will complete these levels. At the end of every world Mario and Donkey Kong duke it out. Mario must defeat Donkey Kong by hitting him with the barrels that he flings at Mario. After doing this enough times he will win the battle and proceed to the next world. After every boss fight, a cutscene plays which demonstrates one of Mario's abilities or a new gameplay mechanic while showing Mario and Donkey Kong moving into a new area.
Each world has a certain mechanic that the player must use, such as levers to create bridges or buttons to create ladders.
World 0: Construction Site
World 1: The Big City
World 2: The Forest
World 3: Sailing Ship
World 4: The Jungle
World 5: The Desert
World 6: Airplane
World 7: Iceberg
World 8: Rocky Valley
World 9: The Tower