The Donkey Kong wiki last edited by MrSensible on 04/15/16 12:33PM View full history

Overview

Donkey Kong enhanced on Super Game Boy
Donkey Kong enhanced on Super Game Boy

Donkey Kong (sometimes referred to as "Donkey Kong '94" or "Game Boy Donkey Kong") is a puzzle-platforming game developed and originally published by Nintendo in 1994 for Game Boy. In addition to featuring four classic levels from the original Donkey Kong arcade game, Mario's quest to rescue Pauline from the titular ape is expanded to include ninety-seven brand-new levels while introducing several new gameplay mechanics. Donkey Kong Jr. also appears in certain stages to assist his father and make progress more difficult for Mario.

Donkey Kong is notable for its heavy cross-promotion with the Super Game Boy accessory for SNES. When played on Super Game Boy, the game features an enhanced color palette and limited voice samples, as well as a unique frame border resembling the original Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.

It was re-released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop as a Virtual Console title in 2011.

Gameplay

As in the original arcade game, Mario serves as the player character. His primary skill is jumping, which allows players to traverse each level's platforms and avoid various hazards such as touching a dangerous enemy or suffering a fatal drop. Hammer items placed in certain levels can be used to destroy most enemies; however, Mario cannot jump while using a Hammer. Unless the player is holding certain items which can act as an improvised shield, any damage dealt against Mario usually leads to instant death.

An update of the arcade version's classic
An update of the arcade version's classic "25m" level

Mario sports a handful of new abilities in order to account for the game's expanded scope. He can pick up and throw certain objects and enemies in a manner similar to Super Mario Bros. 2, which is critical for solving many puzzles. The Hammer can be thrown in the same way, potentially allowing players to retain this powerful item between separate platforms if they can catch the Hammer again before it falls out of reach. In addition to his basic jump, Mario can now jump even higher by performing a handstand, or by changing his running direction just prior to jumping. While hand-standing, Mario can also use his feet to catch falling barrels. With proper timing, Mario can execute a triple-jump to reach even greater heights. He can even hang onto ropes, allowing Mario to shimmy across with his hands or spin in place. Mario can be launched across great distances if the player jumps while spinning on a rope.

In most of the game's levels, Mario must retrieve a Key and carry it to the level's locked exit. This is accomplished by evading or destroying enemies and maneuvering around obstacles while holding onto the Key. Players can choose to temporarily drop the Key, which is necessary to complete many levels; however, the Key will return to its point of origin if Mario doesn't retrieve it again within several seconds.

Other than the Hammer, there are no power-ups; Mario's core abilities remain static throughout the game. However, there are extra lives scattered throughout many levels. Players can also collect Pauline's hat, parasol and handbag in any level that also contains a Key. If all three of Pauline's accessories are collected in a single level, players can play a mini-game to earn extra lives following their completion of the level.

Boss Levels

A typical boss fight with Donkey Kong
A typical boss fight with Donkey Kong

Every fourth level, Mario encounters Donkey Kong himself, who will attempt to slow Mario's progress with various hazards as he did in the original arcade game. Simply reaching Pauline will complete these levels.

At the end of each Stage, Mario and Donkey Kong face each other in a more direct boss fight. Mario must defeat Donkey Kong by hitting him with the barrels that he flings continuously. After hitting Donkey Kong three times, the ape will run off with Pauline again and proceed to the next Stage. A short cutscene plays following each encounter with Donkey Kong; these scenes typically demonstrate one of Mario's abilities or introduce a new gameplay mechanic.

Stages

The game's first Stage is made up of four levels and follows the same basic format as the original arcade game. In three of these levels, Mario must simply reach the upper platform where Pauline is being held captive by Donkey Kong without losing a life. The fourth level requires Mario to remove several rivets securing the girders that support Donkey Kong by moving across each of them. However, unlike the arcade game, this Stage does not repeat with an increase in difficulty once the fourth level is completed. Instead, Donkey Kong immediately recovers from his defeat before grabbing Pauline yet again and fleeing towards the first of several entirely-new Stages.

Level 1-1
Level 1-1

Following the initial arcade-based Stage, Mario's goal in each non-boss level is to retrieve a Key and carry it to a locked door leading to the next level. Each Stage's individual levels are typically built around a particular mechanic that players must utilize to make progress, such as pulling lever switches to extend bridges or pressing buttons to create ladders.

Including the arcade levels, Mario's adventure spans across a grand total of one-hundred one separate levels.

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Stage 0 - Construction Site: The game's initial area is comprised of streamlined versions of the four levels from the original arcade game. All enemies are deadly to the touch and there are no puzzles; Mario must simply reach Pauline or defeat Donkey Kong to succeed.

  • Total Levels: 4
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Stage 1 - Big-City: The first Stage containing Keys and locked doors. From this point on, certain enemies may be stood upon or picked up and thrown by Mario. Big-City also introduces the "Road" and "Ladder" items that can be deployed to create new custom paths within a level's visible screen area.

  • Total Levels: 8
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Stage 2 - Forest: Climbable ropes and switches make their first appearances here, as well as the rope-chewing Snapjaw enemies from Donkey Kong Jr.

  • Total Levels: 12
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Stage 3 - Ship: This area builds on the mechanics seen in previous Stages by requiring Mario to perform rope spins and high jumps to avoid hazards. Using enemies as moving platforms to cross deadly spikes becomes crucial in certain levels.

  • Total Levels: 8
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Stage 4 - Jungle: A ramped-up version of the Forest that relies more heavily on rope climbing and using enemies as stepping-stones. Flying enemies and projectiles are also much more common here.

  • Total Levels: 12
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Stage 5 - Desert: The Super Hammer makes its debut in the Desert, which can break through walls. These levels are much more complex than anything seen previously, requiring careful planning and fancy footwork to make progress.

  • Total Levels: 12
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Stage 6 - Airplane: Strong winds threaten to push Mario off several levels that take place around and inside this large bomber plane, which is also armed with multiple cannons. These levels each contain more than one locked door, and only the correct door can be opened by the Key.

  • Total Levels: 8
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Stage 7 - Iceberg: Slippery floors and frigid waters are the key features of the Iceberg, as well as deadly falling icicles that can also be used as platforms.

  • Total Levels: 12
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Stage 8 - Rocky-Valley: The most difficult puzzle challenges in the game await Mario inside this treacherous canyon. Players must utilize his full moveset if they hope to survive and reach the ominous tower at the Stage's end.

  • Total Levels: 16
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Stage 9 - Tower: Each level in the Tower is a separate boss encounter against Donkey Kong, and he pulls out all the stops in a last-ditch effort to stymie Mario. The final level at the structure's peak pits players against a giant version of the persistent ape for their last showdown.

  • Total Levels: 9

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