A fun romp through the Donkey Kong world — 5 years ago
I remember getting the video tape promoting this game in the mail. I was so excited to try it. The graphics looked like nothing I have ever seen before and the backgrounds looked gorgeous.
When I finally did play it I wasn’t disappointed. When it comes to a platformer, style is what sets the games apart, and this game has style in spades. Even today it is still beautiful. The underwater levels are the most beautiful I have ever seen in any platform game to this day.
The game has a great sense of humor too. The game stars Donkey Kong, but it isn’t the same Donkey Kong from the 1981 arcade game. It stars Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong’s son that had to rescue Donkey Kong in the arcade sequel that bore Donkey Kong Jr’s name. He has grown up, and he is now known as Donkey Kong. His dad, the original Donkey Kong, is now an old ape who people refer to as Cranky Kong. He longs for the games of the older generation, and brags about his game playing skills. Donkey Kong’s banana horde has been stolen by King K. Rool, and like any self respecting ape, Donkey Kong goes on a quest to get his bananas back.
You play as both Donkey Kong and his pal Diddy Kong, and you can alternate through the characters as long as you have both of them at the same time. If you hit an enemy, your pal runs away. If you hit another enemy while you don’t have your pal with you, you lose a life. Both characters have different strengths and weaknesses, Donkey Kong is strong but slow, and Diddy Kong is fast but weak. Donkey can destroy enemies that Diddy can’t, while Diddy can get around obstacles easier than Donkey can.
The unique thing about this game is that it experimented with a lot of different gameplay nuisances. There are levels that are obscured by heavy snowfall or fog, there are levels that make you head right and then left rather than the traditional platforming standard of going straight to your goal, and there are levels that require you to hit a light switch to keep the play area visible or else the majority of the screen will go dark. The amazing thing is that even with these gameplay experiments, I still found the game to be a lot of fun to play. It’s a difficult game, but it is a lot of fun.