Platform: Game Boy
Developed by Nintendo EAD
Published by Nintendo
Players: Single player
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“Donkey Kong” is a platform game that was developed and released in 1994 for the Nintendo Gameboy. While it bears the name of the arcade classic “Donkey Kong” and its sequel, the Nintendo “Donkey Kong” is only loosely based on the game, and integrates puzzle elements into the platform title. The game features Mario as he attempts to save Pauline from Donkey Kong and sometimes his son, Donkey Kong Jr. The game is well known for being the first game that experiences features that are enhanced when played on the Super Gameboy, the tie-in for the Super Nintendo.
The official story, from the games manual:-
Donkey Kong kidnapped the beautiful Pauline and has run away!! To save her, Mario must chase after Donkey Kong. The familiar game of "Donkey Kong" is now a Game Boy title. A totally new quest awaits Mario beyond the familiar scenes of the first few stages. Hunt down Donkey Kong as he escapes from the Big City, travelling on the Ship, through the Jungle, the Desert, Rocky Mountain and on to his home. Can Mario capture Donkey Kong and save Pauline?
The game begins in much the same fashion as the original “Donkey Kong” game, with Mario negotiating four levels that require him to jump and dodge obstacles as he ascends to the top of the level. After you finish the first four levels and catch up to Donkey Kong and Pauline, he takes her deeper into the city. Mario follows them and spends the rest of the game balancing time between puzzles and having more platform style battles with Donkey Kong.
Every time Mario travels into a new world in Donkey Kong on the Gameboy he is faced with various puzzles. The goal is for Mario to bring a key to a door so that it can be unlocked within a certain amount of time. Each of the puzzles requires Mario to build ladders and platforms in order to advance in the level before they disappear. At some points during the game Donkey Kong Jr. will intervene and prevent Mario from moving forward by hurling objects or taking platforms away. This unique mixture of platform and puzzles are what made Donkey Kong special to Mario fans around the world.
At least twice in every world, the player is forced to face off against Donkey Kong. This involves taking Mario and having him reach Pauline by dodging objects and debris that fall from the ceiling. The second battle in every world involves a more familiar type of battle- Donkey Kong throwing barrels at Mario. Each time that you beat Donkey Kong in one of these worlds you are rewarded with the ability to perform a new special move that will help in future battles. You can also gain extra lives for having over 100 seconds left on the clock after the boss battle.
Every stage that you play on has a time limit and keeps track on high scores. After each battle with Donkey Kong, you are informed of your progress and whether or not you managed to beat the high score for that level. The final battle of the game involves chasing the father and son duo through a tower, trapping Jr. in a cage and then defeating Donkey Kong in a battle.
On each level Pauline leaves three items to help lead Mario to her: a hat, a bag, and a parasol. If you manage to collect all three of these items before the level is completed, then you will have the ability to collect extra lives.
The first game that you will have the option to play is Wheel of Fortune, where you press A to start a wheel and then again to stop it on 1, 2, or 3 lives which are added to your total.
The second game is a slot machine that rewards you with lives based on the selections that you make on the slot wheels. There are different icons that are on the slot reels, each with a different point value assigned to them. Mario will gain extra lives for the following combinations:
Donkey Kong, Mario, and Hat…………………More Than 5 Lives, randomized.
Three Fires………………………………………1 life
Three Hammers…………………………………1 life
Three Hats………………………………………2 lives
One Mario……………………………………….1 lives
Two Marios………………………………………2 lives
Three Marios……………………………………..3 lives
Three Donkey Kongs…………………………….5 lives
For the most part, Donkey Kong on the Gameboy was well-received by critics around the world. It received several rewards and accolades from the magazines that enjoyed the graphics and fun offered by the game. While some people were critics of the replay value of the game, these complaints were typically outweighed by the immense fun that people had playing Donkey Kong on the Gameboy. This game was especially noted for the appearance of several famous characters from the Mario franchise.
Donkey Kong on the Gameboy was the only game to feature Donkey Kong Sr. and Donkey Kong Jr. working together to fight Mario. It is also Jr.’s only role as a villain.
The release date on the eShop version of Donkey Kong is incorrectly listed as 6/1981, although that is the original release of the arcade game.
This game marks the first time that Donkey Kong ever wears his famous tie.
This is the very first game in the Mario series to have compatibility on the Super Game Boy.
The Super Game Boy version of Donkey Kong on the Gameboy received small boosts in its graphics and colors. There is a color border around the game as it is played on the Super Game Boy, and the sounds are improved. There are some voice samples, most notably Pauline, that are included in the game.
The ending of the game does feature several references to the Mario franchise such as the Mushroom Kingdom and Mario coming out of a pipe.
A gameplay showcase of Donkey Kong 1994 for the Game Boy by Ben Castellanos
A TV commercial for Donkey Kong 1994 for the Game Boy that was aired in the U.S