The Donkey Kong on the Game Boy. Starting off as a remake of the original DK, we see Mario marching up those old levels to save his girlfriend Pauline from the giant ape. Four stages of climbing, barrel hopping and skirt chasing. Once the original game comes to a close, a huge array of levels open and a great adventure involving keys and doors begins. Opening each door becomes the aim of the game in hopes of getting closer to Pauline. Whatever happened to her anyway? Did Mario ditch her once royalty came into play?
Memories came flooding back when I played this game once more. I originally borrowed it as a kid, getting frustrated by the increasingly challenging stages and fretting over the terrifying Donkey Kong. I am unsure if I ever completed it back then, but I seem to remember the later stages quite well. Towers and air ships come into play amongst the expected jungles and cities. Controlling the rather acrobatic Mario is still fun today and the small stages show little sign of aging.
Each stage involves Mario having to obtain a key and take it to a door. Switches, enemies, water, pits and other obstacles are in the way and the player must figure out how to get the key to the door in one piece. Sometimes you must let the key be pulled through the stage from conveyor belts and then quickly find a way to reach it before it vanishes. Other times you must carefully make your way through the stage, leaving an open path to quickly reach the goal. The game constantly brings forth new gimmicks up to the final stage, over one hundred in total, making for a game which never lets up. But it does get stale if played in long bursts.
With each stage lasting only for a couple of minutes, the game is made for quick burst play. When you decide to play it in one large setting, the game quickly feels like going through the motions. The game may introduce new elements, but lack of interesting backgrounds, music and other presentation touches brings slight weariness to proceedings. The music actually grates and the three level before boss fight structure never changes. These are hardly issues when you just want to play a few stages, but for those looking for a long haul experience, the game provides it, but at a cost of variation. Still, Donkey Kong provides a fun novel concept which is definitely worth picking up over the majority of Nintendo 3DS shop downloads. Monochrome means nothing when it comes to playability.