Virtual Console Review: Donkey Kong (3DS)

Most of you (including myself) might be too young to remember Donkey Kong’s original debut back in 1981. Originally released as an arcade game (later to be released on the NES), it was one of the earliest examples of the platform genre.

The idea was basic. Make your way to the top of the screen to rescue Pauline by climbing ladders and avoiding barrels and obstacles thrown by Donkey Kong. But it was the game that introduced us to a certain well-known plumber known back then simply as ‘Jumpman’. Yes the gameplay was simple, but it sits proudly alongside the likes of Pacman and Space Invaders as an genuine arcade classic.

So when Nintendo decided to release a new Donkey Kong Game in 1994 it was exciting to see where they would go with it. By updating the visuals and adding a wide range of clever gameplay mechanics, they managed to breathed new life into an old classic.

The game starts off pretty simple with classic Donkey Kong gameplay. However after the rather basic first few levels things really start to open up, seeing Mario chase Donkey Kong through 9 differently themed worlds, each providing a variety of puzzles to solve. Puzzles involving moving platforms, switches, temporary platforms, finding keys for locks, are all ingeniously designed and keep the experience feeling fresh.

Mario’s move set has also improved. A newly added back flip and triple jump are welcome and his ability to pick up enemies and toss them aside makes a change from the usual jump and stomp formula.

Visually the game is a treat. The fun cartoon style suits the game perfectly and is clearly a vast improvement on the original. Each world offers a welcome new visual style keeping things diverse. The music is equally fantastic. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself whistling along to the tunes long after you’ve put it down.

With 101 stages this should keep you busy for a while. This is a little Nintendo classic that seemed to have slipped silently into history, so it’s great to see it get another chance in the Virtual Console. A true example of how to update an old classic, this comes highly recommended.

Neil’s Score – [8/10]

Quick-Fire Review: Everyone’s favourite ape returns in the gameboy classic Donkey Kong, and it’s still as fun as it ever was.

Download it now for £3.60/€4 right now from the 3DS eShop.

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