Donkey Kong
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9  |  More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys
Darryl B. , 4/28/2005 1:12:22 PM
Oh boy, was Donkey Kong a huge classic, although the premise is pretty weird: a giant ape has kidnapped your girlfriend and you must save her. In your first attempt to do so, you have to walk across girders and climb ladders to make it to the top while Donkey Kong constantly rolls barrels down at you, as he apparently "robbed a barrel factory" (as a friend of mine once put it).

Unfortunately making it to the top just enables Kong to pick up your girlfriend and climb to another level, this one having rivets that you must jump over. Luckily though, you get to pick up your girlfriends' umbrella and purse and all, since you'll get big bonus points with those, which is only fair for all the times you didn't feel like a man by having to hold onto her purse when she tries clothes on at a store. However, fireballs are chasing you (one or two made an appearance at the bottom of the first screen), and girlfriend doesn't seem to have a water pistol in her purse...once all of the rivets are gone, though, it causes all the floors to magically disappear and Kong to drop down onto his head. You're reunited ("...and it feels so goooood", as Peaches and Herb used to sing), but only briefly, as you've got the very difficult elevator level to go through next, with moving platforms and springy things bouncing around...

Gee, *real* NORMAL, ain't it? No WONDER the Mario game that came with the NES had mushrooms in it, as they were probably smoked by the programmers to come up with the above elements for Donkey Kong...

However you view Donkey Kong, though, Coleco did a really superb version with this one, as the graphics, sound and gameplay blew away the versions that were crappily made for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. One thing that's curious about the first level, though, is that you're made invincible when you grab the bonus hammer to smash the barrels with, as barrels can drop down on you from overhead, hit the back of your foot or your head, and still get pummeled/you'll still get the bonus points in the process, which is kind of strange.

There was also a glitch on the second screen where, if two people are playing, and the first player gets to the second round of rivets, there will be four fireballs instead of three...and then what happens when player two's game begins and he gets to the second screen for the first time? Yep, there's four fireballs instead of three for him (or her) to deal with the first time around.

However, this was one of THE best home versions of D. Kong out at the time, even though it didn't have the fourth arcade screen (which is also really bizarre), but there weren't many home versions that had that one anyway (the Atari 800 version might have had all four screens, and the 2600 and Intellivision screens only had the first TWO). It came packaged with the Colecovision, and reportedly Nintendo made a buck for every Colecovision sold. So they were really swimming in the dough on that one (until the crash hit a year or two later, killing the Colecovision then, along with pretty much every game system with it that was out at the time).

This is so good this almost makes me want to climb up the nearest rainspout on a building, grit my teeth and stomp around on the roof in tribute, except I'm afraid of heights.

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