Donkey Kong
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  • Atari
  • Atari
  • Action - Arcade Port (example - Asteroids)
  • 1988
  • 1-2
  • high score save
  • 1
  • $2.00
  • ?
7  |  Out Of Order
Darryl B. , 10/24/2005 11:07:38 PM
You would have had to "live" in a cave (note the sarcastic quotes) to not know what the heck Donkey Kong is, as the game's over 20 years old, has appeared on just about every console and game-playing platform imaginable (in some shape or form) during it's first 10-15 years of existence, and has had all kinds of sequels, home conversions, handhelds and even bootlegs as well. But, in case you don't...

The first screen of this arcade port involves you as Mario (a plumber), having to climb a bunch of girders to make it to the top to rescue his girlfriend that has been swiped by a giant ape (who, I guess, likes 'em short...and red-headed...and of...another species...uh, never mind, maybe I shouldn't go there). Luckily for Kong, there's an unending supply of barrels (for some reason) that he can roll down towards you to try to keep you at bay, but you can jump over them. However, since jumping over barrels is an occupational hazard, there's also two hammers on the screen that you can use to smash the barrels for bonus points instead. Make it to the top, and you'll get a bonus...but Kong will just climb to the next building...

...which is...the elevator screen?! For some reason, this is the second screen, which is a bit wrong, this is actually the third different screen in the arcade original. However, I'm sure everyone is familiar with the mistakes Atari made over the years (which I'll address at the end), but I heard that this is the way the Japanese version of the game is, so I guess that's why this is what we got.

Anyway, this is pretty tough for a second screen, as you've got elevators that are not only constantly moving, but they're not very wide to jump onto. You've also got a fireball (from the REAL second screen of the original) and these gigantic springy things at the top that move and bounce really fast (as this game makes less and less sense as it goes along) and can assure that making it to the top is going to be a bit difficult.

If you DO make it, though, you'll then go to the easier screen of the rivets (actually you'll get a repeat of the first screen before you'll make it to this one). You must hop over each rivet, which will cause it to disappear (for some reason), which, once you do that, it will cause all the floors to disappear altogether (for some other mysterious reason), Kong will fall to the bottom, and you're reunited with girlfriend...except you have these weird fireballs to contend with along the way, which touching pretty much anything that moves in this game will kill you. However, at least you get the bonus hammers from the first screen to smash them with, as well as picking up your girlfriend's purse, umbrella and all for bonus points (might as well, since they all clash with your outfit).

Donkey Kong purists probably won't be happy with my high rating of this game, due to the screens being out of order, but the game still pretty much plays the same as the original though (aside from that fact). The sound is pretty bad though, due to the 7800 using the same soundchip as the earlier 2600 game system did. Granted, some of the sound in the arcade original was pretty bad too (the sound Mario makes when he walks is very nerve-grating; I've played the original for the last two summers at a classic gaming expo, so I know what I'm talking about [rather than having my memory gloss this over and play me false], as I never realized that before), but when you hear sound effects from earlier 2600 games thrown in, that's pretty crappy.

Also, there is no fourth screen of the cement/conveyer belt, or "pie factory", as a lot of people called it (hard to believe this game was a huge hit, right? It sounds weird as hell here in print), but this was pretty common back then, when the home consoles weren't anywhere near as powerful as their arcade cousins.

After all, you take the 2600, Intellivison, Colecovision, Atari personal computer, and THIS adaption, and how many of those had all four screens? Right, only one out of those five in the list (the Atari 400/800 version did, if I recall correctly). So that isn't really a big deal either, all things considering (although, even with a few glitches, the Colecovision version was better than this one, I hate to admit, since the 7800 should have been more than capable to create a more faithful port).

In closing, I remember when the original Kong was a big arcade hit, and at one point a friend of mine was talking about video being how he was going to be getting the 2600 game StarMaster, since it looked pretty cool (and he was right), and about how, in Japan, he heard that "donkey" meant "stupid" (dunno how accurate this is though), so the game meant "stupid Kong".

Keeping that in mind, I guess you could say "Donkey Atari", due to the sound and misorder of the screens. (But that could probably be blamed for the cheapness of Jack Tramiel, who had bought and screwed up Atari real good back then. But that's an argument for another article.) 7/10

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