Thursday 26 November 2015

Donkey Kong Classics (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D#1
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1988

Donkey Kong Classics is a two game compilation cart that includes the original DK as well as DK Jr.

In Donkey Kong, you play as Mario and your mission is to save Pauline who's been kidnapped by DK. There's three static screens, each with their own unique features that see you jumping over barrels, fireballs and springs, as well as removing rivets to eventually free Pauline. Each stage is tons of fun and the varied gameplay stop things getting stale. Although you can't adjust in mid-air the controls are responsive and unlike some other home ports there's no issues with lining yourself up with ladders. The collision detection is spot-on with a perfect difficulty curve. Given the bigger ROM size cartridge though it's just a shame that Nintendo didn't reintroduce the missing Pie Factory level from the Arcades, as well as the missing cut-scenes. In Donkey Kong Jr. you must rescue Donkey Kong who's been kidnapped by Mario. This sequel has four stages and places more importance on climbing and manoeuvring on vines. These vines provide layers of strategy as trying to climb one is slow; however, grab onto two vines at the same time and you can advance much quicker. While doing this you have to avoid birds and snapjaws, as well as hitting bonus fruits at the right time so they fall on enemies. Each stage is simple but incredibly well designed and there's even risky shortcuts you can take if you're brave! The gameplay is tougher but the fruit weapons and vines mean more strategy and multi-tasking is involved rather than straightforward platforming. Having one extra stage makes a big difference too and keeps things feeling fresh for longer.

Donkey Kong Classics pulls together two of the greatest games on the NES and it's an absolute must-own for anyone who loves early Arcade titles. Both are addictive and extremely well designed, and the solid gameplay will have you returning time and time again to try and beat your high score.

Random trivia: Both games were individually released as launch titles for the Famicom in Japan in 1983.

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