Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #182: Donkey Kong

Title : Donkey Kong

Publisher : Nintendo

Developer : Nintendo

Genre : Arcade

Players : 1 / 2 Players

Release Date : 1986

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10 - $15

If there are two words that can define the Golden Age of gaming history, they would have to be DONKEY KONG. Or maybe PAC MAN. Or DIG DUG. Or Q-BERT, although that's not really two words, so you know what I'm sticking with DONKEY KONG. It doesn't matter who you are, or if you are a gamer or not, you know what DONKEY KONG is. Who can possibly forget a giant ape responsible for kidnapping some mustache wielding Italian's girlfriend.

To me, DONKEY KONG is one of those games that will forever haunt me as one of the most difficult I have ever played. I can outright say that out of all video games, I have never been a victim to the first screen so many times as I have in DK. The game is one of the most difficult arcade games ever conceived, and it will screw with your head at every turn. I REFUSE to believe that there are patterns, because there are not. And those that are the record holders, well, they must be doped up on arcade steroids to master this game.

Speaking of which, has everyone here seen A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS? If not, get off my blog right now, go on Netflix or I even believe it's on YouTube, and WATCH IT. By far, one of the best video game-based documentaries ever made.  Do it. Now.

There's a lot more to the history of Donkey Kong, despite it being the introduction of DK himself and "JUMPMAN" aka, MARIO. After all, these are two of Nintendo's most iconic mascots. We also have Mario's long lost love who he must have dumped, Pauline. Whatever, Peach > Pauline anyway.

Not to mention, DK was when Nintendo really broke into the American market. In fact, it was probably the stepping stone into Nintendo's conquering of the video game scene. So, of course, they had to release it on their Nintendo Entertainment System. And it doesn't get much better than this in terms of arcades. That is, if you have the patience and the galls to attempt to conquer it.

Without further adieu, the masterpiece that is DONKEY KONG.

Donkey Kong has a simple, yet very challenging concept. Get Jumpman (Mario) to the very top of the platforms to temporarily rescue Pauline from the vile clutches of the rabid ape. Of course, it's not that easy. Donkey Kong will be hurling barrels from his perch at you which can either roll down the ramps in a straightforward manner, or take odd turns and tumble off the side when you least expect it. The only thing you can really do is time your movement, and jump over the battles, or if you're lucky enough us the ever-so-powerful Hammer to break your way through.

Unfortunately, barrels are the least of your worries. At later levels you'll have to deal with moving platforms as well as other baddies including rolling fireballs, and spiritual wisps that tend to pop out of nowhere to kill you instantly. The slightest touch will send Mario to his doom, and guess what, you have to start right from the beginning again.

The game, ultimately, is all about precise timing and hand-eye coordination. Without, you're doomed from the start.

You want to try to score as many points as possible in this game, not only because the game is all about getting that HIGH SCORE, but also because you want to try and rack up bonus lives as early as you can. You're going to need them.

Despite the games difficulty, there are only four different level types in the game, so you'll find yourself looping through the games level scheme fairly quickly. However, they do appear to get gradually harder. Now I don't know if that's me imagining things, but by the time I got up to level 6 or so, I felt as if there were more enemies and everything just moved faster. The game must have been playing tricks on me, but it's not like I got much farther than that anyway. This game has a number on me, and its Gorilla #2. Get it? #2? Poo?

Once you beat four levels, you basically defeat Donkey Kong and rescue Pauline, but the game loops over and over again so you have to just keep rescuing here again and again. It's a test of patience. Seriously, does the game end? Someone figure it out for me, because I can't do it.

You can't look at this game and expect top-notch visuals. It was released in 1986 and it was an arcade game that wasn't about graphically prowess. It was all about the arcade feel, and the puzzle solving skills. There was no unnecessary fluff, and the only things on the screen were things you needed to see. Hell, if there was anything else besides a black background I probably would have been too distracted.

This game has some of the most memorable music and sounds in video game history. No one can forget that sound of Mario jumping, or the famous HAMMER music. You can hear it in your head now, can't you?

Gameplay - it's near perfection and still remains to be one of the greatest arcade games of all time that will continue to survive for generations to come. Never played it before? Get on it. Just be prepared to die.....A LOT.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!



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