Retro: VC Weekly #166

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

Yet another decent release as the 3DS VC goes from strength to strength, also due to popular demand it has now been made much clearer which titles are for either the portable or home console VC � check the game banner � plus game price are now listed in both Pounds plus Euro's; I hope you enjoy the changes and that they make for easier reading. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Donkey Kong

Price: GB �3.60, EU �4
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released: 1994
System: GameBoy

While the original Donkey Kong is an undisputed classic that many have played back in the day either in Arcades or on the NES it wasn't until almost a decade later that Nintendo decided to make a true sequel to the much-loved title. Given the same name as the original game and featuring the same first levels � Cement Factory included � one might start to feel somewhat short-changed when playing this but that's until of course you reach the 'end' after four levels where Donkey Kong then grabs Pauline leaving Mario to give chase through nine huge worlds containing a whopping ninety-seven levels... this is most definitely how you make a sequel in style.

For the majority of stages DK will beat a hasty retreat through a door which locks behind him leaving Mario searching for the key so that he can exit the stage, continuing to give chase; every fourth stage however you must fight the big ape himself by avoiding everything that he throws at you but on the final stage of each world you actually get to throw barrels back at him. Each world you're in has many puzzles specific to it, for instance Big City features cables and clothes lines that Mario can grab onto then spin from them enabling him to jump off at high speed which enables him to reach higher platforms; you'll visit a variety of locations too including airplane, iceberg, jungle and ship areas each containing their own unique enemies plus features which help to diversify the experience.

An array of improvements have been introduced starting with Mario's move-set which now allows him to not only jump as before but also back-flip not to mention perform a handstand triple jump; falling no longer instant kills you either as a small drop just makes you land on your feet but if you do fall from a higher drop then Mario will gradually turn upside-down while descending, if he lands on his head after this then he will die but if he merely lands side-on then he'll get knocked down but then get up again as you can't ever keep a good hero down.

There are keys that can be picked up plus of course you can jump on top of certain enemies to pick them up too - SMB2 style - some stages feature blocks and ladders that can be used for a limited time; returning items include the hat, purse and umbrella which only add extra lives in the bonus stage but the best returning item is of course the hammer which is now even more versatile as Mario can now throw it up in the air and catch it - which you can use tactically - plus it retains its enemy pounding properties from the original along with a new block busting capability which can help create brand new paths through stages.

Visuals are of an exceptionally high standard for an original GameBoy title featuring solid foreground details, fluid sprite animation plus impressive varied backgrounds which change as you progress through the game; it may be in black and white and also lack the colour palette plus arcade-cabinet surround of the Super GameBoy version but it's still rather brilliant in its own way. Music is simply spectacular featuring a new theme for each world plus different tunes for the standard stages and boss battles which adds up to many different compositions, each of which is stunning to listen to within its context not to mention being suitably hummable.

I cannot stress enough that this is much more than a mere port, it's a true sequel that in many ways even outshines the original; while that may be a bold claim it's certainly not unsubstantiated as this game has a wealth a new content and gameplay additions which make it well worth your time and the price for that matter. If you enjoyed the original Donkey Kong then you will surely love this superior sequel and if you haven't played it then I would urge anyone with a 3DS to experience this as it's definitely an essential Nintendo classic that's worth owning.

Verdict : One of the most definitive Donkey Kong titles to date.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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