Game Review

Donkey Kong Jr. Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Donkey Kong has finally been captured by Mario!

Donkey Kong is one of Nintendo's quintessential characters; pre-dating even the illustrious Mario as a video game lead, the goofy simian was enthralling arcade-goers the world over during the early '80s. However, once the Italian plumber decided to star in his own game, Donkey Kong's appeal started to wane, and after experiencing this lackluster effort it's easy to see why gamers abandoned the franchise in droves, not to return until Rare's sterling SNES reboot in the mid '90s.

In Donkey Kong Jr., the son of the dastardly, damsel stealing Donkey Kong must rescue his father from Mario himself, who here assumes the role of heartless captor rather than toilet-unblocking hero. With only four levels, each of which only occupy a single screen, this game is almost as short as the original Donkey Kong.

The simple adventure's levels are littered with birds, sparks and little choppy-things, all of which have obviously been paid off by Mario to take out Kong's ebullient offspring. Similar to the original, you have the ability to jump over things, but you now you can climb on hanging vines, which you usually have to jump up to grab.

With the small number of levels, this is unquestionably a pretty shallow offering and hard to justify for the expense of 500 points. The same price tag could buy you a number of other, deeper NES hits. But at least this one's a full port — the NES version of the first Donkey Kong cuts out a stage.


After all these years, Donkey Kong Jr.'s levels can still be a slight challenge and hold replayability, and hardcore fans will no doubt argue that it's all about setting as high a score as possible, but it's clear that this is a game more suited for those who enjoyed it at the time of its original release in the arcades. The gameplay is far too basic to recommend this wholeheartedly when there are so many better alternatives on the Virtual Console; after watching King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters you might be inspired to give this a whirl, but it won't keep you entertained for very long.

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User Comments (16)



Hokori said:

I think it's weird how this got a 4 and the game and Watch version got an 8



Onion said:

...4? 4???? Are you serious??? I..... I'm speechless. I am without speech. I don't understand. My brain is unable to process this information.

I will admit that releasing Donkey Kong and Junior was not very classy, considering the two games were released on a single cartridge in Donkey Kong Classics. 5 dollars for both games is more reasonable than 10 dollars for both games, or 5 dollars for one of them. Still, this score is way, way too low.



pntjr said:

Nintendo life must want to burn Donkey Kong off the face of the earth.



Junkface said:

Yeah I played the it in the arcades. Still great mindless fun. Its charm and cuteness may attract new audiences. I would have payed for it.



GCNSean said:

LOL a 4/10? Seriously? I actually had this on my NES back in the days and it rocked. As a matter of fact I still have it (on the Donkey Kong Classics NES cart).



Geonjaha said:

^ You cant suggest that these games deserve greater scores just because you feel nostalgia to them. These reviews are giving scores for NOW; they arent judging how good they were at release. As someone who hasn't played this game before this release I can say that 4/10 is a fair score.



Omenapoika said:

I didn't play these games in warm and fuzzy arcade times, so unfortunately I don't have the mothers eyes while judging this baby.
I felt kind of insulted to play this game and it gave me a good laugh. I respect the people who like it though



Onion said:

Part of the problem with the whole "They're reviewing it NOW!!" logic is that it's flawed. The games weren't made in 2010, they were made in the 80's and 90's. Reviewing them as if they just came out makes no sense. Anytime you review something as old as this you have to take into consideration the time it was released. This review for the most part fails to do that and just basically states that it hasn't aged well.



theblackdragon said:

@OnionOverlord: The problem is that these games are being released now to a new generation of gamers already well-used to modern gaming. We can't call this a 10 and excuse the plain-jane repetition of level structure, slightly frustrating physics/game mechanics, and overall lack of content with 'but it was so awesome back in the arcade'; new gamers looking for games to play want to know what they're getting into from today's standards, and that's who we try to review for. Sorry to disappoint, I guess :3



Onion said:

@theblackdragon , I understand the idea of reviewing an older game by todays standards and have no problem with it, but it's also important to bear in mind that these games were released in the 80's/90's. Reviewing the game as a whole, by todays standards, and by looking at it from a retro point of view should all be aspects of the review, not simply take one aspect and rush out a poorly written review. The reviewer here doesn't even try. You can barely call it a review.

Also I never said the game deserved a 10, so that's irrelevant. The game should be judged not only on it's own merits but by how well received it was at the time. For that reason, I'd say a 6/10 is more accurate and I think most people would be more willing to swallow that score.



GotWii said:

This is a fair score for the price.
Yes in its day FK Jr was a great game but today it's a $2 game not a $5 game.

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