Game Review

Donkey Kong 3 Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Bugging you?

When the original Donkey Kong proved immensely popular, Nintendo decided to ride off its success and create a sequel changing the roles, making Mario the villain and Donkey Kong Jr. the hero. What is surprisingly not well known, however, is that there was a third game after that. While the next logical next might have been to allow you to play as DK himself, what actually happened is a bit strange.

While the first two games were straight up platformers, Donkey Kong 3 is more of an action game. There's also no Mario (or DK Jr.) to be seen anywhere — instead, you play as a completely new character called Stanley. DK has invaded your greenhouse, and you have to fight him and his army of bugs with your trusty insect repellent.

In each level, DK will be clinging on to two vines at the top of the screen with bee hives on either side, which he will punch to release insects that will come down, attempting to steal the flowers at the bottom of the screen. Stanley of course won't stand for this, so he can move around below, and spray clouds of insect repellent directly upwards. You can kill all insects on a particular level to advance to the next one, but a generally faster way to progress is to just shoot DK — forcing him off the top of the level will get you to the next one as well.

At first, you'll go practically uncontested doing this, and each level will be a piece of cake, but like any good arcade game, on subsequent loops the game will get harder and harder. More insects (and insect types) will start appearing, they'll move faster and, eventually, DK will start throwing coconuts at you. Once you get far enough, it'll become incredibly hectic, with insects and coconuts flying everywhere trying to kill you and steal your flowers — once the last flower leaves the screen you die, so be careful not to let that happen!

As you might expect from a NES port of an arcade game, the graphics and music are fairly unimpressive, as was the case with the previous two games. They get the job done, but they're not groundbreaking.

Sadly, despite the retro charm, Donkey Kong 3 tends to get old pretty fast. There's almost no middle ground in the game — it starts off too easy and then very quickly becomes too hard. The levels are over in a flash, and since there's only three of them, you'll be running around the same locations a lot.


Donkey Kong 3 is a strange departure from the gameplay of its predecessors, but unfortunately it just didn't turn out very well; Stanley's insect spraying never quite gets as entertaining as Mario's barrel jumping and DK Jr.'s vine climbing. Perhaps it's not that many people don't know the game, but rather that they choose to forget it ever happened?

From the web

Game Trailer

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

User Comments (13)



Starzsixty9 said:

haha I still have this cart. for my NES I remember playing it as a kid and never getting past like the 5th level, it was tuff as nails to me back then It's fun to pick up again every now and then for short bursts but it's not a game I can sit down for hours and play (i'm still fairly bad at it haha) Its worth playing for the nostalgic value for me though (although I can just dust off my copy any time I like... I would spend the money for the download on something else for sure)



SammyOfMobius said:

How did I know this would get a bad review? Oh well, it doesn't look very good anyways. Although Nintendo should bring back Stanley!



StarBoy91 said:

While I enjoy Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. anytime I play those games on the NES (particularly in the two-in-one cart compilation Donkey Kong Classics), Donkey Kong 3 has always been a title that's rather meh... imo that is.
But I know that this game has got an audience out there (everything has got an audience regardless of how good or bad something is); I'm just not that kind of audience. If there are people that like it out there, then there's great, to each their own.



Senate_Guard said:

I enjoy DK3, I play it from time to time on my Wii. Sure its a different type of game from its predecessors, but does that make it bad? The unique setting (an ape invading a greenhouse? Why not?) and addictive gameplay, make it good in its own right.

Also Stanley needs to come back! Give him a grand return to the series! (perhaps in MK8 or in SSB4) The world must know being a bugman is as cool of a job as being a plumber!



Gso said:

These games are worth buying if they are 1 dollar but you can't price them the same as Super Mario Bros. or Metroid. Same goes for Urban Champion and all those other black box games.



delt75 said:

I loved this game. I think it was pretty underrated when it came out in the arcades. When I was a kid, I preferred this DK game over the original, and much more than DK Jr. I'd love to see Stanley show up in a Mario Kart game in the future.



FabioSMASH said:

If it weren't for the name: Donkey Kong, we wouldn't have such high expectations and probably would have cut it some slack.
Not a bad little game, IMO.



Bass_X0 said:

Seems like Nintendo had an idea for a game but added the Donkey Kong name and character to make it sell more.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...