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Donkey Kong ('94) (Nintendo Game Boy) Review
Review by 
9.09/10 from 41 user ratings
 
Donkey Kong '94? A remake of the popular arcade game, you say? Well yes...for the first four levels, but Donkey Kong '94 game goes far deeper than the original. I can't praise this Game Boy enough.



Note: the eShop version is not in color, and Pauline really does scream.

The story is pretty simple: Donkey Kong kidnaps Pauline, and it's up to Mario to rescue her. After conquering the first four levels, which are all straight out of the original, and rescuing Pauline, Donkey Kong comes to and steals Pauline again. Mario must make his way through 96 more levels (and one big boss fight) to rescue her.

As far as gameplay goes, it's rock solid. It's a standard platformer in the traditional sense. More left and right, climb ladders or vines and jump around to try and find the key in each stage. Once you to, head back to the locked door and head to the next level. As you progress throughout the game, the stages ramp up in challenge, but never get too difficult for you to figure out the solution. Also, be on the lookout for Pauline's hat, purse, and parasol. If you collect all three, you go to a bonus round upon completing the stage with the chance to earn extra lives.

DK94 has nine worlds. Each world is broken up into several stages, and every fourth level is another "fight" with Donkey Kong. Some just require you to get to Pauline, while others require you to hit Donkey Kong with three barrels (or whatever you have at your disposal). If you're victorious, you get the chance to save your game.



Typical gameplaqy screen. Later levels get much larger.

Mario controls pretty well. Move with the control pad and jump with A. Actions are primarily performed with B, such as pulling levers, grabbing keys/enemies/barrels, and tossing your hammer up in the air. Mario can also flip around on a wire to jump to higher heights, triple jump, backflip and do handstands.

Graphically, DK94 looks good. There's no slowdown and everything is crystal clear. I'm basing this review on the eShop version, so I can't comment on the Super Game Boy's enhancements (though I wish the option were there).

The music and sound effects are also spot-on. I appreciate the effort Nintendo put into them sounding retro while freshening them up. Pauline's screams are a nice touch, though they do get slightly annoying at times.

Overall, you're in for a treat if you're playing this for the first time (like I was). I highly recommend this title, especially for $3.99.

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Posted: 06/22/11, 19:38:22  - Edited by 
 on: 06/22/11, 23:08:15    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
@Simbabbad Well... I should have listened. But really I didn't have access to play it anyway until now, unless I wanted to emulate. Or wait, GBAs play old GB cartridges, right? Hmm. Either way it fell off my radar for a long time.


Posted by 
 on: 06/24/11, 17:08:58  - Edited by 
 on: 06/24/11, 17:09:13
Either I'm not looking well enough but this one level I'm playing has no door... I've run out of time a few times but I just can't find anything. The key is obviously easy to reach but I guess I'm missing something here.


Posted by 
 on: 06/24/11, 23:18:23  - Edited by 
 on: 06/24/11, 23:29:50
@VofEscaflowne I had trouble with that one too. Basically, it is a hidden door near the bottom right. Just run everywhere and you will stumble upon it. Weird.


Posted by 
 on: 06/24/11, 23:21:37
Yeah I just figured it out. Strange.


Posted by 
 on: 06/24/11, 23:30:05
There's more than one level like that. There's also levels with multiple doors. Can you choose the right one, hmm?


Posted by 
 on: 06/25/11, 00:28:30
Alright, got a bit of money and spent it on this game. Gonna take a break from OoT 3D to try it out. Looking forward to it.


Posted by 
 on: 06/26/11, 06:37:32
So finally finished the game. Bloody hell I'm glad I was stocking up on lives throughout the game, because 9-9 is a KILLER. Deceptvely simple but I think I burned through abouot 30 or so lives on it. Bah.

Also@Zero&@VofEscaflowne&@ludist210

The trick on those levels is to pay attention to Pauline's "Help, help!" speech bubbles at the beginning of each stage. That will clue you into the location of the door.


Posted by 
 on: 08/10/11, 00:55:28
@Shadowlink
Aw, I was JUST going to say that!

"HELP!
HELP!"


Posted by 
 on: 08/10/11, 02:42:35
Finished!

Even though the last time I had played this game was many years ago, playing through it again seemed like a breeze because I pretty much know this game inside and out. It's amazing how much of this game I still kept tucked away in the recess of my old brain.

And yet... I still highly appreciate the great gameplay mechanics in all its glory. There are some challenging stages that are pure platforming, then there are some that have more puzzle elements and really require you to figure out how to get the key where you want it to go.

One thing I will say about the music is that it has humorous appeal to it, if that makes any sense?



Makes me smile.

And the music in the final levels of the game are epic, they really get you pumped up.

The cut scenes in between worlds really add to the game's charm; Mario is simply unwilling to back down, no matter what, and DK matches Mario's fierce determination. I love how Jr. is brought into the mix in this game; the way he teams up with his dad is awesome. I like the little details during these cut scenes when they show the transition from one world to the next (like seeing the tower when entering the rocky valley cut scene).

Really, the only thing missing from this wonderful game is the Super Game Boy enhancements. I really loved those color graphics back on my SNES. Still though, even in black and white, this is one of the more impressive Game Boy games I can remember every playing: the amount of detail in the backgrounds is astounding, yet it's cleanly defined and never overbearing. Compare that to the detailed graphics of Donkey Kong Land, which was a bit too ambitious for the Game Boy tech. All its graphics start blending in together and appears to be a bit messy, especially in motion. (I still want to see how it looks on 3DS VC though! )


Posted by 
 on: 06/30/12, 01:26:42  - Edited by 
 on: 06/30/12, 01:28:22
@roykoopa64 I thought the end of the game was really awesome. I wish there was maybe something similar to that section towards the middle of the game, because I almost started feeling fatigued with the game as it went on. That isn't to say that the game has any 'bad moments', but I felt that the pacing felt a little off at times.

And yeah, I think I noted that in my review - it's a shame that the Super Gameboy additions were absent. I wish they'd update the 3DS software to make this a possibility in the future.

And regarding DKL...I played the crap out of that game as a kid, but I think even then I was kind of aware that there was something off about it. The more games on VC though, the better.


Posted by 
 on: 06/30/12, 01:49:52
This game is great!



Who knew Mario could be so acrobatic in a Gameboy game!?



I'm looking at those Super Gameboy color screenshots now too. I want them! They make the game look like a full Mario experience! A game from an alternate reality where instead of Super Mario Bros., we got sequels to Donkey Kong!



Posted by 
 on: 05/14/20, 22:32:38
I've never actually used the Super Gameboy that I picked up last year...

I should import a Super Gameboy 2 and never use THAT!


Posted by 
 on: 05/15/20, 05:31:18
@Anand

I'm so bummed we never got Super Game Boy 2 over here. Also bummed that the (otherwise fantastic) Game Boy Player didn't utilize anything Super Game Boy or it's sequel (?) featured.


Posted by 
 on: 05/15/20, 13:05:12
@GameDadGrant
Yeah, I was, as well. GBA should have had that functionality! I guess it was literally just a GBC chip being used for emulation, though.

Doesn't Super Game Boy 1 also have some clockspeed glitch?


Posted by 
 on: 05/15/20, 16:14:28
I don't know if it was a glitch per se, but the original Super Gameboy ran games slightly faster than the original Gameboy. This was corrected in the Japan only Super Gameboy 2, which also includes a link cable port for those wanting to trade Pokemon in a really awkward way!


Posted by 
 on: 05/15/20, 16:26:27  - Edited by 
 on: 05/15/20, 16:27:04
Yeah I don't think it was a glitch, it had to do with the way the SNES CPU was downclocked to run at the speed of the Game Boy CPU. The actual speed it needed wasn't an even fraction or something like that. I guess they figured out a way to do it properly later on. It was running only 2.4% faster than it should have been, so it was mainly just noticeable with the music being very slightly higher-pitched than normal.

But yes, Donkey Kong is a great game and was pretty neat on Super Game Boy. I'm glad I got to play it on one. Mole Mania is another great SGB treasure.


Posted by 
 on: 05/15/20, 17:37:32
Anand said:
Doesn't Super Game Boy 1 also have some clockspeed glitch?

This is the first I've heard of it! But I suppose I wouldn't be surprised. Everything seems to work at "the right pace" on the Game Boy Player, at least.

Mop it up said:
It was running only 2.4% faster than it should have been, so it was mainly just noticeable with the music being very slightly higher-pitched than normal.

Oh wow. That must have made the Game Boy version of Mega Man II ear-bleedingly piercing!


Posted by 
 on: 05/15/20, 18:38:55
As a kid it was unnoticeable to me, but looking at it now, especially if you had two games side by side, it's pretty easy to tell. The Japanese only Super Game Boy 2 fixed this issue. It's a real shame that these games didn't get their SGB treatments on the 3DS (and even more of a shame that none of these games ever hit Wii U or Switch).


Posted by 
 on: 05/22/20, 17:11:24
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