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.
@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.
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.
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.
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?
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! )
@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.