Too Much Free Time

Discussion and reviews of games for NES, Intellivision, DOS, and others.

Donkey Kong

The famous arcade platformer. The original is Donkey Kong for the arcade. The game is made up of four stages:

  1. Ramp Stage
  2. Conveyor Belt Stage
  3. Elevator Stage
  4. Rivet Stage

Different ports and clones mix and match these.

Side by Side

Ramp Stage

Rivet Stage

Details

Donkey Kong (1981/Arcade)

In the original Japanese arcade version, all four stages are present, in order: 1-2-3-4. In the US version, the order is more complicated (see my review of Donkey Kong for the details).

Donkey Kong (1982/Atari 2600)

Stage order: 1-4. Bad graphics, but the movement feels really good. One big problem on the rivet stage, though: the enemies just move back and forth in a predetermined pattern, and won’t climb ladders, making this stage even easier than usual.

Donkey Kong (1982/Colecovision)

Three stages only: 1-4-3. The ramp stage has Donkey Kong on the right instead of left, the elevator stage has no springs, and the stages are vertically compressed (i.e. the ramp and rivet stages have one fewer level of platforms) due to the screen being shaped differently.

The graphics are not so vivid or detailed as in the arcade version, and the controls (especially jumping) are not quite the same, but it’s a competent port.

Donkey Kong (1982/Intellivision)

Incredibly bad graphics and terrible controls. Movement feels slippery, jumping is slow and weird, and everything seems so very slow. Horrible port.

Contains only two levels: 1-4.

Donkey King (1982/Tandy Color Computer)

More arcade-like than Donkey Monkey. Nicer graphics. Seems rather harder than the arcade version, though.

Donkey Kong (1983/TI-99/4a)

Looks quite good. Sound not so hot. The game is a little harder than arcade, I think. DK (sometimes) throws out lots of barrels before you get control, on the ramp stage, and there are more than the usual number of fireballs on the rivet stage, I think.

It has an elevator level, too, but my screencaps didn’t work. Oops.

Donkey Monkey (1985/Tandy Color Computer)

Weird level order. Something like 1-1-3-1-1..? Better than the Intellivision version, at least. And Donkey Kong (or Donkey Monkey, or whoever he is) plays the piano in this one.

Donkey Kong (1986/Amstrad CPC)

Stage order: 1-2-3-4. Nice graphics, contains all four levels, and has gameplay very much like arcade. Unlike many home versions, the elevator level does include the springs.

Donkey Kong (1986/NES)

Stage order: 1-3-4. Nice graphics, good movement, good sound. Lovely port.

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