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"Donkey Kong" (Game Boy)

Popular arcade platformer making its way onto the handheld. Presents an extended amount of levels, adding more to the challenge, along with the final fight against Donkey Kong himself.

What became a popular arcade classic is now in the comfort of your hands: Donkey Kong!

Looking at the pictures of our copy, it is a million-selling hit. However, your assumption of this game is likely just the usual arcade classic, programmed for the Game Boy, with continuous levels until the game glitches. Possibly, you think that the original box was marked as a million-selling hit to entice gamers into thinking it's a top seller but it really isn't.


After the first round of levels, replicating the stage design we all know and love from the arcade variant, it goes beyond that: you now have to chase Donkey Kong who set up traps through every level/stage up until to you match-up against him one-on-one on the very last stage of World 9. This means you have to get Mario to overcome all stages to save his girlfriend Pauline from the lumbering ape (that wasn't meant as an insult, by the way). No worries, the game has 3 empty files to which you can continue your progress, while getting the opportunity to save your game after defeating Donkey Kong on an occasional boss fight.

The stages consist of unique platforming puzzles in which Mario has to dodge obstacles in order to carry and bring a key over to the locked door for him to run in and continue his chase against Donkey Kong. The stages themselves range from very easy to "wow-how-do-you-get-that-key-from-here-to-there" kind of deal. Take it from me: some stages are beyond frustrating since enemies, temporary blocks/ladders/floors, switches and lifts don't cooperate sometimes. You need to maintain decent timing and not having Mario land from too high a leap, being that Mario has no hit points—one bad landing, one enemy attack and/or time running out and you lose. However, if you collect the three bonus items on each stage which are, a handbag, a hat and a parasol, you get to play a bonus game! The bonus game is basically an opportunity for you to win extra lives, which you seriously need. And I say that because you'll be losing quite a lot (well, unless you play via emulation taking advantage of its save states).

As for the boss fights against Donkey Kong, it takes three hits to defeat him. Once you do so, you get that much closer into the final fight. After defeating Donkey Kong on each world, you get to see a little cut scene becoming a clue to the next stage, its theme and how to go about finishing the levels. Oh, since we're on the topic of stage themes, they are as follows: Start, Big City, Forest, Ship, Jungle, Desert, Airplane, Iceberg, Rocky Valley and Tower. Out of all, Iceberg and Rocky Valley frustrated my gameplay the most. Iceberg features slippery floors and hidden locked doors, while Rocky Valley was just a myriad of dry land and wet land. The worst was having to carry the key out of waters and onto the land before it disappears. That was unbelievable, it was like I had to choreograph my moves carefully. The last world, Tower, is a slew of boss fights against Donkey Kong. When you get to the last stage, the game fools you into thinking that Mario and Pauline are finally together. Nope, they aren't....yet. Next is the final showdown against Donkey Kong himself to which you dodge his fists pounding the floors, avoiding dumbbells(?) that fall from the sky, while picking up barrels to throw at Donkey Kong's face. How many hits? To defeat him, you must hit him with barrels in 3 sets of two hits. In other words, hit him twice, three times. When you've hit him a total of four times, Donkey Kong gets a little bit violent but still acts the same as he was at the start of the showdown. My advice is get the pattern down, patience and good timing are key. After you defeat him, Mario and Pauline are finally together again! You then get a final cut scene, and an elegant illustration of the crew, very much telling you that the story was very much an act (video game theatrics). The game finishes with credits.

Although frustrating, I enjoyed the challenges and the idea of pushing the original classic into a full-on platforming adventure was an excellent spin on it. Some things could've been better, like perhaps not replaying the audio of Pauline shouting "HELP!!!!" so much when you start/redo a stage; That part got annoying very quickly. However, being this was released in 1994, I couldn't imagine some kid on their Game Boy spending this much time trying to beat this game. I say that because I play these Game Boy games on the Super Nintendo, via the Super Game Boy, and doing that ought to tell you something: even though some of these Game Boy games are variants from their NES counterparts, some of these versions seem to be best fitted as another console game. Hard to believe since there are a chunk of Game Boy fans out there, myself included, but reviewing games like these is there to bring out the love, the challenge, the nostalgia and the fun out of these Game Boy games that we never had the time to play with (all provided here at SHOWSOTROS!).

If you're getting into the gist of completing and beating Game Boy games, give this a shot. The challenge is enough for the curious retro gamer to get their game on.





  • Nice handheld port of the popular arcade game.
  • Has its own custom border when played on the Super Game Boy.
  • Presents a whole slew of different, challenging levels all throughout the game.
  • Graphics and music are excellent.
  • Game may be too long for the average gamer.
  • Some levels are trickier than others.
  • Not getting the patterns down during the final boss fight can result in a blood-boiling experience.
90% (A-)
Fan Rating
Game Title Donkey Kong
Description The top-selling arcade hit returns to Game Boy!

The arcade classic, Donkey Kong, is back by popular demand! The famous ape has kidnapped Pauline and climbed to the top of a perilous skyscraper.

Challenged by many perils and unending puzzles, Mario must reach his arch rival. As he makes his way Mario will need to gather disappearing keys to unlock doors of hidden rooms. Donkey devised evil tricks to confuse and trap him. Our heroic plumber has his hands full this time!

Classic arcade fun with 10 stages and 100 advanced puzzles.

Thrilling new adventure elements for added excitement.

4 megabyte game contains a battery back-up.
ISBN / Bar Code number 0 45496 73035 2
Video Format 1.33:1 (4:3) Full screen
Audio Format Mono (Stereo via Super Game Boy)
Language(s) English
Disk/Cartridge One (1)
Region(s) NTSC
Genre Action-Puzzle (Platformer)
Rated K-A - Kids to Adults (Ages 6+)
Released June 1994 (US)
Video Specification Monochrome (Color via Super Game Boy)
Licensed by Nintendo®
Developed by Pax Softonica / Nintendo®
Company Nintendo®
Product / Item / Catalog Number 970430 / DMG P QD

Other Formats Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit (A800), Apple ][, arcade, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Nintendo e-Reader, Colecovision, Famicom Disk System, Game Boy Advance, Intellivision, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), PC, Texas Instruments TI-99, Commodore VIC-20
Quoted Reviews --
Other --
Executive Producer

Hiroshi Yamauchi


Shigeru Miyamoto


Masayuki Kameyama
Takao Shimizu

Main Programmers

Yoshiaki Hoshino
Masayuki Hirashima


Motoo Yasuma

C.G. Designers

Hideo Kon
Kenta Usui
Takaya Imamura

Sound Composer

Taisuki Araki

Course Designers

Kuniko Sakurai
Katsutomo Maeiwa
Kenji Umeda
Masayuki Kameyama
Hideo Kon
Kenta Usui
Takao Shimizu

Special Thanks To

Shigeki Yamashiro
Super Gameboy Hardware Team


Yōichi Kotabe

Manual Editor

Atsushi Tejima

©1980 Nintendo

Donkey Kong Jr.
©1981 Nintendo

Home Version
©1983 Nintendo

Donkey Kong Jr.
©1983 Nintendo

Game Boy
Donkey Kong
©1994 Nintendo



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