Donkey Kong Junior
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  • Atari
  • Atari
  • Action - Arcade Port (example - Asteroids)
  • 1988
  • 1-2
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  • $2.00
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7  |  Out of Order, Part 2
Darryl B. , 2/15/2010 12:30:28 PM

Donkey Kong Junior box - 7800dkjr.jpg

(First off, my original "Out of Order" review was from my 7800 Donkey Kong review from a while back. So...)

One thing about the Donkey Kong games is that they weren't afraid to expand and be different: rather than rehashing the original formula, they took different routes, as this time around Mario became the bad guy (actually some have said Mario was always the bad guy, but you have to question how much time whoever it was that came up with that theory had on their hands to explain the original) and you controlled Donkey Kong Jr. this time around to rescue his papa.  Plus it also wasn't just a rehash with more platforms, this one dealt more with having the player having to figure out how to handle certain jump angles and routes (the springboard screen), keeping an eye on what's not only right in front of them, but also literally watching their overhead too (Mario's Hideout) and utilizing both of Junior's arms at times (the keys screen) as strategies for completing levels.  But that also was one of the many things that made the original great, as every screen had different approaches.

And like the title to this review says, the screen order is different than the original. So how does it play  then?

It plays pretty close to the arcade original, and looks pretty close to it too, with decent graphics and all.  Some of the animations are a bit lame (Junior slowly falls to his death), and the sound is even worse (dunno why the brief 'bonk' sound from 2600 Ram It is heard when Junior dies, it sounds stupid), due to Atari buyout jerkorama Jack Tramiel having the development be ultra cheap by using the Atari 2600 soundchip for the 7800.  Controls are a bit better, although you have to be careful with like extending your arm to get that bonus mid-air fruit on the first level, lest you overdo it and the game thinks you're letting go with your other arm too, which could cause you to fall to your death.

Unfortunately, yes, the screens are out of order, as the keys screen comes after Mario's Hideout, which is a shame, since Mario's Hideout is difficult (originally the last screen on the arcade game), which I hardly ever get past, and the keys screen is my favorite.  So I'm pretty much locked out without a key as far as that goes :|

Still though, this is a pretty close port of the original, although a couple of things are a little more difficult to accomplish in this version, like the jumps and grabbing onto those lowering and raising pole dealies (whatever the hell they're called) on the springboard screen.  But all four screens are intact though, unlike most ports of the original Donkey Kong, most of which left out the conveyer belt (known as the "pie factory" screen to a lot of gamers).

The cartridge is rounded out by several selectable skill levels and can have up to two other words, it's definitely worth a banana or two (especially since it's a pretty common cart), but nothing to go UTTERLY ape over, ha ha. 7/10


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