Donkey Kong Shoot Out

Donkey Kong, released by Nintendo in 1981, is a very early ,and some might say one of the first (taking into account Space Panic), platform games for the arcade. It is also famous for introducing one of Nintendo’s great gaming icons Mario to the world, although he wasn't actually called that in this game, he went by the name of jump man.

This multi-screened game has you playing Jump man, trying to rescue his girlfriend from the clutches of a gorilla. The game-play is simple, move along the platforms, jump or smash the barrels and climb to the top. It isn't as easy as it sounds though, but it is certainly addictive, giving Nintendo an instant arcade hit.

The game also introduced other new elements to game-play including conveyor belts and elevators. There are so many mechanics to fit into a home conversion, so how did the Spectrum do?

For this test I played twelve clones released for the Spectrum, comparing the vital elements of the arcade game to see which game comes closest to the arcade for game-play, control, graphics, sounds and overall feel.

This feature will vary from the video, which looks at each game individually and offers up its merits and its poor points. Here though, this would take too long, so instead I have opted to go for a summary of the tests.

Working from the bottom up, the poorest games provided terrible game-play  badly drawn and animated graphics and simple sound. Many were written in BASIC, and although released for sale, were just too awful to make any impression. Some of this batch was also not released officially, and when playing them, you can understand why.

Amongst these low scoring games, Donkey Ape from Jaroslaw Puszko in 1988, Oso Bobo from Microhoby in 1985, Killer Knight (left) from Phipps in 1984 and Gorilla from Soft Spectrum in 1986 all provided terrible game-play with all of the bad aspects provided by a game written in BASIC.

Special mention must of course go to Krazy Kong from C*Tech released in 1982. This is widely recognised as the worst ever officially released game, and a few seconds with it confirms this. It is absolutely terrible in every aspect. The loading is interrupted by requests for CAPS lock change and key presses, and when the game finally runs things don’t get better.

The graphics are a mess of flickering, non-animated pixels, the sound is almost non-existent, control is seemingly random and collision detection is sometimes ignored totally. The first level has proved too frustrating for most gamers, and the promised second and third levels have rarely been seen.

During this test I finally, after thirty years, completed the first level and got to see the second (left). It is far easier than the first, but still plays terribly, pausing to play sound effects. Then the real kicker; due to a bug, the game never gets to the third level, instead looping back the first level. I suspect the game does not have a third level, and it was all just hype, but we will probably never know.

The next set of games fall into the mediocre category, and although prove better than the low scoring games, still did not make it to the top of the pile.

Wally Kong from Waltone Software in 1984 was an almost game. Almost good, almost playable, but not quite making the grade. Monkey Bizness from Artic in 1983 proved to be terrible in most aspects, with terrible control and response. Certain aspects of the game are missing such as conveyors and elevators, and sound is simplified to just beeps.

Kong from Anirog (left) in 1983 also didn't make the grade, with poor character based movement and insufficient jump height made this a guessing game rather than a challenge. Another Kong, this time from Ocean in 1983 also failed to make an impression. Although much better than many others in this test, the terrible collision detection made this a frustrating experience. With a few tweaks this could have made the top three, but as it stands, an average attempt.

Still in the mediocre category we have Killer Kong from Blaby in 1983, with vertical jump only and flickering barrels proved average at best.

Now onto the top contenders, and we have just two games in this list, as both have different things to recommend them, but neither provide a complete experience.

Donkey Kong from Ocean (left) in 1986 was the official release and contained most of the levels and game elements as you would expect. Sadly the game-play proved much more difficult than the arcade making it frustrating after a few plays.

The other game is Krazy Kong from PSS. Although the graphics are not up to the official release, most of the arcade elements are present and the game-play is slightly slower than the arcade. Having said that the game-play is good, allowing nice progress and screaming out to be played again after each game.

Of the top two, which one you like will be based on the level of player you are and the type of game you like. The Ocean game is very close to the arcade game but the difficulty is set far too high. The PSS version, although not adhering fully to the arcade game, is much more playable. The winner is up to you.

To get a fuller review of each game, watch episode 15.


Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Dcreators