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Wii Virtual Console: Donkey Kong Jr. Review

by: Hollan ; edited by: Benjamin Sell ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Mario is one bad dude! No, seriously, he's the bad guy!

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    Donkey Kong Jr. is a sequal to the arcade classic Donkey Kong. Also originally released as an arcade game, Donkey Kong Jr. was ported to to a number of different platforms including the NES. Now it has been put on the Wii Virtual Console so we can enjoy (ahem) the only game in which Mario is the villain.

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    Mario has kidnapped Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. (Donkey Kong's son) must rescue him. It is a little known fact that Mario used the Princess as a cover. He really has a weird great ape fetish. To each his own, but Donkey Kong doesn't like being tied down (as it were) so you have to take up the role as Donkey Kong Jr. and rescue poor old dad.

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    Donkey Kong Jr. is similar in nature to the original Donkey Kong. Mario keeps daddy caged at the top of the screen and Jr. must traverse a number of obstacles in order to get to the top and free him. There is no barrel jumping action in this one. Jr. climbs vines, collects fruit to drop on enemies, and jumps. However, if he falls too far he dies even if it is only from the end of a slightly shorter vine. Come on! How is that even possible? He can swing through the trees but a few extra feet kills him? Talk about unrealistic!

    Mario controls a number of nasty enemies (who knew?). Some look like miniature alligators that can crawl down vines and kill Jr. Some are birds that drop eggs on Jr.'s head.

    The Wiimote acts as the classic NES controller with the typical D-pad and 1 and 2 buttons being A and B. It works just fine, but the controls are a little bit annoying. It can be hard to get Jr. to climb two vines at once or just to get him to move. I think this is more of a problem with the original control scheme than with the Wii game.

    There are four levels. At the end of each, when you finally reach Mario, he just runs away (and takes an 800 pound gorilla with him?) and you have to follow to the next level. Once you beat the whole game the difficulty will go up.

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    Graphics and Sound

    Like Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong, the graphics for Donkey Kong Jr. are not good. This is an early NES release and it shows. The background is black, which is strange unless it is always nighttime when Jr. tries to rescue Donkey Kong. The rest of the colors are bright, but everything is really pixilated.

    The sound and music in Donkey Kong Jr. is actually cute and fun. It isn't annoying at all and seems to set the mood nicely. It's a shame the graphics and gameplay don't measure up to the music.

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    Swinging Through the Air

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    I'm up in the air about this one. I know Donkey Kong Jr. is a classic game, but I've never been a big fan of the franchise. I feel like the difficulty isn't based on actual skill but on annoying things like falling too far will kill you and a bad control scheme. Donkey Kong Jr. is fun at first, but once you miss a jump for the tenth time it gets annoying.

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    I'm not sure this Donkey Kong Jr. worth 500 Wii Points. It's not a bad game, but the list of annoying features do tend to outweigh the ones that make me in favor of this game. Plus, it is only four levels! Sure they get more difficult once you pass it, but is that enough to spend $5 on it? I don't think so. Try Solomon's Key for something with more substantial.