Donkey Kong Jr

Reviewed by Craig Fuller



Issue 13

Jan/Feb 85

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.... Atari.... 16k ROM.... 1/2 players....

This is the second part in what might be termed `the exploits of Mario'. In case you did not know the story began with 'Mario the Mad Carpenter' rescuing his girlfriend, or trying to, from an even more mad gorilla called Kong.

In the second part of this delightful tale, Mario completely flips his lid, kicks out his girlfriend and imprisons Kong in a cage. Fortunately for Kong, his little lad, Kong Junior, finds out what sadistic Mario has done and sets out to the rescue. Mario, having experienced Kong's defence system creates one of his own. Thus the scene is set for our intrepid hero Kong Junior.

Mario's defences are very 'ape-oriented' with lots of ropes to climb and delicious fruit including, inevitably, bananas to grab. There are four different screens in all and they require practice to complete.

The first screen requires Kong Junior to climb ropes and jump chimney pots while avoiding Mario's deadly pets, the Snapjaws! Looking rather like oversized crocodile clips these come in two varieties, purple and blue. Purple Snapjaws move up and down the ropes whilst the blue ones slide down the ropes very quickly and drop off the end. Both types can be destroyed by dropping fruit on them. Kong is chained up in his cage at the top of the screen and when Junior finally reaches him, Mario pulls the cage out of reach off the screen.


The second screen is totally different Now Kong Junior has to push several keys up their ropes to the scaffolding at the top. He is hindered by the Snapjaws and a squadron of geese who flap across the screen at different heights trying to dislodge him. When all the keys have been pushed home there is a delightful animated scene of Kong Jr. rescuing his dad and Kong kicking Mario who goes spinning into the sky.


All this fun is, however, short-lived for in screen three Kong is imprisoned again and Kong Junior has to climb ropes and ladders, travel across moving platforms and jump on a trampoline all while avoiding the geese who now drop eggs on him!

It is beyond my power (and sanity!) to reach the fourth screen which apparently is the most difficult of all! As in Donkey Kong the screens are split up and run in the order 1,2,1,3,2,4 and the game has one or two player options, choice of difficulty level and a freeze option.

Donkey Kong Junior is the best of the series with good graphics - colourful, detailed and original - and with good sound. The game is highly addictive and the expression on Kong Junior's face when he gets killed just has to be seen!