Review of the Game Donkey Kong Junior


A wind was cutting a grass, and trees was dressed in a thin layer of ice. My room window was covered with white, asymmetrical patterns, which were lightened up by dull colors of street lamplights. Only soft sound of my computer monitor and the crack of the head (hitting on the track 35) proved that something was happening in my room, where lied my SX64. I haven't been able to get my act together since I received a message from V-12. But I couldn't stay in a state of apathy forever! So I decided to write some words about the game Donkey Kong Junior Paul had recommended to me. Ultimately, three decades have passed since the game was originally published on NES/PegaZUS – my second 8-bit love just after C64.

Our young monkey was published in 1982 by Nintendo. It was a continuation of the arcade game – Donkey Kong. The game Donkey Kong Junior was ported for other platforms - ATARI 2600, NES/FamiCom/Pegazus, Atari XE, BBC Micro. Creators of the title are Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshio Sakamoto, and Gunpei Yokoi is the producer. As I've said, Donkey Kong Junior was published on many other platforms, but it had never achieved a solid port on Commodore 64, until now. ;) All this was achieved thanks to three people who took up a challenge to create an ideal clone of DKJ on C64. Andreas Varga created the code, Steve Day- graphic and Mikkel Hastrup - music. The trio gave a good account of themselves.

During the gameplay we impersonate Donkey Kong whose task is to release his father from a cage. DK's father was imprisoned by Mario (known from some previous games as a Jumpman, and also as one of the brothers - SuperMario). The young monkey has to cope with many obstacles which had been created by the man in red trousers. He has to climb to the top platforms, then jump on the liane and get a key. Playing this game we have to complete four levels that repeat again and again... The game doesn't have any ending or happy ending. What you can do is to get as many points as you can and show off your skills. :D

Every of the four levels have unique obstacles – crocodiles which sit under the lianes and try to bite us; birds which throw stones at us; electric sparks that strike us. In the last level we have to unlock the platform, where Mario and Donkey Kong senior are standing, by using the keys that are on the lianes. After caring out the task Mario is defeated and Donkey Kong with son are free but... in a moment we pass to the first level but everything is harder – it means that there are much more creatures that are moving faster now.

Graphically the game is not delightful, even on Commodore 64 but the game is a good copy of the original one. Characters are properly animated and the graphic is colorful but not the most beautiful. However, the music leaves much to be desired because it is so simple and this simplicity kills my hearing. After thirty years of experience with SID and VIC I expected much more but the authors focused on the process of making a good copy of the original one not on the news and bells and whistles - and all credit to them for that! :D I have never seen such a perfect port of game from another platform as the port from the game Donkey Kong Junior. In comparison with NES the play is more difficult to complete but I think that the reason of this is fact that I'd always prefer pads to joysticks.

If I had to judge this game in respect of contemporary productions on C64 it wouldn't come out well. The whole game is somewhat outdated and there are a lot of games which bring new ideas that are unique for C64. Nevertheless, due to affection for Pegazus I appreciate that the port had been created. Finally, I can boast about the new port on C64 to my friends on the FamiCom party. ;) The fact that it came into being three decades after NES version is only one little detail. As I said, all this was achieved thanks to three people: Andreas Varga, Steve Day, Mikkel Hastrup. This does not change the fact that playing the same game in order to get more and more points is not for me. So I think that DJK is a game for more than one player – as substantial part of arcade games. On the 5 points scale the game gain 4/5 points. The only one reason of this high assessment is the commitment of the authors who had created a very good port of Donkey Kong Junior on C64 for which we awaited for a long time.


Translated by Agata Gizka.