This was a much longer game than I remember it being, but somehow it seemed much easier. I have memories of having 70-odd lives reaching the final boss, then losing 67 of them on him. That seems like a lot of lives, but they’re very easy to come by (you normally get 2 or 3 each level, then after every four levels when the time score is counted up, you usually get another 5 or 6) and I did die a lot.
Well, I think I died a lot when I played it previously. I died very few times this playthrough, and didn’t die on the end boss at all. Which is odd, as I’m pretty sure my skill at other games has decreased over the years…
In case you’ve never played it, Donkey Kong on the 3DS is actually the 1994 Game Boy title in Virtual Console form. The first four levels are virtually carbon copies of the four levels on the original Donkey Kong arcade game, which means you have to complete the arcade game to even start the main game proper. Erk.
After that, the game changes. It stops being a basic platformer where the goal is to reach the big monkey without dying, and instead becomes an acrobatic puzzle platformer where you have to carry a key to a door to progress. Of course, things block your way, switches need to be pulled, baddies beaten or avoided, and so on. And you can only drop the key for a short time or it returns to its start spot again. Every 4th level is a boss level, with those in the middle of the 8 game worlds being “simple” reach-the-monkey levels, and those at the end of each world being chuck-barrels-at-the-monkey levels. It’s all ace, and Mario is almost as move-filled as in the likes of Mario 64, with handstands and backflips the likes of which no normal plumber could achieve.
In total, it took me about 6 hours to finish. There were a few hard levels, but mainly due to the puzzle elements rather than the death bits. It’s certainly one of the best Game Boy games, that’s for sure, and well worth the £3.60, or however much it is on the 3DS eShop.