Donkey Kong Junior

Donkey Kong JuniorThe Game: Mario has Donkey Kong in captivity, and it’s up to Donkey Kong Jr. to rescue his dad by scaling vines and chains, avoiding nasty-toothed traps and pesky birds, and reaching the key to free the great ape from Mario’s clutches. (Nintendo, 1985)

Memories: A fairly popular arcade game like Donkey Kong Junior was bound to be ported to home consoles, and the translations ran the gamut from not-good-at-all to good enough. Surely if anyone could really capture the essence of the coin-op, it’d be Nintendo itself.

Donkey Kong JuniorThe NES version is more than merely adequate – it’s even more accurate than the NES Donkey Kong cartridge, duplicating the look and sounds of the arcade game almost perfectly. Controls are smooth. Overall, it feels like you should leave a quarter somewhere just for playing it.

But players accustomed only to the American version of the arcade game were probably a little bit thrown by the order of the game’s levels. The American translation of the coin-op took players directly to the fourth and final screen after completion of the Donkey Kong Juniorfirst level; the cartridge version takes players through the full Japanese level order. Basically, if you’re expecting to push keys up long chains anytime soon, you’ve got some work ahead of you.

5 stars!It all adds up to a virtually flawless port (and clearly Nintendo recognized this a couple of years later when it stuffed both Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior onto a single cartridge, Donkey Kong Classics).