Of the original Donkey Kong trilogy, it’s probably Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. which are the most well known. Donkey Kong Classics gathers together these two iconic games on one NES cartridge.
The original Donkey Kong is pretty fun. It’s the game which introduced the world to Mario, Donkey Kong and Pauline – all of whom have gone on to have lots of later appearances. The controls might seem ever so slightly stiff compared to modern standards, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to. I really enjoy the 8-bit art style (especially Donkey Kong’s original design) and it’s a fun game to play when I have a spare few minutes. Unfortunately, this version of the game is only three levels long (missing the ‘Pie Factory’ level) which is a bit of a shame. The game is very short and not something I’d play again and again, but nice to take for a spin from time to time. Read my full review of it here.
Meanwhile, I don’t enjoy Donkey Kong Jr. quite as much. Some of the gameplay is based around climbing around on vines, which feels really slow and isn’t quite as fun. Donkey Kong Jr. also feels a bit sluggish to control. I do like Donkey Kong Jr. himself and the fact that Mario plays a villainous role. The ending is also pretty nice. Again this is a very short game as there are only four levels and I revisit it much less frequently than I do the first game, but it’s still kind of nice. Read my full review of it here.
So it’s nice that these two games have been packaged together – particularly for those who are fans of either Mario or Donkey Kong (or both). It’s a bit of a shame that Donkey Kong 3 is not included, but I suppose that NES memory limitations might be the issue. It’s also a shame that whenever the NES Donkey Kong games are re-released in Nintendo’s various e-shops, they only include the individual versions of the game – presumably to get more money out of us.
Overall, it’s a couple of slices of Nintendo history. Neither have aged perfectly, but there’s still something to enjoy in them both.