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Ocean Software Ltd
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Some three years after the first Kong games appeared, and after two attempts at Kong games themselves OCEAN have now released an officially licensed version of the NINTENDO arcade game Donkey Kong.

A damsel is in extreme distress - she's been captured by a mad gorilla who has scurried into a partly completed building with her. Enter Mario the carpenter, rescuer of fair damsels. Mario has to make his way up four sections of the building, using ladders, ramps and lifts while the enraged monkey rains missiles down on his head.

Mario earns points in several ways. Leaping over the missiles Kong hurls at him adds to the score, and jumping several missiles at once is particularly rewarding. Hammers can be collected which allow the hero to stop jumping and start pulverising projectiles for extra points - but their power only lasts for a while. Some objects can be collected, and yield points when Mario picks them up. Finally, a bonus meter at the top of the screen ticks down as Mario dallies on the way, and the points remaining on the clock when a sheet is completed are added to the overall score.

Kong's stock of weapons never runs out. The objects he hurls all obey the laws of gravity, bouncing along the platforms and skittering down ladders. If Mario touches a missile he loses one of his three lives. Care has to be taken when using ladders or leaping a trundling projectile as Mario can touch a missile moving along a higher platform while avoiding another on the current platform. To make matters more complicated for the heroic carpenter, semi-intelligent fireballs move around the screen oblivious to the calls of gravity - they can move left and right and up and down ladders.

On the first screen Mario has to contend with rolling barrels, on the second he is faced with deadly pies and conveyor belts while lifts and bouncing nasties appear on the third sheet. In the final confrontation with Kong on the fourth screen, Mario has to dodge rampant fireballs while removing rivets from the network of girders. When the rivets are removed the insane monkey falls and Mario gets the girl... until Kong recovers and the whole process starts over again!


'So why are OCEAN releasing a conversion from an arcade machine that's as old as the hills - and wasn't really much good in its day? The thing that really confuses me is that they've done a Kong lookalike already, weird! The game is without a doubt the best Kong game around, but that's not really saying much. The gameplay is a little more difficult than on the arcade machine, but it's not very compelling so I couldn't really be bothered to complete it. The graphics and sound are about average for this type of game: nothing remarkable. On the whole I feel that this would be better as a budget game, or even as a freebie on the back of one of OCEAN'S better titles, but not as a full-price game.' BEN

'Bit late folks! Is this a licence that OCEAN haven't used, or do they really think that this will set the software industry alight? I wasn't expecting much from this because the game is very bad and outdated. The graphics are badly drawn and move at a very slow pace. I didn't find anything in Donkey Kong that made me jump about with excitement. It's not the programmers' fault that the game is bad, it is just that OCEAN have released it at least two years too late.' PAUL

'This is strange indeed! How come OCEAN are releasing a game like Donkey Kong, which is only a souped-up version of their earlier Kong'? The original was renowned for its bugs, but this one at least seems to be free of them - and I should think so after all this time! Why anyone would want a conversion of an arcade machine that ' s been around for I don't how many years is a mystery to me, but then again, if you're one of the dedicated followers (there must be one of you, somewhere!) then this is about as close as you're going to get to the original on the Spectrum.' MIKE

Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: garish and simple
Graphics: simplistic with unsophisticated animation
Sound: unremarkable tune and effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: four
General Rating: A competent conversion of an ancient arcade game.


Screenshot Text

Donkey Kong carries the hapless heroine up the scaffolding to his pearch on level one.

Mario climbs to the third girder on his way up level one.