So, we all know that any Nintendo news is quite scant these days. It seems as if Nintendo has gone into it’s shell, only emerging every so often to announce that they are “working on things!” To that I say, hopefully they’ll package five golden tickets inside copies of Wario Ware: Shake Yo’ Ass (Watch Yo’ Self), and then I’ll be able to go see the magical insides of the Nintendo factory! I’ll be the fat German kid, please.
Anyway, as a way of satisfying my rampant desire for video gamery, I have looked to the past, to games that at one point I thought would be fun, but then I forgot about them. These were the beautiful days where we could just pass a game by, because Nintendo games flowed like delicious chocolate, oh god, a wonderful river of chocolate AUGUSTUS NO!
On my current trip down to the Southern-Most of the Hemispheres, I brought along a game that I had wanted to play for a long while, a sequel to one of my favorite overlooked Game Boy Games of yesteryear. I assume that since we’re all Nintendorks, you probably played it, but if you didn’t, do you remember Donkey Kong for the Game Boy?
If you don’t remember the lovely game, here is a synopsis. It was a 2D platformer, and started by just copying four of the boards from the original Donkey Kong arcade game. Mario runs up some girders and jumps over barrels and grabs hammers and destroys little bits of living flame. This is the part that many people might have been put off by. It’s not very interesting, since you’ve seen it a million times.
However, once these stages are beat, the game takes off with 97 extra stages, where Mario suddenly is placed in a level of girders and blocks, with a locked door as the only exit. The goal of these levels is to guide Mario to a key, which he then picks up and carries to unlock the door and leave the level. Along the way, he can pick up some random items (from his on-again, off-again girlfriend Pauline), like a totally fetching purse, a darling hat, and a gay-ass parasol.
That’s the game. Go get the key, and bring the key to the door. This also sounds kind of boring, but the fun came in the fact that the game was a puzzle-platformer. Each level was never straightforward, and you had to be quite clever sometimes to figure out how exactly to accomplish such a simple task. This was made more interesting with a variety of skills that Mario had allowing him to jump higher, swing on hanging electrical lines, or even throw the powerful hammer, move a little bit, and catch it again to kick Oil ass. The moves harken back to all of the various things that Mario has been asked to do over his long and storied career.
It is a fun game. If you can find it, pick it up. Play it. I did, years ago. It’s a great game for a long trip. Nintendo knows it was a fun game, because it decided to make a sequel years later for the Game Boy Advance: Mario Vs. Donkey Kong. This is the game I’ve been playing on my trip, and it is equally as fun, with some clever new twists, as well.
There are differences between the games. For one, the GBA game is in color, and features the worst psuedo-3D blurry sprite for Mario. It has swapped out Pauline in favor of these tiny robotic Mario toys, and so you collect presents instead of fashion accessories. But overall, the gameplay is the same. Get the key. Bring the key to the door. However, at the end of your collecting of the little miniature Marios, you have to guide them, Lemmings style, to a toy box, which you close and complete the set of levels. Boss battles with Donkey Kong are back as well, and overall, it’s more of the same. There are a few more moves that Mario can do, lending to some different, clever puzzles. The strength in the game is how the different moves (which are cleverly shown before each level to give you a clue as to how to go about finishing the task at hand) all work together near the end for tough puzzles. Oh, the music in the GBA version is not near as catchy as the music from the GB original. This is a big deal. Yes, I will say it. However, this version has all kinds of weird voice acting from Sir. Dr. Charles Martinet, Esq, and it’s kind of fun. There’s a sound byte where, between levels, you get the chance to win 1ups, and if you fail and pick Donkey Kong, he grunts in a hilarious way. It has honestly made me laugh each time I heard it.
Ok, so, basically, what I am saying is that both games are fantastic. I think the first of the two is better than the second, but each game is a perfect realization of the handheld aesthetic. These are games meant for short bursts of play. They are Mario platformers, but beyond the rote jump-on-goombas style games we’ve been treated to over the years. No, there is more to this, and successful completion of a level can be an absolute joy.
These aren’t reviews per se, more like High Recommendations From Kevin. If you like things, and want to play a game, this is something that you may have overlooked. There’s even a DS sequel that I haven’t played yet, called Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis. Is that any good? Send me your thoughts about the game if you’ve played it, or any of these games, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seriously! I hope I’m not the only person who enjoyed these games. In a future column where I extol the virtues of a game you might have overlooked, I’ll discuss some of your replies! That’ll be fun. Right? Can anyone read anymore? Is that a thing that kids do?