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File:Donkey Kong 94 main illustration 9527.png

Donkey Kong '94 is one name for a Puzzle Platformer released on Nintendo's Game Boy handheld in 1994. The game is essentially an Updated Rerelease of the original 1981 arcade game. The exact same Excuse Plot is used here -- Donkey Kong has kidnapped Pauline, and Mario must chase him down.

The game even opens with the same four levels of the original. But after the fourth level is beaten, the arcade ending begins, and is immediately subverted when DK comes to and takes Pauline back. What follows is 97 levels of lock and key puzzles spread across 9 worlds. [1]

Every four levels, you face off against DK himself. The last stage of each world is a barrel fight.

Several game mechanics are in play:

  • Of course, all the challenges you'd expect from a Platform Game. This includes moving platforms, climbing vines, swinging from ropes, conveyor belts, wind, etc.
  • The aforementioned Lock and Key Puzzle. No explanation necessary. Sometimes Mario will be forced to drop the key for a while so he can do other things, but if it's left alone for too long (about ten seconds), it will warp back to where it started.
  • Boxes that, when Mario touches them, will allow the player to place temporary walkways, ladders, single blocks, or springboards. Quite a few levels hinge around placing these and racing the clock to cross them before they disappear.
  • Levers that manipulate various aspects of the level, such as opening gates or controlling moving platforms.
  • The hammer from the arcade Donkey Kong is still here. This is the only way to kill Mooks besides throwing stuff at them.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong for the Game Boy Advance was originally planned as an Updated Rerelease of this game; the working title was Donkey Kong Plus and it was to include a level editor.

It was also the first game to have Super Game Boy enhancements: Color support, some enhanced audio, and a custom border designed to look like a Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.


Donkey Kong 94 provides examples of:

  • Acrofatic: while high jumps are expected from Mario, his acrobatic prowess in this game is something you have to see to believe.
  • Adaptation Dye Job: Pauline was changed from a blonde to a brunette, which is now her current looks.
  • Adaptation Expansion
  • Art Evolution: Donkey Kong is given his trademarked red tie in this game which was carried over to Donkey Kong Country (although technically it's still the future Cranky Kong in this game), while Pauline now sports her current brunette look.
  • Boss Remix: The final boss theme is basically an extension of the jingle that played in the original arcade version when Donkey Kong climbed the ladder; it's played in this game when a boss level is selected
  • Call Forward: Mario, DK, Junior and Pauline all end up on the Mushroom Kingdom, where the events of the first Super Mario Bros. takes place.
  • Catch and Return: If Mario is doing a handstand, a barrel that hits his feet will land harmlessly to the side, allowing him to pick up the barrel and throw it back.
  • Cranium Ride: Used as a key part of many levels.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Although the button layout is what a veteran of Mario games is used to, the game engine is similar to the original Donkey Kong, so Mario's movement is different (particularly relating to stopping from a run) than in the Super Mario Bros. games. He also lacks the ability to safely land from falls of any height, although he can fall further safely than he could in the original game.
  • Drop the Hammer: Gets more uses in puzzles here than in the original
  • Easy Level Trick: Most levels have at least one shortcut that helps shave off seconds.
  • Going Through the Motions: It has a few more than a player might expect for this type of game
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Among the aforementioned stuff thrown at mooks to kill them is other mooks.
  • Half Truth: Page 8 of the game's manual claimed that "Mario cannot use some of these new actions at first, but as he continues along the quest, he will acquire the skills to use them." This would seem to imply that some of Mario's moves had to be unlocked; in reality, all the moves are usable from the beginning, and the only things you can't do involve level elements (e.g. levers) that don't show up until later.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: You only go up in the last tower.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Though Jr. isn't as good at antagonizing Mario
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: Pretty much the entire point of the game.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The final boss.
  • Meaningless Lives: Almost every level has a 1-Up floating around somewhere. In addition to this, every four levels you get at least one extra life (usually at least five), and then there's the bonus games at the end of each level.
  • Nostalgia Level: In addition to the first four levels, the game contains stages designed to resemble the levels from Donkey Kong Jr - In fact, stage 9-4 is basically Donkey Kong Jr's final stage - except the keys are locking Junior in the cage. As you might guess, it's the last stage where he appears.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Mario can die if he falls far enough - unless you can manage to grab a ladder or vine in time.
  • Poison Mushroom: Donkey Kong and Jr will throw these at you on rare occasions.
  • Puzzle Platformer
  • Rule of Three
    • The three bonus items in each level. Collecting all three will allow one to play a bonus game for extra lives.
    • Donkey Kong takes three hits with barrels to defeat.
      • Except in the final battle, where it's six hits.
        • Though, those six hits are in 3 waves of 2 hits each. Yay math!
    • Every set of levels has three normal levels, punctuated by one boss level.
  • Save Point: Every four levels.
  • Save the Princess: Pauline isn't actually a princess, but still.
  • Scary Scorpions: An uncommon enemy, they don't go out of their way to attack Mario.
  • Stalactite Spite: Icicles that only fall when Mario passes under them
  • Stern Chase: Lots of damage is taken by both parties, the obstacles are many and the locations get more ridiculous as it goes on.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: It made sense in the original game, when Mario could only barely clear them, to constantly throw barrels at the plumber. But now that he can jump higher and Catch and Return them? Not DK's best move. Of course, since he's merely a gorilla, it's at least justifiable.
  • Throw a Barrel At It: Donkey Kong uses this even more and Mario does too.
  • Wall Crawl: Many enemies can do this. Occasionally you need to stand on top of them to get where you need to go.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The game opens with the four levels from the original arcade game, leading players to believe that it's just an ordinary port. Until one beats the fourth level and the arcade ending is subverted. Then everything changes.
    • Yet another one after Stage 9-8. Wait, Stage 9-9? Oh dear...

Notes

  1. The arcade stages are considered world zero.
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