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Giving my thoughts on every Mario game I own: Donkey Kong 3

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Before I begin, I want to quicky address something:

In case you noticed, I changed the title of this from “review” to “giving my thoughts on” for a reason. This was mainly because I think this better describes what i'm aiming for, however it will not change what will actually be said in this…rambling Idk.

The term “review” implies that I have something very important to say or want to address in this. The truth is, I don't. The main thing I hope to achieve with these could be compared to a “socratic seminar” for video games. For those of you who don't know what a socratic seminar is, well first, I envy you. Second, that means that it’s more of a group discussion. In a socratic seminar, you bring a couple of points you want to make and then make them with the group. Then the other people involved comment on what points you make. That's what I mean when I ask what your thoughts are.

If you were looking for something important or new to say about theise games, then I promise you, this probably isn't gonna be it. I'm sorry to everyone who was disappointed by that but hey, nobody’s forcing you to read this. I'm doing this because I enjoy talking and giving my thoughts on theise games, whether that fits your definition of interesting or not.

With that out of the way, back to my thoughts!

If you thought Donkey Kong Jr was obscure, you haven't seen shit yet. Literally, because so far I haven't seen someone online even mention this game before. Granted I haven't exactly looked that far. I believe this was the last arcade game Nintendo made before they jumped exclusively onto the N.E.S. That kinda shows one of two things, one, this was made when the N.E.S.-or console gaming-was on the rise, or two, this game was so received so poorly that it made Nintendo give up on arcade gaming as a whole. Given that it's the only game I've talked about so far that's not included on the N.E.S. classic, i'm gonna assume that it's the later one. But why is that? Is this game really that bad? Well there's only one way to find out. Here is my review on Donkey Kong 3.

But before I begin, as the title says, I'm giving my thoughts on every mario game that I own. While this definitely doesn't include all of them, it still includes a fair chunk of them. Ever since I was young I've always enjoyed Mario games and I always felt a certain sense of nostalgia when playing them. So i'll just say don't worry, i'm still gonna talk about a pretty big chunk of them. And also, sorry if your favorite doesn't get talked about. Also just warning you, there are some parts of my ramblings where I talk about my nostalgic connection to some of these games. If you're not into that, skip maybe the first paragraph or two.

Nostalgia:

I distinctly remember the first time I learned about and played this game. My family was on vacation and we were sharing a cabin with my dads coworkers. One advantage of the cabin was that it had the old arcade cabinet with like, 300 arcade games. I'm pretty sure i've seen the same exact cabinet at some other places over the years, but this is the first time I saw it. I had a blast playing some of my older favorite games, and getting some new favorites along the way. But one game that I played that I will never forget is Donkey Kong 3. Everything about the game immediately intrigued me. The music, the gameplay, the fact that this took place in a greenhouse, by the end of the vacation our entire family was hooked. It wouldn't be for a couple of years later, when I was around 14 that I would get to play it again. I downloaded it off of the wii u eshop and relieved all the memories that I missed from that fateful vacation.

Story:

The plot of this game centers around Donkey Kong disturbing the greenhouse of an innocent man named Stanely. In order to get him out, he must force Donkey Kong to the roof of the greenhouse. This won't be easy, as he assaults Stanley with fruit, bugs, and other obstacles. The player takes on the role of Stanely.

This is the only game in the Donkey Kong series to not include Mario in any way shape or form. While one can make the argument that this technically isn't a Mario game, I consider any game with Mario characters to be one.

Gameplay:

Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr both center around a combination of platforming and repetitive skill. Donkey Kong 3, however, leans fully to repetitive skill. This game throws out any sort of platforming skills in any way, shape, or form. Every stage almost looks identical to each other with some slight, but very important differences on each stage. This is mainly what sets this game apart from the others in the Donkey Kong trilogy. Personally I think this was an odd choice, but I can learn to accept it for what it is.

The 3 types of stages themselves all have the same objective. It begins with a brief cutscene of Donkey Kong on some ropes, angering two nests of bugs. The player then has to use a can of bug spray to shoot Donkey Kong. This will force Donkey Kong to climb upwards until he is at the next floor, ending the level. One thing to note here is that if the player goes too long without shooting Donkey Kong, he will slowly climb back down, thus undoing all of the progress that the player has made so far. This provides what is the biggest challenge in the game, as there are a couple other things that the player needs to balance out and pay attention to as well. I would even say that if they took this out, the rest of the game wouldn't be nearly as much fun to play.

Each stage includes some platforms that the player must jump on in order to get a better height advantage so that they can shoot Donkey Kong when he's at higher heights. However some stages are missing parts of a platform, and others just don't include some platforms at all. This makes for a perfect way to make things more difficult that isn't just “oh look more enemies.” While I get pretty frustrated at this at times, I guess that just means it's doing its job.

While the player is jumping from platform to platform trying to shoot Donkey Kong, multiple bugs and other insects will fly down and try to mess with the player in various ways. They always start at the top and try to make their way down to the player. The only way to get rid of them is to spray them with the same bug spray that you're spraying Donkey Kong with. This however, takes the attention off of Donkey Kong and onto the bugs, thus giving him the OK to slowly climb back down as I mentioned earlier. While the clear intention of this is to get the player to multitask, as once the bugs make their way down to you they'll start flying sporadically and touching them once is an immediate loss of life, this also makes for a good risk-reward system. The player can either deal with all of the bugs on the screen and come back to Donkey kong later or they could just fire away at Donkey Kong and hope that the bugs don't hit them. It also gives the player a valid reason to hop to the bottom platforms, because they give the player a lot more room to deal with the bugs. This really adds a lot more chaos into the picture and I think is the sole reason why this game is harder than the others. I'll talk more about that later.

In each level, there are 5 flowers at the bottom of the stage. Whenever an enemy reaches the bottom of the stage, they'll take one and attempt to fly off with it. If successful, the flower will be gone. At the end of the level, the player gets a score bonus for each flower still left. Once the enemy is trying to get away with a flower, the player has a certain amount of time to stop them. I think this leaves just the right amount of time to stop them. Any less would've been impossible and any more would be too much. The flowers don't have any impact gameplay wise, so if the player only wants to get to the end of the level, there really is no reason to protect them. The only usefulness they serve is if the player is trying to get the best score possible, or just wants a challenge. Still a harmless concept though.

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Some stages have a special can of bug spray that Donkey Kong knocks down once he gets to a certain height. Collecting this will give the player a more powerful can of bug spray that can shoot at any height from any platform for a limited time, thus removing the challenge of trying to find the right platform entirely. While yes, this was my saving grace more times than I'd like to admit, it definitely has some ups and downs. For one, I like how despite being a powerup, it isn't an immediate “you win the level” necessarily. There are still other factors you have to take in, just not as many. One thing I don't like, however, is how if you beat a level with it, it continues onto the next level. I have literally beaten levels in a matter of seconds because of this power up that I got in the previous level. While this game is relatively difficult, it should still run out after the level it was found in my opinion.

Now let's talk about the individual enemies. First we have the beespies, theise just fly down the stage and attempt to steal flowers. Nothing particularly to note here. Next we have the queen beespies. These are always guarded by other beespies, and need to be shot 3 times in order to defeat them. They also explode after being defeated, and getting hit by their explosion results in a loss of life. There's also a mosquito-like enemy. They hang out at the bottom of the stage and will randomly fly towards the player. The player then needs to jump in order to avoid them. The last is a snake that comes down one of the vines and slides across the platforms, making you have to move if you are in its way. Unlike the other enemies, this one can't be destroyed by the bug spray unless they spray it while it's climbing down the vine. This is a pretty good combination of enemies in my opinion and some of them really make the player think if it's worth taking time to destroy them. Allegedly there are more as the game goes on, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Also not necessarily an enemy, but occasionally Donkey Kong will throw a coconut at the player. The player only has about a split second to react to it or it will hit them and make them lose a life. I thought this was unnecessary and out of the blue. It really should've been scrapped and it's nothing but a random screw over.

Something I said earlier that I would talk about here is that the difficulty for this game is significantly higher than the other Donkey Kong games. What led me to think this is replaying the other two back to back like I did, I ended up losing a lot more lives on this game than I did any other. I think this is mainly due to the high multitasking element in this game that just isn't present in the others. It isn't enough to take away from my enjoyment of the game, but that's just something that I want to note.

I guess I have to mention the two player mode as well. Like the previous two, this one alternates between turns. I'll have to say though I think this is the one game that might benefit from having two people play at once. Being able to divide and conquer it this game would really be interesting. As it is thought its alright.

Graphics:

I know that when I play these games, I'm primarily talking about the N.E.S. Ports, however I feel that's it's important to mention something from the arcade version that I really wish they included in the N.E.S. port. In the arcade version, there are these blue lines in the background that make out a greenhouse. I always thought that this was REALLY cool and I'm so disappointed that they didn't bring it back to the N.E.S. port. It really lit up the stage while providing some neat little detail. Unfortunately the N.E.S. port doesn’t get that kind of attention to detail. Instead we get kind of a murkier version of the arcade version.

At this point I've accepted that we probably won't get the neon glare effect of Donkey Kong again. However the graphics here don’t do much to improve on Donkey Kong Jr. There are some unique effects with some of the colors, but that's about it for the graphics themselves.

The sprite work is alright for the most part. There is something that I want to note and that is the sprite of Stanley himself. I always thought it just looked a lot more buggy than it was supposed to and I love it. His eyes are just constantly sticking right out of his head and that's hysterical.

Music:

Not only is Donkey Kong 3 the hardest game in the series, but I always felt like it was the most threatening one too. That's mainly thanks to the music. The music in this game is a lot more hectic and encourages you to act faster. The main theme is pretty much the king bob-omb theme from Super Mario 64, and I think it works really well here and does its job nicely.

The second thing about the music that I would like to detail is the death jingle. It really does feel like the game is laughing at the player, while also encouraging them to try again. Quite frankly, I'd like to see more games do this with their death jingle. The last thing I'd like to note here is how when a flower is being abducted, the music temporarily changes to a more fast paced one to let you know that one of your flowers is being stolen. I think it's a good way to let the player know what's happening while also keeping with the hectic tune of the main theme.

Overall:

I like this game, no doubt about it. It's more threatening tone and increase of difficulty really makes it stand out in the Mario universe. Maybe we can even see Stanely as a reference in another Mario game one day. However, I can see why it doesn't get talked about nearly as much as the other Donkey Kong games. Not only is it technically a shooter, but it mixes up the formula WAY too much. Sometimes I think about what this game could have been if the main character wasn't Donkey Kong. I guess that proves that you kinda have to enjoy this game for what it's worth, not comparing it to the other two. There are some kinda clunky moments though, so therefore this game gets a 4 / 5.

Ways to play this game today:

Again, you could technically find this game on the switches arcade archives collection, but because that mainly deals with the arcade version, im gonna rule that out.

So anyways, there are a couple of ways you can find this game today:

.If you have an original N.E.S. and an original cartridge, but assuming you don't have that, I'm gonna rule this one out. .If you downloaded it on wiishop you can play it that way, but wiishop is closed in 2021. So you'd have to have already downloaded it. .If you have a wiiu or 3ds it's available for 4.99$ plus tax, which I think is a good price. (this is mainly how I played it for this talk) .If you have N.E.S. Online, it's one of the games available. But I really wouldn't buy it for this game alone. (While I didnt use this way as much, I still used it a fair bit.) If you have inexperienced little ones looking to play this game however, this might be one of the better options because of the rewind feature, which can help fix stupid mistakes.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear what you think about this game, so don't be afraid to tell me. Anyways that's all for my thoughts, and happy gaming.

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