Story

Donkey Kong breaks into a greenhouse owned by Stanley The Bugman. While hanging in the rafters, Donkey Kong stirs up nests of bugs that will destroy Stanley’s flowers and plants in retaliation. Stanley, armed with a sprayer, must kill the bees and chase Donkey Kong away before the insects eat his Flowers and Vegetables.

Full thoughts and Review of Donkey Kong 3

The last and strangest of the Donkey Kong arcade game franchise, Donkey Kong 3, is a significant departure from the previous two games. Gone are the platforming elements to get to the end of the stage. Now, you shot bug spray up Donkey Kong’s, well backside, to shoo him off the stage. You also fight and keep insects away from your flowers. I do get the need to change up a game and gameplay. By this time, Mario was establishing his game series and many genres. I don’t know the history of this change, but going from platformer to shooter, almost worked, but didn’t for Donkey Kong 3.

The game is simple, keep shooting at Donkey Kong and get as high of a score as possible. It’s sort of a story and gnre departure from the previous two games, as this game acts more like a shoot um up than a platform game. While there are story elements of a sort in Donkey Kong 3, I don’t care about it since it is more hi-score-based. While you are trying to push Donkey Kong up the screen, bees and other insects try to stop you and steal your Flowers or vegetables. You have to prevent them from stealing your plants; otherwise, you will lose a life if the enemies take your flowers away. Donkey Kong will start to slip down from the vines as well if you don’t shoot him. If he gets too low and falls off, you lose a life. This shooter gameplay can provide a multitasking challenge. But, if you jump up and shoot Donkey Kong fast enough, you’ll beat the level in several seconds. 

If you are fast enough, then you can pass the last stage in a few seconds by jumping up and shooting.

I also was playing the NES version of the game. I usually know that games of the time are altered and ported to video game consoles. The last two Donkey Kong games I played had changes made coming from the arcade. But this version feels like it is missing much more than its original arcade counterpart, and it’s noticeable than the previous two games. The arcade has more details, like Stanley dancing after stopping Donkey Kong at the final level. Swarms of insects flying around the hives after Donkey Kong punches them in the opening of the game. Even a part where Donkey Kong throws coconuts at Stanley. While the first two differences left out of the game most likely due to the technical capabilities of the NES, It doesn’t make any sense to omit Donkey Kong throwing a projectile to distract you. I played the arcade before, and while I found the two games to e similar, I found the arcade is slightly more enjoyable than the NES game.

The enemies are Buzzbees, Beespies, Queen Buzzbees, Buttiflies, Beebombs (Beespies or Buzzbees that steal a plant from Stanley), and Creepies. Creepies are the only enemy that Stanley’s Bug Spray can’t defeat. Only the Power Spray can beat it. The bugs will hinder Stanley while he shoots at Donkey Kong. Either by attacking Stanley or trying to steal his flowers. They provide a good enough challenge for the player and make this feel more like a shooter like Galga. Most of the enemies are similar except Queen Buzzbee’s, which take two hits and fire out a spread attack after its defeat. Creepies are worm/snake-like enemies that go back and forth on the platforms. Buttiflies fly down to the level Stanley is on and charge at him. Occasionally the Power Spray will be near the top of Donkey Kong’s vine. Pushing Donkey Kong up to that level with knock the Power Spray down, and Stanley can equip it for a limited time. It’s powerful as it can push Donkey Kong up faster and kill all insects. It’s also the only power-up in the game. It’s not an awful power-up, but  Donkey Kong 3 could benefit more if you had a power-up that maybe clears the screen of all enemies as well. 

If you were able to aim in another direction besides up, this wouldn’t have been as bad of a game.

Control is another issue I have. You can only jump up and down between platforms. While this is pretty much all you will be doing in the game; sometimes you need to jump left and right. Unfortunately, you can’t move left or right while in the air. It can be a problem avoiding some enemies. You can jump down, but the time it takes for you to drop down and jump back up, Donkey Kong may slide down the vines, losing all of the work that you did to push him to the top of the level. If Jumpman/Mario can jump left or right in the air, I can’t see the reasoning to take this out of the game.

A lack of varying levels is another problem with the game. Yes, Donkey Kong and  Donkey Kong Jr. had three to four stages each, but  Donkey Kong 3 locations lack variety in their design layout. Expect for the second of the three levels; they are all the same. It gave the game a rushed-out feel, and if the game had more variety in levels, Donkey Kong 3 might be better overall, in my opinion of the game.  

I’m not sure what else I can say about this game. Donkey Kong 3 was the last of the Donkey Kong arcade game. By changing gameplay from platforming elements and moving towards shooter gaming elements, Donkey Kong 3 might have worked strangely, but it feels awkward. Stiff controls and a lack of variety and stages make this game hard to like. The same could thing for the arcade, but I’ll give the arcade credit for better animation and graphics that make it more attractive to play than the NES version. It is a short game for the wrong reasons, but some out there will enjoy this game.

Summarized thoughts and review of Donkey Kong 3

While I understand the need to branch off, Donkey Kong 3 goes in another direction. It could work, but the lack of variety of levels makes the game repetitive and dull. An arcade game in its form of going for a hi-score,  Donkey Kong 3 does that but doesn’t offer any challenge. As long as you keep jumping up and down, spraying Donkey Kong, and occasionally dodging the insects, you’ll have no problem getting a high score for this game. 

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