The Many Incarnations of Donkey Kong

Welcome to the“The Many Incarnations of… ” - This month we look at the trials and tribulations of one mixed-up ape, known to millions as Donkey Kong. From Villain to Hero, DK has had a long and colorful career. Pac-Man is here to provide “color commentary,” and Professor Pac-Man is on hand with interesting tidbits of trivia about each game!

1981
Donkey Kong



From the Flyer: Everyone’s going ape over Donkey Kong! “HELP! HELP!” cries the beautiful maiden as she is dragged up a labyrinth of structural beams by the ominous Donkey Kong. “SNORT. SNORT.” Foreboding music warns of the eventual doom that awaits the poor girl, lest she somehow be miraculously rescued. “But, wait! Fear not, fair maiden. Little Mario, the carpenter, is in hot pursuit of you this very moment.” Throwing fate to the wind, risking life and limb, or worse, little Mario tries desperately to climb the mighty fortress of steel, to save the lovely lady from the evil Mr. Kong. Little Mario must dodge all manner of obstacles – fireballs, plummeting beams and a barrage of exploding barrels fired at him by Donkey Kong. Amidst the beautiful girl’s constant pleas for help, your challenge is to maneuver little Mario up the steel structure, while helping him to avoid the rapid-fire succession of hazards that come his way. As little Mario gallantly battles his way up the barriers, he is taunted and teased by Donkey Kong, who brazenly struts back and forth, beating his chest in joyful exuberance at the prospect of having the beautiful girl all to himself. It is your job to get little Mario to the top. For it is there, and only there, that he can send the mighty Donkey Kong to his mortal doom. Leaving little Mario and the beautiful girl to live happily ever after. “SIGH. SIGH.” So, if you want the most exciting, most fun-filled, most talked about family video game on the market, don’t monkey around with anything but the original Donkey Kong.

Constant pleas for help – what’s that all about? I prefer a woman who can chomp on her own, so I’ll leave the dainty fair maidens for Mario. Wocka! Wocka! 

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man:  When Donkey Kong was created little Mario was actually known as Jumpman. Jumpman was later renamed Mario by Nintendo of America’s staff, in honor of his resemblance to their landlord Mario Segali. Donkey Kong was the first video game that allowed players to jump over objects.

1982
Donkey Kong Junior




From the Flyer: Can the son of Donkey Kong save his papa from little Mario’s impenetrable prison? Fate has turned the tables on the inimitable Donkey Kong. After Mario saved the Beautiful Girl from the lustful clutches of Donkey Kong, he lead the brokenhearted ape into captivity, locking him behind steel bars, never again to strut his stuff before the fair maidens of the world. As the frustration of confinement enrages Donkey Kong, Mario complacently stands guard over the cell, holding the sought after key to freedom. But wait! Unbeknownst to Little Mario, Donkey Kong has produced an offspring – Donkey Kong Junior! A death-defying little monkey, shrewd and cunning, who resists all enemies to rescue Papa Donkey Kong. As Mario’s brigade of snapping jaws, ape-eating birds and energy pods launch their offensive, Junior bombards them with a fusillade of Fruit Bombs that aim to annihilate his every foe. Mario, beware of Donkey Kong Junior. He’s crafty. He’s fearless. He jumps in four different directions. Watch how Junior strategically maneuvers his way to the top at high speeds. How he wrests the key away from Mario. The key that gives Papa the freedom to once again beat his chest and chase girls! With Donkey Kong Junior not far behind. Donkey Kong Junior offers the most exciting sound effects, visual imagery and challenging playboards. If you loved the original Donkey Kong, you’ll go positively ape over Donkey Kong Junior!

Wait a minute! Junior – doesn’t that mean that there’s a Mrs. Kong? Where is Mrs. Kong during all this girl chasing? Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: The song that is played before the game starts is Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. You can also hear the Can-Can played during the game. Donkey Kong Junior inspired a cartoon series produced by Ruby-Spears productions and aired as part of the Saturday Supercade on CBS.

1983
Donkey Kong 3




From the Flyer: A thrilling battle! More exciting than ever! Stanley and his sprayer vs. Donkey Kong’s coconut attack! Donkey Kong 3! Protect more flowers to collect more points! These get stronger with each flower they take from Stanley’s garden. A super sprayer hangs on Donkey Kong’s vine. Force Donkey Kong up past the super sprayer to make a drop to the floor! Now Stanley can counter-attack in case of an emergency! Complete each phase by either pushing Donkey Kong to the top of his vine or by exterminating all bees. Introduction of Characters: Donkey Kong throws coconuts at Stanley! Beware! Don’t let Donkey Kong occupy the floor! Creepy is a slow moving worm. Spray Creepy to keep him under control! Watch for Buzzbees, they attack with spears! Beware of Beespy, it takes two shots to kill him. The second shot will make him blow up like a bomb! Donkey Kong returns with fighting bees in a fast action battle! Help Stanley protect the flowers!

Since when do bees steal entire flowers? Oh yeah, since they started working for Donkey Kong the fair maiden-less, has to be rescued by Junior, now cohorting with insects, hapless ape! Even Mario wanted nothing to do with this one! Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: This is the only Nintendo game to feature the character Stanley the Exterminator. The bees have a pattern when they swarm from their hives and come down for the attack. Watch for the patterns on the Jungle and Temple levels and use this to your advantage!

2005
Donkey Kong: Jungle Fever (Japan Only)




From the Flyer: Donkey Kong Jungle Fever by Medallusion! Donkey Kong has an adventure set in the jungle! Insert your tokens along the arrows and Donkey Kong manipulates them. Progress through the game by collecting bananas and tokens. Stop the panels and challenge the “Battle Game” and “Chance Game”. Lots of chances to get tokens! Be careful of bombs (bullet vine) and collect ten bananas! Look down but don’t fall as you aim for the crest! Collect four types of crests for a chance at SJP! Many fun Battle and Chance games! Skillfully jump from rope to rope! Break down the wall! Win the battle with the help of Mini JP! 

An ape in the jungle – who would have figured!? Looks like Donkey Kong is tearing the place apart back at home…maybe in preparation for another US Arcade appearance? Hmm, what do think Professor? Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: Well Pac-Man, this game was released only in Japan as a one-player medal game. We would know this as a token game in the United States. It is rumored that the next game on our list, Donkey Kong: Banana Kingdom, is set to debut in the US Arcades sometime this year.

TBA 2007
Donkey Kong: Banana Kingdom




From the Flyer: Donkey Kong Banana Kingdom – six player token machine! Many chances to get tokens! Put the odd numbers in order! Collect 8 rainbow bananas and SJP game. Bananas come up and climb up to the top and defeat the boss to win banana collection game! 

Hey, it looks like the big ape will finally make an appearance back in the US arcades with Donkey Kong Banana Kingdom. It’s been a long time big fella! Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: It is a rumored that this may be a sequel to the GameCube video game Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. It is currently being developed by Capcom and published by Nintendo.

Beyond the Arcades

1983 - Donkey Kong Jr. Math
1994 - Donkey Kong Country
1995 - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
1996 - Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble
1997 - Diddy Kong Racing
1999 - Donkey Kong 64
2004 - Mario vs. Donkey Kong
2004 - Donkey Konga
2005 - Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
2005 - Donkey Konga 2
2005 - DK: King of Swing
2006 - Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
2005 - Donkey Konga 3 (Japan Only)
TBA - DK Bongo Blast
TBA - Donkey Kong Taru Jet Race
TBA - Donkey Kong Revolution (Working Title)

♪ Scale up the wall, just how high can you go? You'll surely break her heart if you get up there too slow. Pound upon your chest and take an elevator ride; You can get off at the top and then you look from side to side. Do the Donkey Kong. Do the Donkey Kong! ♪ Wocka! Wocka!

* This article is only a listing of known unique game titles. It does not cover clones of released titles, nor will it list the various platforms the titles have appeared on. It is not meant to be an all-inclusive reference listing, and should be viewed only as the recreational offering it was intended to be. Game descriptions, game titles and registered trademarks mentioned herein are properties of their respective owners.

* *Special thanks to Bobby Tribble for translating the descriptions for Donkey Kong: Jungle Fever and Donkey Kong: Banana Kingdom!

First Published July 2007