Ahhh! Back to the real classics of my childhood.
Donkey Kong Land is a platformer in which you take control of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Storyline is pretty much non-existant but the gameplay makes up for the lack of it very well.
The first thing that’s going to blow your mind is the yellow game pack. That’s right! You can even see it advertised on the box: “Banana Yellow Game Pak included!”… WOW ahah. I still think it’s pretty cool!
Look how cool it is:
The game has 4 different worlds to play in, much like the newer mario games on the NES and SNES. You go around the map and at the end of each world there’s a mini boss. The only boss I found semi-challenging was the last. Let’s just say that the bosses aren’t really the hardest part of the game.
The hardest part of the game is trying NOT to throw the banana yellow cartridge into the sea (I played it on the beach on my holidays) out of sheer frustration and anger. The game gives you 5 lives (hearts) and pretty much like Mario you can be “touched” by enemies twice before you die. This is if you collect the Donkey Kong barrel in the level. When you do collect it, if you die, Donkey Kong gets replaced by Diddy Kong and you can carry on playing without losing a heart.
Even if you do lose all your hearts, you will continue from the last level you were on. The game pretty much gives you infinite lives.
Donkey Kong Land has a good, but rather annoying, way of saving. On each level there are 4 letters to find: K O N and G. If you find all of them, the game will let you save your state. Most of the letters are easy to find, but sometimes you won’t find a certain letter for a few levels just to add to your frustration.
The graphics are really impressive considering it’s a gameboy game but they can be a little glitchy (maybe it was just my cart), meaning it will sometimes flicker enemies or Donkey Kong. Sometimes I think they tried to overdo it and put too much stuff on the screen making it hard to understand what’s going on.
That coin gives you a heart..Can you see donkey Kong between the clutter?:
Ah the enemies!!! You will find jumping crocodiles, huge rats, stone-spitting hawks, snakes flowing down poles, snakes crawling on the floor, and barrels. Wait WHAT? Barrels… wasn’t that the trademark weapon for Donkey Kong in his first appearance? WHY OH WHY would they hurt you in this game then??? God knows… Let’s just say I found out they could kill you the hard way. I then laughed…and after that I cried. Anyway you can kill enemies just like in Mario by jumping on them or by making a cartwheel by pressing B. Judging the distance of the cartwheel was pretty bad for me so I never used it. Jumping on enemies will be your most useful attack.
Did I mention how frustrating the game is? The game requires you to make precision jumps, predict that an enemy will appear after that jump, and then jump again over a barrel, then a rat appears and a crocodile jumps in your face. Not to mention the underwater levels where anything you touch rapes your face.
The game is very trial and error and dying is going to become the only thing you’re good at in Donkey Kong Land.
Underwater tentacle rape:
There are bonus levels which are reachable via cannon-like barrels. They shoot you to another area where you can ride a Rhino (kills anything in its path) and also an Ostrich sometimes (it can double-jump and glide), to gain more bananas (Donkey Kong’s version of Mario coins). Every 100 bananas you get a heart (not that you need it).
Nonetheless, this game was very enjoyable and entertaining. The gameplay is good and it wants to keep you stuck on your gameboy until you finish it. The lack of story is a bit of a deal breaker but maybe it’s just me craving for some Donkey Kong backstory.
All I can say is…that I’ll be waiting a while for my next adventure on Donkey Kong Land 2… Let my frustration cool off before.
Riqz’s score: 8/10
I have recently stopped playing modern games. I don’t really know why. Maybe I’m tired of increasingly boring sequels and the “hollywoodisation” of 90% of the titles out there. Maybe these new games just aren’t cutting it for me.
This is why I’ve decided to go retro. I whipped out my old consoles and started seeing what games I hadn’t finished completely. I found a website that can help me with my goal of finishing all my games. It’s called www.backloggery.com and it lets you make a custom list of your game titles and you can say what you’re playing (it can choose what you play next randomly) and what you’ve finished. It also makes very interesting statistics.
Anyway back on topic. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 for the Gameboy.
I actually had finished this title when I was little several times. We’re talking of a 17-18 year old title here…. I WANTED to play this through again. So many childhood memories came flooding back.
This game is just magnificent. Nintendo managed to make a completely new platformer with new abilities/strategies but with the same feeling of Super Mario somehow. Some of the things you find throughout this game are so well planned and thought out that it just makes playing it a wonderful experience.
What did Nintendo introduce that was so revolutionary then? First of all they created an Anti-Hero and made him lovable and that’s no small feat. You really end up rooting for this big version of a Mario gone bad. I believe he is the poor version of Mario. I imagine Wario sitting on the couch smelling like a sweaty road worker, with a stained white tank-top, with a full grown beard with food bits stuck in it, eating pizza and mumbling to himself trying to think up some master plan to beat Mario in any way possible.
From playing the game all you gather really is that Wario is a greedy bastard. All he wants is to get coins and end up building his own castle! I guess that’s what we all want in the end!
The game is beautifully structured with a classic Mario “world” where you run around the map into different zones which are all then divided in classic mario style levels. There are 40 levels in total with 5 secret levels.:
Wario plays very differently to the classic Mario saga, he doesn’t only have run and jump abilities, he also has a tackle ability that can send enemies flying in the air. Makes me think that Wario was a pretty good American Football running-back. This is coupled with “hats”. Wario can wear different hats to gain some useful abilities that will get him through the perilous stages he has to face.
The Bull-hat puts horns on Wario! This increases the distance of his dash and he can butt-stomp enemies to death. He can also break stones with one dash/headbutt instead of 2. He can also stick to ceilings with the horns (very underutilized ability).
The Dragon-hat makes wario breath fire out of it! This is especially usefull underwater as it can break stones, kill enemies and unlock nice bonuses from the bonus blocks.
The Jet-hat makes Wario fly! This hat lets you fly for a limited amount of time letting you breeze through some levels and access previously inaccessible areas. It also makes you walk faster!
This screenshot brings me to another beautiful point. I mentioned that Wario was greedy earlier and this influences the player, making you become greedy as well. The game lets you gain money by collecting coins in levels, but there’s also a cool feature. You remember checkpoints in Super Mario World for the snes? You just passed through a ribbon and you were saved half way through the level. In wario it doesn’t come as easy as that… You actually have to give up 10 coins in order to save with the checkpoint. You press up and B and hey presto a 10 Wario-Dollar coin appears in Wario’s hands. You then throw it inside the slot to save your state. This has to be done to open the end-level door! It really makes you greedy in that sense. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t need to waste 10 Wario-Dollars to save because I wanted to risk trying the whole level. Just to save 10 coins ahah. Real Wario-style.
Another good addition to the game is the treasures. All throughout the world there are a few levels in which you will find a special key. This key opens a special door in the same level which will give you a treasure. These treasures will add up to your “wealth” at the end of the game. They are nice puzzles, some hidden, some not so much, scattered through the Wario World.
All in all this is a very good game that withstands the test of time. I played it after nearly 2 decades and it’s still so fun to play you’ll be amazed.
If you’ve never played it or never finished it this is a must for any gameboy owner or for any gamer that deserves being called a gamer after all.
A negative point has to be given for the shitty mini-games after the stages. When you finish a stage you’re brought to choose between two doors. One has the money mini-game and the other has a heart-minigame (100 hearts=a life). The heart mini-game is pretty useless as you won’t be needing many lives if you’re a decent gamer, and the money mini-game makes you lose more money than you gain. So stay away from it.
P.s. MARIO YOU OWE ME A GOLD STATUE!