Donkey Kong Junior: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview
Donkey Kong Junior, the first sequel to Donkey Kong, introduces new characters, new challenges and a totally revamped objective. Donkey Kong is a non-playable character, and serves as focal point of the storyline. Nintendo is both the publisher and the distributor of Donkey Kong Junior, which was originally released as an arcade game in 1982. Due to the popularity of Mario and company in the Donkey Kong Series, Nintendo released the first Mario Brothers title shortly after Donkey Kong 3 was unveiled.
Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshio Sakamoto designed the art and graphics in Donkey Kong Junior, but Miyamoto is credited as having the most input, both design wise and artistically. Miyamoto also worked on the original Donkey Kong title. Donkey Kong Junior is a platform game created and developed in the same manner as the original title in this series. Yukio Kaneoka composed the main title track to Donkey Kong Junior.
Unsurprisingly, Donkey Kong Junior became available on almost every Nintendo based video game console in existence. The most recent home and portable consoles compatible with Donkey Kong Junior include the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii.
Game Play Overview
Once again, players take the role of an energetic gorilla as he swings, jumps and makes his through several levels of adventure. Donkey Kong Junior, who is on a quest to find and free his father, Donkey Kong, must evade wild beasts and other surprise attacks launched by Mario. This arcade classic marks the second appearance of Mario. There are only four levels in this game, but they continue to repeat in a cycle seen in many other arcade titles produced in the early 1980s.
On all four levels Donkey Kong can be seen locked in a stage positioned just below the top of the screen. Of course, Donkey Kong Junior's end goal is to reach the cage that holds his father and unlock it with a series of keys. While Mario himself does not directly attack Donkey Kong Junior, his minions are more than capable of knocking him off of platforms and loosening his grip on vines.
Although there are only a few basic controls, Donkey Kong Junior's movements are quite fluid. Using the left and right direction keys allows Donkey Kong Junior to walk across the screen while the up and down keys gives him the ability to traverse vines. Finally, the jump key makes DK Junior leap over gaps and over enemies.
There are multiple enemies positioned on virtually every area of Donkey Kong Junior. This means that players have to develop their own unique ways of dealing with flying nitpickers, vine-dwelling Snapjaws and aerial spark attacks. Other than jumping out of the way or running away from his enemies, Donkey Kong Junior can also use hanging fruit to his advantage. Simply by making contact with any of the number of hanging fruit present on each stage, DK Junior has the ability to turn this seemingly powerless item into a virtual lethal weapon.
In addition to Donkey Kong Junior's fruit based attack, there are several other special features available in this title. Every stage starts off with a set amount of time in which players need to complete the level. Any time that is left on this clock at the conclusion of a level is converted into bonus points. You can also gain extra men at 20,000 point intervals.
Snapjaws – Snapjaws look like snakes with oversized heads. They move back and forth across platforms and the ground level. They come in two varieties; blue or red. Blue snapjaws travel carefully and slow, which is what makes them dangerous. Red snapjaws have much more speed, but they are less likely to follow Donkey Kong Junior.
Donkey Kong Junior – Donkey Kong Junior is Donkey Kong's son and he is every bit as strong and capable as his father. The main character of the game, DK Junior has the same full range of movement as his predecessor.
Fruit – You find a great deal of fruit hanging from high surfaces on every stage. Use Donkey Kong Junior to bump into the hanging fruit, sending it straight toward your enemies below.
Mario – Physically, Mario doesn't do much other than walk around his designated area. However, Mario is the entire reason that Donkey Kong Junior is on a mission to free his father from a tiny cage. Donkey Kong Junior also has Mario to thank for the endless amount of opponents that remain on his heels throughout the game.
Nitpickers – These birds will fly and swoop in from the far sides of the screen, attempting to knock Donkey Kong Junior off of various surfaces. They usually come in when you are most vulnerable, like making your way across the hanging rings. Nitpickers also have the ability lay an egg while in midair, but this attack is rare. Remember that the abilities of nitpickers vary by size, with the smallest nitpickers attacking in a boomerang like motion. By contrast, large sized nitpickers will weave back and forth.
Donkey Kong – Until you reach level four, Donkey Kong is unable to do anything besides peer out of his cage. After his cage is unlocked at the conclusion of stage four, Donkey Kong will be released.
Sparks – While sparks don't move through the area, they do move along almost every other surface. You will need to be careful as you walk across platforms, go up and down vines and travel across the rings. They all originate from the same place, in the circuit breaker situated in Mario's Hideout. Blue sparks can deviate from their original path, so make sure that you keep a close eye on them. Red Sparks are fairly predictable.
How to Play Donkey Kong Junior
Since Donkey Kong Junior utilizes infinite play, you really want to focus on getting the highest score possible. In order to do this, you will need to move through levels quickly and efficiently. The more enemies that you can knock out with fruit, the better. However, the extra time bonus is just as important when it comes to accumulating points. On the very top platform on the first three stages, you will need to pick up a key before you can finish. This is pretty much the way that every single stage is laid out.
Level 1 – The Vines Stage
On level one, Donkey Kong Junior will make his way up a series of vines and platforms. Nitpickers, snapjaws and sparks will be present in full force. Donkey Kong Junior is positioned in the bottom left hand corner at the start of the game. You have to choose between climbing up the vine that hangs directly over your head or using the vine at the end of the platform where you are standing. Going up first will leave you vulnerable to numerous snapjaws, but going to the right will only delay the pending attack.
Aim for the fruit nearest to you and send it flying down to take care of your growing snapjaw problem. Next, jump on the double tiered platform so that you can position yourself close to the adjacent vine. There is another fruit atop of this vine, which can be used to take out more opponents patrolling below.
If you shimmy down the vine a little ways, you will be able to reach the vine directly to the right, where another fruit hangs below. Once you have successfully jumped on the next vine and dropped another fruit there will be just one more fruit left in the general area. While dropping fruit and hopping from vine to vine, you will also have to contend with several of those pesky nitpickers. You can avoid these enemies by jumping over them.
On the platform to the far right, there will be a red snapjaw. Since this variety of snapjaw moves incredibly fast, you might be better off trying to land on the vine that goes all the way to the top. Otherwise, your timing will need to be spot on. Climb up the vine until you are high enough to jump on the final platform at the top.
There will be one more fruit that you can use to kill off some of the enemies Mario sends your way. Just before you reach Mario, there will be a blue key at the top of the screen. Grab the key and make your way to the next stage.
Level 2 – The Springboard Stage
This board provides players with an interesting twist. Right at the start of the stage, you should notice curious looking pink and white contraption. This is actually a springboard that can be used to help Donkey Kong Jr. get to the small, floating platform just to the right, but this move is difficult. Above this platform is a long ledge with two short vines.
If you don't want to risk losing a man on the springboard, you can always just hop up one level to the platform above. There will be two long hanging vines to climb up, and one will have fruit. More vines will hang to the right, and the long ledge will be just within jumping distance. Although it might be faster to make a run across the ledge, there will be smaller, pink nitpickers laying eggs at random. Use the vines instead so that you can smash them with fruit.
You will see a small platform with two vines on either side, parallel to a longer platform. Use the longer vine to shimmy to the top. Jump over the gap that separates the smaller platform from the larger platform to reach the key, Mario and Donkey Kong. More nitpickers will be present, so jump over them and use the final piece of fruit to clear your path. When you get the pink key, you can walk over to Donkey Kong to wrap this level up.
Level 3 – Mario's Hideout Stage
Within Mario's Hideout you will battle sparks that travel down the many chains on this level. Chains replace vines, but they serve exactly the same purpose. There are also a few long poles that connect to the platforms, which Donkey Kong Jr. can use to reach upper levels.
The simplest path to Donkey Kong's cage lies to the right. Walk to the end of the platform and send Donkey Kong Junior up the chains. There will be a blue spark lurking on this platform, so be sure to jump over it at exactly the right moment. There will also be fruit just overhead of this platform, so you can just hop up to get the bonus points.
Next, walk to the far right side of this platform and go up the next set of chains. There is a red spark on this platform; so again, you will have to time your jump carefully to avoid it. Another fruit will be hanging above. Walk back to the left and go up the chains on the end of this tier.
Four more separate sets of chains will be just to your right. Your goal is to get to the right side of this platform so that you can get to the chains that are free of sparks. However, feel free to climb up whatever set of chains that happen to be clear at the time. On the top level, you will see Mario and Donkey Kong in their usual places. Avoid Mario's spark attacks, get the last key and prepare for the final level.
Level 4 – The Chains Stage
As you might expect, the last stage is pretty hard to beat. To start out with, there are six keys that hang from the tips of six chains. You will have to get to the top of each corresponding chain to successfully open each lock. In other words, there are really no shortcuts.
Additionally, many enemies Donkey Kong Junior will be trying to prevent you from freeing Donkey Kong. Snapjaws crawl up and down some chains, while nitpickers are perched on others. It is best to stick to either the left or the right side of the screen at the onset of this stage. Although DK Junior has the ability to walk around the bottom of the screen quite freely, it also leaves him open to more attacks.
With only two fruit available on this level, you will need to employ a lot of evasive maneuvering. Make your way up each chain, carefully pushing each key into the lock above. After this process has been completed six times, Donkey Kong will automatically be freed. Mario will keel over, and the stage will be won. You will then start over again at level one, but this time it will be much more difficult to get through each stage.
Hints and Tips
- DK Junior may be strong, but he is still mortal. If you get knocked off of a vine by an enemy or accidentally fall too far of a distance, a life will be lost.
- You will be less vulnerable to enemy attacks when you travel up a single vine, however, don't forget that you have the option of attaching Donkey Kong Junior to two vines at a time.
- Some enemies, such as sparks, cannot be defeated with fruit. Enemies that cannot be destroyed should just be avoided altogether.
We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.
For over 30 years Arcade Classics continues to bring the classics to life!