Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 20.11.2004 1

Review for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

Mario and Donkey Kong, adversaries for many years. Constantly bating each other, only to see the feud stretch out for far longer than it should have, especially since the big ape could only beat his chest and throw barrels down at the portly plumber. However, after a brief stint away from his women-stealing, barrel-throwing antics to perform as a platform star, the hairy beast is back! This time, though, his beady eyes are no longer focused on anything remotely female, but Mario dolls instead. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds, but does this twist keep the old arcade formula feeling fresh? Read on...

A common piece of knowledge is that everybody in the world loves Mario and would happily rush out to buy whichever latest product he chooses to grace his overly chubby cheeks with. In the latest move by the Italian stallion, a special line of Mario dolls have been created that are already causing havoc amongst fans all over thanks to blanket advertising (irony here, perhaps?! Hehe...). Having spotted how fast places are running of stock, and believing them to be extremely tantalising, DK quickly jumps into action and storms off to raid the warehouse where the dolls are housed. So begins Mario's plight, setting off to once more thwart his old nemesis...

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

One thing that will strike you right from the off is that once the Game Boy Advance logo fades the whole game suddenly takes on the look of a title with pretty damn fine graphics. The visuals found in the opening sequences are spectacular

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

This time around you are faced with clever little levels that throw many puzzles and dangers your way, rather than just leaving you to zig-zag your way to the top of a stage, leaping over barrels on the trip. First of all you will notice quite obviously how Mario has been given a wide repertoire of moves not only to help the player progress, but also to give Nintendo the opportunity to expand on the complexity of the various stages you are faced with. As you proceed through the title, new manoeuvres and nifty little techniques will become available and explained via the introductory sequence that precedes each level. Therefore, there is no fear of never quite understanding what you are required to do in the early stages, as usually you will be shown a particular new move and then be requisite that you utilise it to claim the special key in the level and unlock the door to the next stage.

Special key? Door to the next stage? Huh?! Yes, once again I am getting ahead of myself...You control Mario as you enter a stage and the camera quickly pans, side-on, around the level to give you a quick hint as to what to expect. Then you see DK himself as he runs through a special door, locking it behind him, but dropping the key and spilling various goodies all over. This is your cue to dive right into the thick of the action! A timer appears on-screen and you must traverse the treacherous obstacles to reach the golden key and manage to get it to the door safely before the final few seconds slip away. But things are far from simple as there are enemies to deal with, such as Shy Guys, dozens of sharp spikes, heavy Thwomps that try to land on your head as you pass under them and the usual deadly drops that leave Mario with more than just a little headache, it loses you a life! Therefore your attempts to succeed will most likely be thwarted time and time again.

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

But Mario can walk on his hands to protect himself, spin from ropes to fly high in the air, do back flips to reach higher ledges and much more, so in all honesty you are given more than a fighting chance. The way that the gameplay system has been implemented and the puzzle nature developed is truly amazing and freshens-up a timeless classic of a game. And that is only part of it, since you then have to save the Mario dolls on certain levels, culminating in a stage that requires the player to guide all six dolls into a safe box and transport them back to the factory. This brings in a Lemmings element as the little Marios just wander aimlessly until you guide them otherwise and is brilliant in practice. Also the final stage of each world has you battling against Donkey Kong himself

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Mario vs Donkey Kong is an almost-classic; a game that if done with careful attention on the GameCube (as originally planned) would have been a killer app, no doubt. Instead we have one heck of an addictive GBA puzzler/platformer that exudes creativeness, but slips up in a couple of areas. However, fans of previous DK outings (pre-Rare) will lap this up, especially at its bargain price!









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (7 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I think Nintendo should make a Donkey Kong Country remake for the DS.

Super Duper Ultra Fun Time!

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