Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Game Boy Advance) Preview

By Adam Riley 05.04.2004

It has been ten years since the last traditional Donkey Kong title was released. Back on the Game Boy gamers were treated to Donkey Kong '94 (the very first official Super Game Boy-compatible title, fact fans!) a title that saw plumber Mario running, hopping and skipping around and over the plethora of obstacles in his path to the top of each stage where the helpless Princess was being held captive by a raging hairy beast (no, not me!) - none other than the title's namesake, Donkey Kong himself. However that obviously was not the last we were to hear of good old DK, as Nintendo is celebrating that game's 10th Anniversary in true fashion by releasing a new update. Can Mario vs Donkey Kong hold a light to past outings, though? Read on and all will be revealed...

Think back to when the GameCube was first being banded around as the next big thing...What titles were being lauded as innovation for the next generation? Luigi's Mansion, Eternal Darkness, Kirby's Tilt 'N Tumble 2 and a new Donkey Kong title, the latter two being of particular interest as they were representatives of the much-talked about link-up features between the Project Dolphin (or Star Cube as people assumed it would be called before it became the GameCube

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

But Kirby was renamed to Rollerama and it looks like that has been quietly shelved, then Donkey Kong + disappeared from the radar and things began to look extremely bleak. But here it is, back in a simple GBA format and looking all the better for it, in all honesty...

Amazingly enough, Mario vs Donkey has a different storyline to the old 'Kidnapped Princess' malarkey that usually ensues. The big ape (or monkey, the issue of trans-genders will not be discussed here!) has been downright dirty this time, looting poor little, helpless Toad's shop, taking all of the Mini-Mario dolls that the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom so love to buy!

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

Thus it is your job as Mario to dash around trying to reach the top of the stage, and ultimately the diabolical Donkey (monkey, ape...whatever!) yet at the same time diligently scouring every inch of the sixty-four levels (yes, sixty-four!) special keys that will let loose the Mini-Marios once more.

But do you really think that the game would be that easy? Nah, of course not! In order to retrieve the pilfered products, the podgy plumber must acquire several new skills (such as the hand-stand or hammer-throw) to traverse and scale each level while evading the onslaught of Bob-ombs, Shy Guys, Piranha Plants, trying to beat the fast-ticking clock and keeping an eye out for any of the pesky obstacles that litter the levels before you reach DK at the summit.

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

As you unlock each of the Mini-Marios, they will commence following you around like sheep, causing you even more of a headache as you not only have to get your head around the brain-teasing puzzles, but now are required to keep an extra eye out for the hapless toys and lead them to safety using the plethora of moves available to you, such as the special high wire jump borrowed from Super Mario Sunshine, where you grab a wire mid-level, spin and then let go to reach amazing new heights! This game sounds like it could well be a riot...

Progression continues in this vein, breaking each level found in the six large worlds into basically two separate sections

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Game Boy Advance

Final Thoughts

It has been far too long since we have had the utmost pleasure of being able to sample the amazing old skool platforming action found in the original Donkey Kong arcade games. Thankfully Nintendo realises this and has brought us a new game that, whilst obviously sticking to the laid out blue prints of the gameplay, manages to breathe new life into the old formula. From the sound of things, this will be a lengthy adventure, testing your skill and patience to the limits, yet being fun every second of the way. This cannot come soon enough...









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   


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