Mario vs Donkey Kong Stats and Records

Stats time!

Stars:12/48

World Stats
World 1 8/8
World 2 2/8
World 3 1/8
World 4 0/8
World 5 1/8
World 6 0/8

Level High Scores (Only applicable to Stared levels)

1-1 32200
1-2 31900
1-3 29100
1-4 32000
1-5 30100
1-6 28700
1-M 16000
1-B 27800
2-M 18000
2-B 27300
3-M 17600
5-5 34900

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Mario vs Donkey Kong Review

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After many years, I have finally been able to play the legendary Mario vs DK game. I actually always thought that it was in the same style as the original Donkey Kong and was surprised to see whole levels and puzzles in this one. The final boss is the only level that is just like the old game. It was cool to see such variety though and it’s a pretty fun game. There is also quite a bit of bonus content to be found here as well. I have one issue with how you obtain stars in this game, but beyond that it’s a solid experience.

The plot is that DK has decided to steal all of the toys for himself. Mario doesn’t take too kindly to this and calls DK a big monkey as an insult several times. Seeing as how this doesn’t work, Mario decides to beat DK down until the monkey finally gives in. Will DK let go of his toys or will Mario have to hit him with a clean uppercut? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the Mario toys are fairly advanced and seem to have some rudimentary A.I. going for them.

There are 6 main worlds to the game and each one has 8 levels. This makes for a decently long campaign. It should take you a few hours to complete the game in total and add a few depending on how difficult the puzzles can get. There is an extensive amount of replay value to be found as well since beating the game unlocks 6 Plus worlds. After this you unlock the X levels. Once you complete those, then you can face the true final boss and unlock the ultimately true ending. I believe you need to get all of the Stars to make it this far so that should really take a while. The game has an unbelievable amount of bonus content in it so you’ll b getting your moneys worth.

Now, I originally thought that to get a star for a level you just had to complete it while holding onto the three bags in the level. It turns out that you actually have to beat the level’s high score to do it which is a little annoying. It’s hard to know how to do such a thing so repetition is your best bet. Just keep playing until you can really ace the level. It’s a little harder than I’d like and I still think grabbing the bags will be enough. It does help raise the difficulty once again though.

The graphics are pretty solid for the GBA. It’s certainly a AAA title as the competitors wouldn’t really be able to match this. It’s that golden era in Nintendo where all of the character models are right. There was only one boss level where I couldn’t even see the ladder so I died a few times. It was more of an optical illusion than an issue with the graphics though. As you’d expect from a Mario game, the soundtrack is quite solid. I particularly like the Fire Mountain themes, but the game has a good variety to it. Most of the level themes are quite good and it certainly amplifies the quality of the game. You’re able to play the level over and over again because you have good beats to listen too. It helps that the loading times here are great so you never have to wait for long.

Even the story felt like it had more effort to it than you’d expect. Mario talks quite a bit here, certainly more than I expected. He may be a bit meaner than usual as he calls DK a big monkey at times, but this is the plumber who calls you stinky in Mario Party. It’s easy to forget that Mario wasn’t always the very chipper guy that he is today. Even the Mini Marios rub the loss in DK’s face as they laugh at him quite a bit. You end up almost feeling bad for the monkey by the end. He certainly didn’t ask for this. Of course, DK is a robber so he ultimately did bring this upon himself. You gotta just live with the consequences. I only got the first ending, but at least it gives DK a fighting chance as he grabs more toys and runs. Mario’s going to need to hire more security even if it hurts the whole budget cuts angle.

The gameplay is sort of like a 2D Mario adventure, but you’re stuck in a limited space. There are two acts to each level. The first act has you hit a bunch of switches and get past obstacles to bring a key over to the door. In the second act you just need to get to the Mini Mario. The gameplay is actually quite spread out and diverse. You have an array of many different jumps to use. I personally liked spamming the dash dance jump as it would give you a lot of height and you could cheese many levels with this. I’m sure that the developers really thought the level designs through but with this many different options it makes sense that you would be able to cheese parts of it. They just can’t expect to cover for every contingency.

There are also the Mini Mario levels. There is one of them in every world and they’re a nice change of pace. The little guys get lost rather easily so you have to make sure not to go too fast or you’ll leave them behind. I enjoyed the levels in this format that I played and while the main ones were certainly more fun, it’s always satisfying to lead the little guys to the goal. The Mini Marios have heart.

It’s relatively simple gameplay which is likely what makes it so fun. It’s only half brain teaser while the other half of the puzzle is having the ability to physically get through the obstacles. It’s a great blend and a lot of fun to play. The game does a good job of bringing in many different enemies and obstacles so that the levels don’t feel the same. It would have been nice to have seen classic characters like Luigi and Peach, but I suppose even Mario has to work alone sometimes. It’s probably nostalgic for him to be the lone hero like in the original Donkey Kong game.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this title. It’s easy to see why it became so popular. The game’s just a lot of fun and it even has some cutscenes. It’s pretty impressive since the game is so old. The graphics and soundtrack are both on point as well as the level designs. There is a lot of replay value here and my only complaint is that getting the stars in the levels to unlock the final bonus ones is maybe a little too tedious. I’d like to have a clear metric so I know exactly what I have to do in order to clear the level. That seems a little more fair if you ask me. Maybe they’ll implement that in the sequel. I’ll certainly buy that one although it could be a little while until I do. In the mean time, buy this one and let me know what you thought of it.

Overall 8/10

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review

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It’s time to review the final DK Country game and possibly the final main DK game of them all. The Country series has been pretty solid for all of the installments so it’s nice to see what the Wii U can bring to the table. The game is a little shorter than Returns and noticeably easier as well, but it’s still a quality platformer. One nice mechanic that they added was the dash and now I can’t imagine playing a DK game without it. It makes the characters so much more versatile and deadly in the levels.I certainly had a blast spamming it and it’ll remind you of the 3D Sonic games.

The plot involves a group of ice creatures deciding to take over a mountain. This angers DK and his pals because they want more bananas and they don’t grow in frigid temperatures. Thus, DK and friends decide to beat people up along the way and eat what they can. Still, can they defeat this Bowser impostor or will the trials be too much for them? The story definitely pales in comparison to the last game though for one key reason…the first 4 worlds are filler. They have nothing to do with the plot and there aren’t even any ice levels in them. For a game that’s called Tropical Freeze, this was a little odd. Once you enter the final 2 worlds then the ice levels start to show up so that was neat. Either way, the level variety is always fun, but I wish the plot could have worked with that a little.

The gameplay is the 2D platforming that you would expect. That being said, as mentioned earlier we now have a dash mechanic. It is incredibly handy as you can cross large distances with the move. It’s also not too automatic or easy so it feels like a legitimate technique that you’ll want to master. If you learn it just right, you’ll find yourself blasting through the levels. The gameplay is very smooth and you can definitely know that this is a AAA game right off the bat. I was very happy to trade in the Wii remote controls for a more proper All Pro and Gamepad setup as well. It’s night and day comparing the two styles for this platformer.

While the levels are significantly easier than DK Country Returns, it’s not really fair to say that it’s too drastic. The main reason for this is that I just got done completing the former so it’s possible that I’m just more prepared for whatever the DK series throws at me right now. It’s like playing Dark Souls 1 and 2 back to back. 2 will probably feel a lot easier than 1 did initially. I do think that Tropical Freeze probably had the tougher bosses though. It’s a close one, but the last boss for example would certainly be rather difficult to defeat in one player mode. He has a lot of health and it’s hard to predict his horn attack. It almost feels purely random. I don’t think any of the bosses are inherently unfair though. They’re tough, but you just need to keep on going at them until you win.

The soundtrack isn’t bad. There are no super hype themes like the Returns villain jingle, but they’ll get you through the stages. The boss theme that plays when a boss first shows up is similar to Mighty No 9’s main boss theme which is pretty interesting. There’s a good guitar/drum solo that works well for that. I don’t really recall any of the stage themes, but they were pleasant enough. The graphics also look pretty sharp for the title. It brought back the Shadow levels and the elements all look really sharp. The characters also look good in the cutscenes. Nintendo never disappoints when it comes to the technical aspects and they rarely do with the gameplay either.

There’s a good amount of replay value here as you’d expect. Collecting all of the puzzle pieces in the levels will certainly take a good amount of time. There are quite a few of them in each level after all. Most of the levels require repetition to really get them down so it’s more about the time than the difficulty. I believe you unlock an extra world if you do that so that’s a nice incentive. It’ll certainly give hardcore DK players a few extra hours to have fun with. The main game will only take you a handful of hours as well. 6-8 I’d imagine, but that’s a pretty decent length for a platformer. Having 8 worlds helps a lot, but 6 will do.

Overall, Donkey Kong has brought us another pretty solid game. If you want to really experience the difficulty as the true DK experience, make sure you choose to play as DK. If you want to coast through the levels a little easier, make sure to pick Diddy Kong or Dixie. They can cheese you through just about any obstacle. I look forward to seeing another Donkey Kong country game rise to the surface. Hopefully the plot will be a little better even though I know that is rarely Nintendo’s goal. As long as the gameplay is good, I suppose the rest doesn’t matter quite as much and Nintendo certainly knows how to handle gameplay. I never got to play as Cranky, but that’s fine. I get the feeling that his special ability wouldn’t have been all that great.

Overall 8/10

Donkey Kong Country Returns Review

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It’s time to finally go to one of Nintendo’s most classic franchises. DK even started before Mario which is pretty impressive. I got to play most of the old games so it’s cool to see the Country series return. I never really played the music games for the GC, but they are barely even referenced here so I’m confident that they won’t be missed. I ended up getting Tropical Freeze shortly after this one so it’ll be cool to see how it stacks up. I can safely say that Country Returns is a fun game and it’s easy to see that it’s another AAA title from Nintendo.

The plot is that a mysterious being made of wood has shown up to take over the world. It mind controls all of the nearby animals and forces them to start stealing all of the bananas in the area. That’s diabolical if you ask me! They try to control DK, but it apparently doesn’t work on him. This may be a subtle shot at DK’s intelligence since he really looks…not too smart the whole time. Ah well, whatever works right? DK must stop these guys since they are insulting the bananas with their cruel schemes!

There are 8 main worlds. There is also a 9th, but to get to that one you’ll need a lot of collectibles. That’s good for the replay value though. There are puzzle pieces and 4 Letters to grab in every level. Obtaining them all will require you to master all of the levels and show the world that you are a DK pro. Even without this, the main game should take you a reasonable amount of hours. If you beat every world in an hour, then that’s around 8 which is pretty good. Even if it’s a little less than that, it’s much better than Star Fox Zero’s <4 hour play time or Into The Nexus 3 hours.

The game is reasonably difficult as well. I don't think I would say that it is quite as tough as Super Mario World, but it's been ages since I played that game so it's possible that it would be a lot easier nowadays. The gameplay is divided into a few different segments. You have the traditional platforming levels where you jump and dodge obstacles to get to the end. Where DK differs from Mario and the others is that you can roll into opponents to deal damage and you can shatter objects by slapping the floor. You'll grab onto vines to swing around and there are just many more elements than a traditional Mario game. It's made to be more complex and you have to consider a lot of variables.

A great deal of the level is interactive as well with most bushes and other suspicious objects containing bananas and golden coins for you to grab. Some of them are just trolls, but you should check them all out. Gold coins in particular are very valuable in the game. Other parts of the level will see you head into a mining cart. One hit will destroy you so you have to jump with great precision. There's also a blue cart which only appears twice in the whole game. It's slightly different as when you jump, you actually leave the cart. Thus, you have to jump and keep moving to fall into the cart again since it will speed ahead of you afterwards. It's a little easier in co-op since you effectively have two chances to survive this way. There is even a whole boss battle modeled after this style. Surprisingly I don't think there were any under water levels. No worries, Tropical Freeze fixed that.

The soundtrack isn't very lively or memorable for the most part, but I really like the villain jingle. Whenever their theme plays, you know that things are about to get real. It's a little cheesy/corny, but it's catchy and that's what counts. It is even used as the final boss theme which is pretty surreal. I can certainly say that I wasn't really expecting it when it occurred. The graphics are pretty solid. They're not amazing, but the character designs look sharp. It's fun to see a modern DK and there is something novel about seeing any Nintendo character on the big screen. Mario, Link, Kirby, DK, the games never look outright spectacular in the cutscenes despite the gameplay being super crisp, but just seeing them is really cool. Maybe it's because their series don't tend to have a lot of cutscenes, but it is more satisfying than seeing another franchise appear fully animated.

When it comes to 2D side scrollers, Mario's still got the edge over everyone. He's just impossible to beat. I'd probably give Sonic 2nd place although I mainly like it for the boss battles. The actual platforming can be a little tricky at times. Kirby would probably be third because I love cheesing levels. If we just talk about pure gameplay, Kirby even beats Sonic. Then I'd put in DK. It feels like Mario, but the extra complexities do slow it down a bit. If you count one shot games that had side scrolling like Klonoa then the list can get quite long so lets stick to Nintendo for now. I'll merge Yoshi with Mario since they're so similar. DK may be the lowest on this chart, but that just goes to show how tough the competition is. Plus, Nintendo owns 90% of those series which is equally impressive.

Really one of the best things about the game is how much content it has and how fun the levels are. It's a very high quality title that you can play for hours without getting tired. The plot may not be amazing, but the gameplay is sharp and that's really what you're looking for in a title like this. I didn't get to play the Gold Pyramid world since you need to do a lot of bonus stuff for that, but perhaps someday. It's really good to have DK finally return to the home console and maybe we'll get a game for the Switch at some point.

I don't really have any negatives with the game either. The levels all have a check point or sometimes multiple ones. If you die, you can always respawn close by. You can buy extra lives with the medals that you collect and the medals keep replenishing so getting them isn't an issue. The levels are challenging, but not unfair the way that Mario and the Lost Levels was or Mighty No 9. The levels are made to be difficult, but balanced. You'll get the hang of them with practice since the levels themselves never actually change. It's just really good game design.

Overall, Donkey Kong Country Returns is definitely a fun game. I can see why DK fans were so thrilled when it finally came back. The title does a good job of bringing back all of the classic DK elements that fans were expecting. It may have had less barrel launching than I was expecting, but I don't mind since the actual platforming is really the fun part for the game. You can get the game for a pretty good price nowadays so I'd highly recommend it. There is a lot to do here after all and the level variety is excellent. You also won't be forgetting the main jingle of the game anytime soon either. It's simply too awesome and catchy. Now, it's time to check out Tropical Freeze! So far, I'd actually say that it's easier than Returns, but I've only conquered 2 worlds so far. There's still plenty of adventure left!

Overall 8/10

Donkey Kong Country 3 Review

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After all these years, I finally got to play Country 3. While the DK series never got quite as popular as Mario or Kirby, it turned into a decently large series in its own right. The games are always fun and they are pretty consistent. This one may be the weakest in the trilogy, but it’s still a good game that has a solid amount of replay value and the campaign length is fair.

There’s no real plot to this game unless you read the booklet. You just start off on the adventure as Dixie Kong and her partner Kiddy Kong. The two of them blast away at bosses as they go through each world. Eventually, you defeat the last boss and find Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong. It turns out that they were kidnapped while they had been dreaming about bananas. It’s a pretty big twist since it turns out that they were also controlling one of the many murder bots that had been chasing the heroes for a while. I don’t think DK will be able to talk his way out of this one!

You can’t really call spoilers on this considering that there is virtually no plot. The gameplay is why you’re playing a DK game anyway. It has the standard jumping and avoiding obstacles as well as some extra features. Dixie Kong can glide which you can use to cheese quite a few levels. Kiddy Kong can perform a roll which knocks out most enemies. Various animal friends will also come out to play. You can transform into a bird which lets you fly or into an elephant which can be pretty neat. Unfortunately, the elephant is afraid of mice so prepare for a lot of stopping. It’s usually better not to use the elephant, but you aren’t always given a choice.

There is something about the gameplay that does make it less engaging that the average side scroller. Granted, Mario and Sonic set the bar rather high. I think it is due to the fact that the DK levels are typically a little more slow paced. You can blast through the ones that are horizontal, but the vertical levels must be taken at a slow pace or you will hit enemies before they even show up on the map. That definitely wouldn’t be any fun now would it? Unlike Mario where you just jump along and hope for the best, you must use some more strategy and carefully decide what to do. If you lose, prepare yourself for the long climb back up at times since there are periods where you must wait.

Still, it’s definitely fun and the game does have a good difficulty curve. It starts off rather easy and by the end it gets a little harder. It never gets too insane though and ends up having a nice balance of “fun” and “tough”. The bosses are usually tough until you figure out what you are supposed to be doing. Once you figure that part out, they get quite a bit easier to deal with. The final boss definitely took me a few tries as I would beat one phase, but then die on the next. I did this again and again until I finally conquered all 5 phases. It was a well made boss fight.

For replay value, there are a lot of coins to collect. You’ll want to focus on the DK coins and the Gold Coins since the silver ones appear to be unlimited. The DK coins are obtained by defeating the shield wearing Kremlins. You must throw a barrel behind them in order to defeat this minion. It usually involves a fun puzzle. The Gold Coins are obtained by completing the B Barrel challenges. They are fairly quick, but mess up and you’ll have to replay the level again to give it another whirl. One unfortunate part about collecting these things is that there is no way to check which levels you have already done. That means you have to manually check them out and complete the challenge again to see if the Gold Coin is still around. This can be a little tedious if you plan to grab them all so you should have a notepad on hand.

Also, beware of the boat guy. He builds you a new boat after every few worlds so that you can travel to new ones. On the final expedition, he’ll ask for 50 Gold Coins. It may seems like you need to get them to make it to the final world, but you can actually go up the waterfall with your other vehicle. I’m sure that it’s a fun post-game vehicle, but you should at least be aware of the fact that it is optional. That’s probably a good thing since grabbing 50 Gold Coins would take a very long time.

Graphically, the game holds up well. Kranky Kong taking out his sunglasses at the end was pretty intense and all of the level designs look decently good. I do wish that more of the levels took place outside though. The best looking ones were the early beach levels. I didn’t care for the factory ones quite as much since the dark backgrounds and colors made everything a little harder to see. The brighter levels had a tendency of looking a lot sharper. As for the soundtrack, it was all right. Unfortunately, I can’t say that any tunes were memorable, or even all that good to be honest. It is certainly not ready to go to Mario levels of awesome quite yet in this regard.

Overall, Donkey Kong Country 3 is a decent way to end the trilogy. It’s a fun game, but I don’t think that the gimmicks worked all that well. The fundamentals were sound though. I would have preferred to have DK be the main character and we could have just had Dixie replace Diddy. Based on the dialogue, Dixie may actually be a little more intense than Diddy Kong. She got some good burns in on King K Krool. (I don’t see why the guy is a fan favorite. I never cared for him all that much as a villain) Diddy Kong basically spent the game being starstruck so he didn’t do much. I didn’t like Kiddy Kong at all, hopefully he’ll be better once he grows up a bit. More of a plot would have been fun to flesh out the characters…or at least an opening cutscene to show DK being kidnapped. The bosses are nice and imaginative and the game has a good amount of replay value. If you don’t have this game yet then I definitely recommend it. You don’t need to compare it to the other side scrollers and you can just enjoy it for what it is. A fun little game that help beef up your Nintendo collection and DK knowledge. Now I’m one step closer to being caught up with the series.

Overall 7/10

Little Mac vs DK


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It’s been a while since Little Mac returned to fight on the blog and he’s up against a pretty powerful Mario fighter. DK has been known to rival Bowser in strength and he’s also quicker than the King of the Koopas, which can be tricky for the boxer. Luckily, Little Mac is no slouch in the speed department either and his fierce uppercut will guarantee his success in this round. You can also expect him to be getting many more wins in the near future since he has proven to be the MVP of the latest Super Smash Bros game! Little Mac wins.

Toon Link vs DK


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DK is a pretty tough fighter, but he won’t be able to cope with Toon Link’s array of weapons. Toon Link has his Light Arrows, which could end the fight in an instant. His Ice Arrows could also freeze DK, but Toon Link can also just win in a good ole hand to hand fight. DK just wouldn’t stand a chance against such skill. Toon Link wins.

Kapp’n vs DK


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Kapp’n may seem to be a pretty tricky fellow, but he just doesn’t have what it takes to defeat someone like DK. DK is a powerful warrior who never backs down from a fight and he’s as tough as they come. One good punch will be enough to blow everyone away. It’s just the way that the ball bounces and I think it’s safe to say that Kapp’n is out of his league. DK wins.