Release Date: 1983
Details are somewhat sparse here, as this version of Donkey Kong was created for a machine that has a 3.12MHz processor. On today's PCs, by the time you press the 1 key for a one-player game, your two Marios are already dead from the first barrel Donkey Kong throws, and you're back at the difficulty selection screen. Various shareware programs have been created to evade this pitfall, but even the best of them, Moslow, which slows the game to a fraction of its original speed, is still unplayable because the frame rate skips erratically. Nonetheless, Donkey Kong appeared for PC gamers as well as console owners, even in the early days.
Donkey Kong 3
On top of the pile of Kong games and versions coming out, Donkey Kong 3 was introduced to arcades in 1983. This variation on the Donkey Kong series again made Donkey Kong the bad guy. But in this case he had little motivation for his actions. You controlled a small character named Stanley - no relation to Mario - who had a big insecticide spray gun and who blasted Donkey Kong up a path of vines all the while dodging insect invaders in the style of Galaga. Kong had irritated the insects by punching their hives. Why the insects attacked poor Stanley instead of DK himself remains a mystery, but the bugs were clearly too intent on stealing Stanley's garden of fruit to care.
When Donkey Kong reached a specific point on the vine he was climbing, he would drop a super spray gun, which Stanley could use to urge Donkey Kong even further up the vines. The ultimate goal was to drive DK's head into a beehive at the top of the screen. The levels then started over with more insects, a fresh garden of fruit, and another angry ape. The second level was particularly nasty, as Donkey Kong would throw coconuts at Stanley as well as order his insect buddies to attack. Finally, there were invincible snakes that would crawl on vines in front of Donkey Kong and would block Stanley's insecticide and give DK time to climb back down. Only the super insecticide could defeat these pests; players who weren't equipped with it had to hold their fire until the snakes slithered out of their line of sight. Only then could they resume pumping DK to the top.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Though a pure North American Nintendo version for the home was several years away, the version of Donkey Kong Jr. that Coleco churned out wasn't half bad. It was only missing one of the arcade levels (level four), and the rest of the game was intact except for a few things, including DK Jr.'s ability to jump much further in this version than he could in the arcade version, making level two a breeze. Other minor features, like the birds not dropping eggs and the Snapjaws being somewhat dense, made this one of the easier versions around.
Donkey Kong Jr.
The Atari 7800 edition of Donkey Kong Jr. was a fairly solid game. Fruit items were plentiful, Junior could move with the ease of, well, a monkey in a tree, and the graphics, though they weren't as high resolution as those in the arcade original, were defined enough so that you could brag to your console-deprived friends about the quality of the new Atari machine. All four levels of the arcade title were included, and they were all faithful to the arcade board. Gameplay was identical: Junior moved with the appropriate speed when climbing vines. The only strange aspect of this game was that Atari didn't animate two individual faces for Junior when he was climbing two vines at once. Instead, he looked to both his left and his right simultaneously, which gave him a bizarre two-headed appearance. But other than that, this revision was right on the monkey... er, money.