Mario vs. Donkey Kong

So. Mario vs. Donkey Kong.

This is a title that started out as Donkey Kong Plus, a remake/enhanced port of Donkey Kong for the gameboy, itself a remake/enhanced port of Donkey Kong for the arcades. I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

As you can see, it was a much more straightforward remake, the main divergence being the inclusion of a custom level editor (seen above) in which you could make your own levels to share with your friends via link cable. This feature, alas, did not actually make it into the final release, though the level editor mode is fairly functional if accessed via various cheat or debug methods.

It is my understanding that there may have also been some special Gameboy Player support, similar to how the previous DOnkey Kong title in 1994 had special support for the Super Gameboy.

After its initial announcement, the game pretty much vanished from the news until it was reannounced a couple years later as Mario vs. Donkey Kong.

No longer a port, the game was now more a sequel. Instead of utilizing the same temporarily placeble bridges and platforms mechanics of the original, Mario vs. Donkey Kong instead opted for a system of red/blue/yellow switches to control which parts of the level were accesible, activated, or tangible. There was also an added element of leading around wind-up toys in a hybrid of lemmings style gameplay with more traditional Mario style platforming.

The story was also changed. Pauline was nowhere to be found (though she'd reappear in sequels), and instead Donkey Kong had swiped all of the aforementioned toys from Mario's factory, Mario giving chase in an effort to recover the stolen goods. Somewhat ironically (though probably less so round these parts), Mario comes off looking a bit of an asshole more often than not in this series, as the plot can often be boiled down to "DK wants a toy. Mario tells him to sod off. DK throws a tantrum. Mario chases him around for between 8 and 16 worlds worth of levels before finally giving him the damn toy he was perfectly willing to gain through legal means in the first place."

The title holds the distinction of being the first Donkey Kong title produced in-house by Nintendo themselves after Rare's parting, and it shows in its self many attempts to appeal to both fans of Rare's Donkey Kong Countries as well as fans of the classic Arcade style titles. While its primary influence is most obviously Donkey Kong, both '81 and '94, it opts instead of sprites for pre-rendered graphics like Rare's titles, and features some music remixes of their music, as well as a few nods and winks for the fans, such as the "Ram Ram" rhinoceros enemy.

All in all, a nice little title. It's sequels would controversally drop the platforming aspect in favor of the more lemmings style of game, though still managing to work in Donkey Kong chucking down barrels at you and defeating enemies with hammers.

I think I'll close out with this, some nice little art of Mario wondering what the hell he's going to do next, the ape-ist jerk.