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Donkey Kong - Atari 2600


  To start out, I will let you know there are only 2 levels on the game. I beat them both in about 2 minutes. It takes very little strategy to complete the levels. I simply waited for the barrel to roll by and climbed the ladder. I may have had to jump 2 barrels total to complete the first level. I'm not sure if the levels get harder the more you play but I didn't want to play it any longer to find out.

  Another part of the game that is bad is the scoring. While I was playing I looked at what I thought was the score at the top of the screen and found that was actually a clock that was counting down. I wondered where the score was? With that being the case, you can't even see your score until the end of the game. That takes away the fun of watching your score when you break or jump over the barrels. The score does flash up for less than a second while the levels change, but unless you have the power to slow or stop time (like the remote from the movie "Click"), there is no way you are going to see the score before it changes to a clock on the next level. Why did they not have the score AND a timer on the screen at the same time? Did they think the player would get confused with all those "confusing numbers" on the screen?

  The next thing about the game that is not good is the graphics. To start out, the barrels don't look like barrels at all. They look like Ritz crackers. Which usually makes me want to go out and eat some Ritz crackers. Most everything on the first level is pink or purple and does not come close to the color on the arcade version. They could have used some color variation, but most everything on the screen is the same color. The second level is almost all blue which does look a little better, but again there is very little color variation and is pretty boring to look at.

  Another thing that is not good is the overall "feel" of the game. This does not feel like you are playing Donkey Kong. It feels like one of those terrible old hand held gaming systems where you control a dot that goes from one side of the screen to the other side of the screen. I never liked those generic hand held gaming systems and I think that's one of the reasons I don't like this game.

  It seems like Coleco made a very poor version on the 2600 to try to have people buy their Colecovision console which had a great version of Donkey Kong. I could be wrong, but that is my theory. I know the 2600 was limited to program for, but there are other games that are much better than this one. My guess is that they didn't care how the game was, they just wanted to have a Donkey Kong game on the 2600 regardless of the quality. Very similar to the terrible version Pac-Man on of the Atari 2600. (the opening "music" on that game makes me cringe)

  Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to the kitchen to see if we have any Ritz crackers.