Donkey Kong Review (1982 Game)

It’s difficult to overestimate the impact Donkey Kong for the ColecoVision had on the videogaming community. For the first time in the history of console gaming, a graphically complex Arcade-based game looked and sounded a whole lot like it was supposed to. Good Arcade-to-home conversions had been done before (Super Breakout for the Atari 2600 comes to mind), but prior to Donkey Kong, cute characters were generally blocky and unrealistic.

Intellivision and Atari 2600 devotees, who were (and are) a fiercely loyal bunch, were almost embarrassed by their systems’ lack of graphic sophistication in the wake of this revolutionary game. Prior to getting my own ColecoVision, I remember seeing the commercials for Donkey Kong on television. A lot of my friends thought the screen shots were a hoax. I assumed (rightly so) that they were the real article and immediately requested a ColecoVision for Christmas. Luckily, Santa came through.

Although one of the four screens is missing, and the cute intermission scenes are regrettably absent, Donkey Kong is still a remarkably faithful adaptation of the hugely popular Arcade smash, especially by 1982 standards. Not only are the graphics awesome, the sound effects and music are strikingly rich. By including Donkey Kong as a pack-in with the system, Coleco was able to sell a million units of hardware in record time.

Having established the fact that Donkey Kong is historically important and graphically and musically superior, the question remains: Is it any fun? Yes, it is, but it is not perfect. It has some glitches that affect overall gameplay. For example: Mario’s body must come in contact with a barrel before he can smash it open with a hammer. Also, the controls could use some fine-tuning.

Some people find Donkey Kong, whether the Arcade or Coleco version, a bore. I’m not one of these people, but the action can get tired after extended play. The stages don’t take very long to complete, and the intensity level is not on par with a game likeDefender or even Ms. Pac-Man. All in all, though, Donkey Kong is a good-looking, whimsical game that will be remembered for a long time.


Those of us who got their ColecoVisions in 1982 can’t help but remember the breathtaking graphics.


I miss the songs from the intermissions and opening sequences, but while playing the game, you’ll be quite amazed by the audio quality. From the sounds of Mario walking to the memorable theme music, Donkey Kong is first class material.


It’s the classic story of beauty and the beast. Climbing game fans will have a good time with this faithfully reproduced game.

Replay Value

This is a very good game, but you may still be playing BurgerTime long after you’ve retired Donkey Kong to the back of your closet.


The instruction booklet is very detailed.

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