“What If?” a new review series! First up – Donkey Kong 3!

I have fond memories of this game. The first time I saw this one, was at a small, dark , and abandoned arcade in a tiny shopping plaza in Poughkeepsie. It only had maybe 20 games in it, and it was one of the first arcades that I saw with NO ATTENDANT! It was kind of a sad little place, But cool because there was no wait to play anything! it was January Of 1985- and the industry as a whole had been reeling for the last 2 years to keep customers coming in- but to the players, we were just starting to see that there was something wrong with our favorite arcades.  And as usual, My first sight of this game was the side panel graphics. It was installed in a Donkey Kong Jr. cab, But seeing the dynamic image of a different looking DK and the bugs peaked my interest. “A NEW DONKEY KONG GAME!”  I was floored. Punch Out had come out about a year earlier, and the VS. System  was just starting to show up (but I wouldn’t see that until September of that year)  “What was DK up to now?” I pondered. Then, I view the screen for the first time. “What? No platforms? No Jumpman (Mario)? This isn’t DK, this is Galaga!” I grumbled. But I wasn’t walking away until I tried it at least once- And I Liked It! Sure it was like Galaga- But It was also like Space Invaders , and a little Stratovox thrown in as well! I couldn’t get enough of this game. I fact, it was the second game I bought for my NES (the first-DK!) I just wasn’t sure why no one liked it but me.  As I found out through talking to people,  it was 2 things- The same 2 things I first thought before giving it a chance-

  1. It wasnt another platformer with Mario.
  2. It felt like Galaga.

Now, like I said at the top of this entry, This isn’t a typical review. We will delve into game play in the actual review. But this is What If isn’t it? So I propose to you, the reader- What If The game wasn’t called Donkey Kong 3? Would it have made a difference in sales and a loyal fanbase? and would have Donkey Kong had another game or 2 in the arcades and not be shelved until 1994? And what of poor Stanley? He had alot of promise as a video game character and NEVER Got his fair Shake!

So I propose to you a What IF-

What if the game was originally called-

“I dub thee- Bugblaster!”

And I think it would have done better- with just a name change. Nintendo was an arcade giant at this point- I don’t think they needed to use DK’s name on this. Perhaps a guest starring role? Stanley deserved the spotlight more than DK did. he was the protagonist after all. Well Gang, mull that over for a while and I would love to see some talkback on this one. Whats your opinion?

Here’s the original…

…and here’s Bugblaster!

UPDATE- I see a bonus round in this game- a round where DK has stolen what he’s really there for- FOOD! Yeh, Stanley grows the trees to produce fruit! Bananas, lemons, apples, you name it! and DK wants it ALL! He gets to the last greenhouse, where all the fruit is picked, grabs all the fruit- and starts to head out on a lift with a smile on his face! But Stanley shows up just in time to see DK on the lift, taking his prize fruit with him! So DK  gets angry, and does what he always done- throw things! He starts throwing BEEHIVES, COCONUTS, AND FRUIT AT YOU! avoid the beehives, catch the fruit, and bounce those coconuts back at him! Hit DK as many times as you can to knock DK down before he gets out, and you get a super fruit bonus!!! and a familiar face shows up at the end o take him back to the circus! That wraps up the DK trilogy nicely, I think! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!


Thanks Again- And Keep Playin’ like Its 1981!


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