Donkey Kong 3

Donkey Kong 3

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

After the extraordinary success of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior, Nintendo knew it had a franchise in the making. The original Donkey Kong was pushing ColecoVision into the front of the home console pack, and DK, Junior, Mario and Pauline were all cartoon stars on Saturday Supercade. Nintendo decided the characters were strong enough to survive on their own in two separate video games: Donkey Kong 3 and Mario Bros.

They were half right.

Donkey Kong 3 starred the gargantuan simian of the first two games, but in place of Mario, his nemesis was now Stanley the Bugman. You controlled Stanley, a small man in charge of a big greenhouse. Somehow, Donkey Kong had decided to take up residence on two vines inside, and it was up to you to drive him out. The great ape fought back by agitating the nests of bees and other stinging bugs, who swooped down to attack Stanley.

Armed only with a tube of bug spray, Stanley blasted away at the descending bugs, keeping them away from his precious flowers. Five pots lined the bottom of the screen, and if the insects managed to carry off all five, Stanley lost a life. DK also kept things lively by tossing coconuts down at the Bugman.

To beat a level, Stanley had to push Kong up to the top of the screen by shooting him in the nether-regions with the sprayer. Spray him high enough, and DK would knock down a super sprayer, giving Stanley increased power for a limited time.

On the second level, stronger bugs appeared, but little else changed. On the third, however, the action got considerably trickier. Four horizontal vines separated Stanley from Kong, and these were inhabited by large, malevolent worms. You could spray the little slimeballs, but it would only stun them. Thus, if they were crawling past DK when you sprayed, the worms would form a temporary blockade, keeping you from pushing Kong up any further. If you managed to work around the worms, avoid the bugs and force Kong to the top of the third level, the silly old monkey would get his head caught in a hornets’ nest and fall crashing to the ground. Then the whole thing started all over again.

If you’re familiar with the Donkey Kong series, you’re probably already scratching your head and wondering what this has to do with the first two games. Not much. Donkey Kong 3 played more like Galaxian and Galaga, but with the added feature of multiple playing levels (Stanley could hop from one step to another at the bottom of the screen). It wasn’t Donkey Kong, and most players weren’t interested.

After Donkey Kong 3, the ape left the limelight for a long time. Mario was the new star of the Nintendo universe, scoring a hit with Mario Bros. and an even bigger one with Super Mario Bros. a few years later. Donkey Kong finally made his comeback in 1995, as Donkey Kong Country became a monster hit on the Super Nintendo home system, and the ape is currently enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. Stanley, on the other hand, hasn’t been heard from since.

Arcade Machine Release History

1981 - Donkey Kong
1982 - Donkey Kong Jr.
1983 - Donkey Kong 3

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