Donkey Kong Junior (game)

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Gameboy Advance "e-Reader" release
Donkey Kong Junior
Developer Nintendo R&D
Publisher Nintendo
System Arcade, NES, e-Reader, Virtual Console, 3DS Virtual Console
Wii U Virtual Cosole, Various Non-Nintendo Consoles
Release Date Arcade
JP July 15, 1983
US June 1986
EU June 15, 1987
US September 16, 2002
Virtual Console
JP December 2, 2006
US December 4, 2006
EU December 22, 2006
3DS Virtual Console
August 31, 2011 (Ambassador)
April 18, 2013
US June 14, 2012
EU August 23, 2012
Wii U Virtual Console
JP July 15, 2013
US April 26, 2013
EU April 27, 2013
AU April 28, 2013
Gallery N/A
Rating ESRB: E

Donkey Kong Junior (commonly abbreviated as Donkey Kong Jr. in ports and rereleases) is a 1982 arcade game that acts as the sequel to Donkey Kong. This game features a role reversal from the previous game. This time Donkey Kong is the one captured, and his son Donkey Kong Jr. must rescue him. Donkey Kong's captor is none other than Mario, in his own role as a villain to date.



While developing the game, Shigeru Miyamoto envisioned it as being "Donkey Kong's revenge". However, the Donkey Kong sprite was too large to control with the technology back then. This lead Miyamoto to create a smaller character, Donkey Kong Jr., to act as the game's protagonist instead.


Mario is keeping Donkey Kong locked up in a cage in the jungle, presumably as revenge for Donkey Kong's kidnapping of Pauline in the previous game. But Donkey Kong Jr. soon battles Mario's minions in an attempt to free his father. At the end of the game, Donkey Kong Jr. is able to free Donkey Kong from his cage, but at the same time causes the platform that Mario and Donkey were standing on to fall. Donkey Kong Jr. is able to catch his father while Mario takes a nasty fall (and even gets a halo above his head).


The player controls Donkey Kong Junior as he travels across four levels. The first game focused on jumping, but this game instead focused on climbing vines. Donkey Kong Jr.'s only method of attack was caused by bumping into fruit hanging from vines. This would cause the fruit to fall and destroy any enemy it hit. There are also three different types of enemy in the game: the crocodile-like Snapjaw (which, despite sharing its name with a piranha enemy in Donkey Kong Country 2, appears to be the inspiration for the Klaptrap enemy), a bird called Nitpicker (the name would later be recycled for another bird enemy in Ice Climber) and the Spark.


The game contains four levels. Each level is completed when Donkey Kong Jr. arrives at his father's cage, which is located in the upper-left corner of the screen. Afterwards Donkey Kong Jr. is taken to the next level. The only exception is the final level, in which Donkey Kong Jr.'s goal is to free his father from the cage.

  • Stage 1- The basic level introduces Snapjaws. The level contains a small network of vines that Donkey Kong Jr. must climb across to reach the top.
  • Stage 2- The second level introduced the Nitpicker. It also contained moving platforms, moving ropes and a trampoline that Donkey Kong Jr. could jump with.
  • Stage 3- Perhaps the strangest level of the game, it appears to take place in some kind of power plant rather than a jungle. This is where the Sparks appear.
  • Stage 4- In the final level, there are six keys that each must be pushed up a chain to be inserted into their respective slots. Mario deploys both Snapjaws and Nitpickers to hinder Junior's progress. After all the keys are inserted, Donkey Kong Senior is freed, and the ending is initiated.

Continuity Notes

  • While not a direct link, the implication seems to be that Mario has been holding Donkey Kong prisoner since the ending of Donkey Kong.


Donkey Kong Junior was successful, but not as successful as the original Donkey Kong. The Donkey Kong arcade series would be discontinued following the next installment, Donkey Kong 3, while Mario moved on to stardom in Mario Bros.. Some elements of Donkey Kong Junior's gameplay also appeared in later games such as Donkey Kong GB, Mario Vs. Donkey Kong and Yoshi's Island DS. It likely also inspired the rope-climbing and vine-swinging in Donkey Kong Country and the later Donkey Kong games.


It was followed by Donkey Kong 3, and additionally Donkey Kong Jr. Math was its NES spin-off.


  • In the 80's, Donkey Kong Junior was rereleased on various home consoles including the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Intellivision, Atari 8-bita and Atari 7800.
  • It was released twice on the NES, first as a solo game and than in the compilation game Donkey Kong Classics. The NES version has no known differences from the original.
  • A pair of Game & Watch games were also made based on the game, entitled Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong II. Both have similar gameplay to the original arcade game, and Donkey Kong II's upper screen seems to be based on the game's fourth level.

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