In this month’s edition of Getting Good, we’re diving into a sequel that’s a bit obscure – not because its predecessors were unimportant, but because the gameplay took a radical departure from the original formula. Released in 1984, during the “Great Game Crash” that afflicted North America, we’re talking about none other than Donkey Kong 3, the weird shooter game in Nintendo’s popular series of platforming titles.
Instead of the usual platforming action where the objective was to reach the goal and proceed to the next levels ad nauseum, Donkey Kong 3 was more skin to Space Invaders, where you take control of Stanley, the very disgruntled owner of the local Greenhouse, who’s being harassed by Donkey Kong and his bug allies, and use your trusty cans of bug spray to get rid of the pests and drive the pesky primate away.
In this sense, rather than jumping and dodging enemies, you will need to eliminate ALL bugs with your spray, or push Donkey Kong to the top of the screen to win the level. However, you have to also protect your fruits and veggies from being stolen as this will also lower your score at the end of the stage. Also, while you’re busy fighting pests, DK will also be climbing down to the bottom of the screen, and if he reaches the bottom, he’ll take a life. In other words, you don’t want ANYTHING to make it down to the bottom, be it pests or angry monkeys.
The controls in Donkey Kong 3 are as simple as ever: The joystick controls Stanley’s movements, both horizontally, and in the case of the up and down directions, they are used to ascend and descend platforms, respectively.
Donkey Kong 3 is one of those games that doesn’t really follow a set pattern, except for the type of enemies that spawn in every level. As such, in order to get good at the game, we need to discuss the different types of baddies you’ll be going up against.
- Donkey Kong: The big man, or rather, the big gorilla himself! DK acts as a constant looming threat in the game as he’s always hanging threateningly from two vines, slowly sliding down onto the stage. You lose a life if he makes it down. Luckily, you can blast him with bug spray to push him upward. In yellow stages, the only way to win is by pushing DK to the top of the screen.
- Beespy & Buzzbee: The most basic and most prevalent types of bugs, which come in gray/orange and red/blue color combinations, respectively. They always make a beeline (heh, get it?) towards Stanley. Just zap them once to remove the threat they pose. Beespies are the basic form, whereas Buzzbees are their aggressive counterparts, which start spawning from level 12 onward.
- Queen Bee: Can often appear accompanied by Beespy and Buzzbee. You need to shoot them 2 times to defeat them. And even on death, they explode into 4 projectiles that spread diagonally from the epicenter, so the only safe spot for attacking is directly below the Queen.
- Buttify & Beetle: They always spawn from the hives in the stage, and descend to the bottom from the sides. When they line up parallel to Stanley, they zip horizontally towards him. Beetles appear after round 18 and behave similarly to Buttifies, except that they attack much quicker.
- Moth: These start to show up from round 24 and move erratically, making predicting them all but impossible. Stay out of their way until you can line up a good shot, otherwise they’ll steal your fruit if left unchecked!
- Creepy: Nigh-indestructible, these worms can only be temporarily stunned by your bug spray. However, when in their stunned state, you can easily walk over them without taking damage. These guys are meant to act as nuisances and to block shots directed at other targets. They can only be destroyed permanently with the Super Spray.
- Beebomb: These bugs are created when regular BeeSpies or BuzzBees manage to steal your fruit. They quickly make their way towards their hive after stealing your fruit and spend a few moments circling around it. After a while, they will then shoot straight towards Stanley with blinding speed, but you can easily take them down with a well-timed shot just as they’re about to hit you.
- Vine Eater: These only appear after the bonus timer runs out, and constantly eat away at DK’s vines. If they munch through the section where DK is currently hanging from, he will fall to where Stanley is and take away a life. Make sure to finish the stage before this happens!
The Super Spray
Now that you know about all the enemies that you’ll encounter during your matches, let’s talk about the best weapon at your disposal to get rid of them: The Super Spray.
This very limited item packs a stronger punch than your regular bug spray, and can only be obtained once per life. You can find the can of Super Spray hanging next to DK’s vines. If you hit the monkey enough so that one of his hands lands on the can, it’ll drop down to where Stanley can pick it up.
Once activated, Super Bug Spray will last for a few moments, and will improve the power of your basic attack, allowing you to even destroy Queen Bees with a single shot. Furthermore, since these blasts are much stronger than normal, they will also push DK back further than normal, which will make them extremely handy for yellow stages.
Sadly, since you can only get these powerups once per life, it’s not really worth making a strategy around them. Still, it’s great to keep in mind for the stages where you’re having troubles staying alive.
The Different Stages
The levels in Donkey Kong 3 are divided by color, which can help to prepare you for the challenges that lie within.
- Blue Stages: the most basic types of stages, which consist of three platforms in a pyramid shape. You can easily reach and shoot DK from the middle of the topmost platform, but take care for falling Creepies and other types of attacking bugs. Make sure to attack any bees that manage to pick up your fruits before they make it back to their hives.
- Gray Stages: Similar in layout to the previous, except with a gap in the middle of center platform, which will somewhat complicate attacking DK. Regardless, aside from having to make your way to the left or right of the middle platform to make it to the top, it’s not too different from the Blue Stages.
- Yellow Stages: The last stage in the regular cycle, consisting of a direct showdown against the big monkey and his posse. Since there’s no escaping your wrath this time around, DK will try to fight back directly by lobbing coconuts at Stanley. Furthermore, there are many Creepies in this stage, which can make it really difficult to hit your intended target. The only way to win in this stage is by smashing the monkey into the roof by blasting him with bug spray. To make things easier for you, make sure to blast Creepies while they’re distracted crawling on the sides of the stage so you can get a clear shot at your enemy.
And that’s all you need to know to get good at Donkey Kong 3. By reading about the different enemy types, and learning their movement patterns and attack styles, you can easily position and maneuver Stanley to stay alive and defeat DK at every turn!
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