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Donkey King (The King)

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Released: 1983

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Dragon 32/64

Publisher: Microdeal

Developer: Microdeal

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Which 8-bit computer had the best version of Donkey Kong in the early years? Was it the ZX Spectrum which had Ocean’s Kong? No it wasn’t because Kong was crap. Was it the BBC B which had Killer Gorilla? No because Killer Gorilla was rubbish. Was it the Commodore 64’s official version of Donkey Kong? No whilst that was OK it was not released until 1986… and everyone had moved on from monkeys by then.

In my opinion there was only one great version of Donkey Kong (unless you bought a Colecovision) and that was Donkey King on the Dragon 32. A game so close to the original that it had to change it’s name to the King, to avoid the litigious Nintendo.

Ignore the green background, no Dragon game could help the appalling colour scheme it was saddled with. Instead look at the way Mario (sic) moves. It’s wonderful. Look at the way the flaming barrels move, the normal barrels drop, the way the monkey moves about and the way the woman screams Help! Sheer quality.

It’s all there… all the levels are brilliantly executed to almost arcade perfect quality. Even the strange analogue Dragon joysticks couldn’t ruin the enjoyment this game provided me.

Ported to the Dragon 32 from the Tandy CoCo game Monkey Kong written by Ken Kalish, it was a supreme piece of programming, on an underpowered computer that shouldn’t have been able to run such a great version.

My friend had a Dragon, and in the two years he owned it he only had three games of any note that we ever played. Cuthbert in the Jungle (a complete rip-off of Pitfall), Dragon Trek (a good Star Trek strategy game) and Donkey King. Every visit required a load up of the monkey bashing program, because it was so much better than any I could get on my computer.