Format reviewed: BBC Micro
Publisher: Program Power
Developer: Adrian Stephens
Submitted by: Alex Reeves
The BBC Micro was touted as an educational tool, if you believe Fred Harris, and most of us growing up in the 80's will have used one at school, either doing some rudimentary programming, or playing with maths tools such as "Turtle".
It also happened to have a great specification for replicating arcade games due to the colourful high resolution screen and multi-channel sound.
Various publishers in the early days of the BBC chose to go down this route, with faithful renditions of Mr Do! (Mr Ee), Frogger (Hopper), Panic (Space Monsters) and Donkey Kong which, you guessed it, was renamed Killer Gorilla.
For some reason, in the Program Power version, they felt the need to replace Mario with a stick man, quite how they felt this would fool Nintendo I don't know, as in every other way this game was a carbon copy of the arcade game.
I won't dwell too long on the gameplay as we all know Donkey Kong, but this game had it all, as your not-Mario jumped and hammered his way across various levels to rescue his girlfriend.
I spent a lot of time on this as a teenager when I was supposedly "doing homework" on my BBC…
Format reviewed: Amstrad CPC
Publisher: Micro Power
Developer: Duncan Gamble
Submitted by: Gavin Eke
In terms of gaming icons Donkey Kong is up there with Pac-Man & Space Invaders. Representing a bygone era of discovery, innovation & excitement where each new release seemed to offer the player something different. Of course success brings other groupies eager to cash in on the gravy train of what's in vogue.
As a result, the early 80's were rife with clones of popular arcade titles written for home computers such as Killer Gorilla. The game was an unapologetic clone of Nintendo's classic, Donkey Kong, featuring four near identical screens of jumping over barrels, gaps & moving platforms whilst being overseen by a big hairy ape. The popular BBC original was then ported over to the CPC which subsequently received an official conversion of Nintendo's classic by Ocean Software during 1986.
If you have played any version of Donkey Kong then they'll be no surprises here. You still journey up four levels to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend screaming for help. Once all four levels are completed & “Killer” has fallen from the top, it's back to the start whereby the difficulty increases.
So if Killer is a direct clone/copy of Donkey Kong then it must be good right? Well, yes it is but the devil's in the details. The game plays very well, it's colourful, fast & captures the spirit of Nintendo's classic. However, Killer can't match the chest beating personality & enthusiasm of Donkey. Whilst Nintendo's animal struts around causing jumpman untold hassle with his barrel throwing & gloating at his demise, Killer just stands there like a waxwork dummy at Madame Tussards. He doesn't taunt you or goad the player to defeat him, Killer just sits there motionless. It seems harsh to criticise Micropowers efforts in this regard but when the game is so close to the original, it's only then that Nintendo's charm shines through.