Monday, 21 October 2013

REVIEW - Donkey Me : Raiders of the Lost Ark (PC)

I hate snakes!

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, if that is the case then Donkey Me must surely be on its knees with a mouthful of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, as it's so close to Nintendo's giant Ape's 1980 adventure that I am surprised Nintendo's lawyers haven't tried to shut down the developer's site. I am glad that this hasn't happened, though, as Donkey Me is a fantastic homage to the original platform game, but also manages to inject its own identity by expanding on the original formula and adding the graphical style and sounds of the fantastic Indiana Jones movies (so that would be Lucasfilms' lawyers added to the mix then).

Bruno R. Marcos, the developer of the Arcade Game Studio - an easy to use development tool used to create your own arcade style games - has obviously put his own software to good use, creating a near identical replica of Donkey Kong's first, and most famous, stage, using artwork and sprites of the Indiana Jones movies created by Julian Baznet. Thankfully, Donkey Kong's other three stages have been ignored, and Donkey Me sticks firmly to the first stage formula of jumping rolling barrels and avoiding flames - only here, they are snakes, hostile natives, Nazis, boulders and ghosts from the Ark of the Covenant itself. The graphics are really well done, perfectly capturing the spirit of the Indy movies in 8-bit pixellated form, with each of the three stages paying tribute to each of the original Indiana Jones movie trilogy (the less said about Crystal Skull, the better). Sound effects are similar to the original Nintendo game, except for a few familiar Indiana Jones ditties that play upon your success or failure, but finish off the Indiana Jones presentation nicely. 

Most importantly, the gameplay not only perfectly mimics the coin-op inspiration, but actually betters it by re-using the strongest stage in the game, with additional hazards and level layouts that will really challenge you. The platforming, as always, is tight and precise, meaning any mistakes are purely down to the player, with the new additions, such as gaps in the platforms, adding some variation to proceedings. Upon finishing the third screen, the game loops to the first stage's background and sprites, only with a harder layout, more hazards, and reversed starting position (right instead of left).

Donkey Me is great fun to play - as addictive and challenging as the original Donkey Kong game - only now with added Indiana Jones flavour and some excellent new ideas that add to the games, already substantial, replay value.

Title : Donkey Me : Raiders of the Lost Ark
Developer : Bruno R. Marcos
Year : 2013
System : PC
Price : Free

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