Now available - Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack (Sharp X1 rom)
March 2, 2018 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Recently noted in the briefest of passing comments "... in Donkey Kong 3, Donkey Kong fought an exterminator. Nobody really cares about that one..." except they do. The extremely rare, officially-licensed Donkey Kong game has finally been released to the Internet, and now the entire world can experience the bizarre journey of Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack. Thanks to some dedicated fans, a copy of the Sharp X1 version of the game was dumped (with that process written up and link to the rom) and now you can play it in an emulator (Windows only, sorry). Or you can watch YouTube user Nintendo Era play (and talk) through levels 1-8 (36 min), levels 9 and 10 (4 min), levels 11-15 (20 min), and levels 16-20 (30 min).

To be clear, this is Hudson Soft's Sharp X1 adaptation of the title, which one of three Japanese-only ported versions made by the company in 1984 (also on NEC PC-8801 and NEC PC-6601 systems. As noted on the Wikipedia page for Donkey Kong 3:
This game is significantly different from the arcade original or its NES port. While the object to shoot Donkey Kong up in the air remains, this version features 20 new outdoor backgrounds such as a bridge, Planet Saturn, a desert, a pyramid or a highway. After the player has completed the 20th stage, the game loops back at stage 21. Stanley can only move from left to right and is no longer able to jump.
The original version was released near simultaneously for the arcades (emulated arcade gameplay, no sound for the first 37 seconds of preview) and Family Computer, and later released in America on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986 (emulated gameplay video). The game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in North America on July 14, 2008 and in Europe on January 9, 2009, so you may have played or seen a different version of the game already.

Speaking of different, Hudson Soft had an interesting idea: set the stages on a range of locations, like On The Highway, On The Strange Bridge, and The Aliens, and let the player create a story to tie it all together (translated from a limited sample of the manual as "Please connect the screen, create a story and send it to Hudson").
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

4:37 in. Did you say he actually PLAYS this game?
posted by Samizdata at 10:58 PM on March 2, 2018

10 minutes in. Well, he's been playing, but his presentation irks me enough it is overriding my interest in the game.
posted by Samizdata at 11:04 PM on March 2, 2018

I'm vastly amused that the author of the dumping story was all “whoah 3" disks are teh rare and special!!!1!”. They were standard on Amstrad computers in the UK from ~1984-1990. There were millions of the things around, and they had bog-standard floppy connectors. I still consider non-3" disks to be slightly weird: everything else is too big or too fragile. Can you put other floppies in your pocket or mail them without a case or envelope? You can¹ with 3" disks. I miss their confident glip glip glip glip bzzt glip sound.

Most of the belts will have rotted on 3" drives now, so getting one to work requires some maintenance.

Hudson Soft were also responsible for the truly lovely Stop the Express on the ZX Spectrum. They could do no wrong.

¹: not that I recommend mailing 'em unprotected but I did, once, and it worked.
posted by scruss at 7:55 AM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

10 minutes in. Well, he's been playing, but his presentation irks me enough it is overriding my interest in the game.

Sadly, the gameplay is pretty repetitive, so once you've seen one level, you've seen them all -- except for the background art, which is where things get weird. What is The Great Counterattack? Are we being invaded by alien insects? Is there a nuclear war? And what role does Donkey Kong play in all this, with his tiny parachutes?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 AM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by JHarris at 10:35 AM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

So weird, like "We cannot have a Galaga gap! Let's do it with a giant ape and an exterminator"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:56 PM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Although, does anyone have a clue as to why to get anywhere you have to shoot DK in the groin?
posted by Samizdata at 3:22 PM on March 4, 2018

I once found some bright yellow 3" discs with Japanese labels resembling video game titles in a thrift shop in Melbourne; they were very cheap, presumably because nobody knew what they were for, so I picked them up. Further inquiry revealed that they were for a Nintendo console add-on sold only in Japan that allowed one to load games from a drive (presumably for games that didn't fit in a ROM chip).

The disks are still somewhere in a storage locker in Melbourne.
posted by acb at 7:07 AM on March 5, 2018

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