Donkey Kong Jr.

Arcade Video game published 40 years ago by Nintendo

Listed in MAME

Donkey Kong Jr. screenshot

Donkey Kong Jr. © 1982 Nintendo.

Donkey Kong Jr. is a single-screen platform game and the first sequel to the legendary original. It differs from the first game in that Mario is now cast as the villain (the only Mario game in which this occurred) and Donkey Kong the captured victim.

Donkey Kong's son, DK Junior, must rescue his captured father from Mario's clutches by climbing and jumping his way over vines, chains and platforms in order to grab a key and reach his father. Junior has to race against time while avoiding the horrible Snap jaws and birds released by Mario.

Junior can run left and right, jump, and grab vines/chains/ropes to climb higher up the screen. He can slide down faster by holding only one vine, or climb faster by holding two. To pass the first three stages, Junior must reach the key hanging next to his father's cage, whereupon Mario flees while pushing the cage off-screen. In the fourth stage, Junior must push six keys into locks on the topmost platform to free Donkey Kong. After a brief cutscene, the player is taken back to the first stage at an increased difficulty.

Items of fruit litter the stages and these can be knocked down for bonus points, they can also be dropped onto enemies and will kill every enemy they touch before falling off the bottom of the screen. Junior loses a life when he touches any enemy or projectile, falls too great a distance, or falls off the bottom of the screen. Additionally, he loses a life if the bonus timer counts down to zero. Donkey Kong Jr. features four different stages.


* Junior: Baby ape and son of Donkey Kong, he must rescue his father from Mario's cage.

* Mario: Imprisoned Donkey Kong after the ape's escapades in the first game and now keeps a watchful eye over his prisoner.

* Donkey Kong: From villain to victim, Kong must watch helplessly as his son comes to his rescue.

* Snap Jaws: Mechanical mouths that must be avoided. Blue jaws drop down vines and continue off the bottom of the screen, red jaws climb back up and pose a more permanent threat.

* Nitpickers: Flying birds of which there are two types: small ones appear in the Springboard stage and attempt to drop eggs on Junior as they fly around the top branches. Fatter ones appear on the Chains stage and weave back and forth to hinder Junior.

* Sparks: These volts of electricity patrol Mario's Hideout. The red variety follows the loop that they begin on, while the blue ones follow the vertical strips from one level to the next as they drop to the bottom of the screen.

Goodies for Donkey Kong Jr.
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Main CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 3.072 Mhz)
Sound CPU : I8035 (@ 400 Khz)
Sound Chips : DAC

Players : 2
Control : 4-way joystick
Buttons : 1 (JUMP)


Donkey Kong Jr. was released in August 1982 in Japan.

The US version, as well as some bootleg versions, have the suffix fully spelled out in the printed title rather than abbreviated ("Donkey Kong Junior").

The music that is played in the intro sequence before gameplay is the opening of Bach's 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor'.

The song that is played during the cut scene before the Mario's Hideout Stage is from the 'Can-Can'.

Steve Wiebe holds the official record for this game with 1,139,800 points on March 14, 2009.

Bootlegs of the game include "Donkey King Jr." and "Junior King". Another bootleg runs on the "Moon Cresta" hardware.


The 'Extra Lives' dip switch can actually be set to 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, or 25,000; the default is 10,000.


Jump over one opponent : 100 points
Jump over two or more opponents : 300 points

Pick a fruit : 400 points
Hit first opponent with fruit : 800 points
Hit second opponent with fruit : 1,200 points
Hit third and subsequent opponents with fruit : 1,600 points

On the Chains Stage only :
Push key in lock : 200 points


* When you start the game, Jr. will start at the bottom left corner of the Vines Stage. Your job in the first three stages is to navigate him to the key at the top of the screen so that he can progress to the next stage. Here are some strategies for each stage...

* VINES STAGE : This is the first stage of each level.
1) To start out, Jr. must grab the vines above him, and climb up to one of the two ledges to his right. He can jump to the next vine from either ledge, where he must slide down to the tree top below.
2) Carefully jump right from one tree top to the next before grabbing the fourth vine from the right. Climb up above the right ledge and maneuver Jr. over to the far right vines. Climb up and onto the branch above. Jump over any Snapjaws that pose a threat and leap up to the higher section of the branch before leaping for the key and ending the stage.
3) Along the way, the pear and apple fruit prizes should be plucked with ease, and if you have time, it pays in the early levels to eliminate any of the Red Snapjaws since they won't come back. However, from L5 onward, they will regenerate at Mario's feet. The banana is in a precarious position and should only be plucked if time and safety permits.

* SPRINGBOARD STAGE : This stage earns its name by hosting a springboard at the bottom of the screen. Its purpose is to provide Jr. with a shortcut.
1) Ordinarily, Jr. must jump on the springboard to reach the treetop on the opposite side. Then he must ride the moving platform to the right and climb up the chains beneath the pulley. He must step onto a ledge which is placed directly beneath the point at which Small Nitpickers like to lay eggs, so watch out. Then he must jump to the left to reach the first hold. When the small platform is beneath him, he must drop down and let it carry him to the next hold which rises and falls.
2) If Jr. uses the springboard as a shortcut, he can move directly from the start to this small ledge by pressing the jump button at precisely the moment when he hits the springboard, and he will launch up to the small platform immediately.
3) Jr. can only jump up and grab the second hold when it is in its lowest position. Once he safely has it, he must reach left and grab the chains that extend below Papa. After pulling himself up, he must navigate through the gauntlet of Small Nitpickers to reach the chains on the right side, where he must climb up a little further to reach the branch. Jumping over the gap in the branch, and timing his jumps to ensure that he doesn't collide with any Small Nitpickers, he can reach the key and end the stage.

1) The layout of this electrically-filled chamber is substantially simpler than the previous stages, but it poses an even greater threat. Not only are Sparks a danger to Jr.'s feet on the ground, they also pose a danger when they pass overhead. A nervous player may anxiously jump over a Spark only to realize too late that another spark was headed Jr.'s way above him. The route is simple. From the start, cross over to the right, climb up, cross back over to the left, climb up, cross once more to the right, climb up again, and finally back to the left in an effort to reach the key.
2) While the Red Sparks remain in their loops, the Blue Sparks move from the top of the screen to the bottom, taking the blue vertical pathways along the way. In the beginning, a Blue Spark will randomly choose one of the four pathways beneath Mario, so cross below Mario with care.
3) The apples are easily plucked on each level, but nailing Sparks with them will take extra timing, and may put you in a bad position if you're not aware of your surroundings.

* CHAINS STAGE : This is Jr.'s last chance to save Papa, so it's now or never.
1) Papa's cage is positioned above a set of six locks, and the keys to those locks are located on chains directly below them. All Jr. has to do is push those keys up and insert them into all six locks and grant Papa his freedom.
2) Blocking his way will be stubborn Red Snapjaws and Large Nitpickers that Mario sends after Jr. The Large Nitpickers will fly from one end of the screen to the other before swooping down a level and reversing direction.
3) Obviously it is faster for Jr. to push up keys two at a time when the chance is available, but that exposes Jr. to twice the danger as Red Snapjaws could be located on either chain at any given moment. So proceed with caution, and try to save the apples for the moments when the Red Snapjaws are located beneath them and can be done away with for bonus points. But from L5 onward, beware...as in the Vines Stage, Red Snapjaws will regenerate at Mario's feet.
4) Once Jr. unlocks every lock, Papa will come tumbling down and mighty Jr. will catch him before the game starts all over again from the Vines stage at a more difficult level.


1. Donkey Kong (1981)
2. Donkey Kong Jr. (1982)
3. Donkey Kong 3 (1983)


NOTE : For ports released in North America, please see the North American version's entry.

Atari 2600 [EU] (1982)
[JP] Nintendo Famicom (jul.15, 1983) "Donkey Kong Jr. [Model HVC-JR]"
[EU] Nintendo NES (june.15, 1987) "Donkey Kong Jr. [Model NES-JR-EEC]"
Nintendo Famicom Disk [JP] (jul.19, 1988) "Donkey Kong Jr. [Model FMC-JRD]"

BBC Micro [EU] (1984)


Game's ROM.