Donkey Kong Jr. (game)

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"Donkey Kong 2" redirects here. For information about the second installment of the Donkey Kong Country series, see Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. For the second installment of the Donkey Konga series, see Donkey Konga 2.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong Jr Arcade side art.png
Art of the arcade cabinet.
Developer(s) Nintendo Research & Development 1
Iwasaki Engineering[1]
Nintendo Research & Development 2 (NES port)[2]
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Hamster (Arcade Archives)
Release date Arcade:
Japan July 15, 1983
USA June 1986
Europe June 15, 1987[3]
Family Computer Disk System:
Japan July 19, 1988[4]
USA September 16, 2002[5]
Virtual Console (Wii):
Japan December 2, 2006
USA December 4, 2006
Europe December 22, 2006
Virtual Console (3DS) (Ambassador Program Release):
Japan August 31, 2011
USA September 1, 2011
Europe September 1, 2011
Australia September 1, 2011
Virtual Console (3DS) (Full Release):
Japan April 18, 2012
USA June 14, 2012
Europe August 23, 2012
Australia August 23, 2012
Virtual Console (Wii U):
Japan July 15, 2013
USA April 26, 2013
Europe April 27, 2013
Australia April 28, 2013
NES Classic Edition:
Australia November 10, 2016
USA November 11, 2016
Europe November 11, 2016
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives):
Japan December 21, 2018
USA December 21, 2018
Europe December 21, 2018
Australia December 21, 2018
Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online:
Japan May 15, 2019[6]
USA May 15, 2019[7]
Europe May 15, 2019[8]
Australia May 15, 2019[9]
HK May 15, 2019
South Korea May 15, 2019
Genre Retro/Platform
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Standard
Monitor Raster, standard resolution
Wiimote Sideways.png Wii Remote (Sideways)
Wii U:
Wiimote Sideways.png Wii Remote (Sideways)
Nintendo Switch:
Nintendo 3DS:
NES Classic Edition:

Donkey Kong Jr., also spelled Donkey Kong Junior in early arcade releases and home ports, is an arcade game starring Donkey Kong Jr. It is the direct sequel to Donkey Kong, and it and the similar Donkey Kong II, as well as Donkey Kong Circus are the only games in the Mario franchise where Mario is the antagonist.

Donkey Kong Jr. never enjoyed the sales or the following that the original Donkey Kong did, but it did well enough to warrant a second sequel, Donkey Kong 3.


After the events of Donkey Kong, Mario has captured Donkey Kong as revenge for kidnapping his lady friend and Donkey Kong Jr. has to save him. Donkey Kong Jr. will travel through four stages from the jungle to the big city to rescue his father, climbing vines, avoiding enemies and jumping on platforms along the way. However, every time Donkey Kong Jr. gets close to freeing his father, Mario just pushes him further away.

Finally in his hideout, Mario appears to be atop a skyscraper similar to 100m from the last game. Donkey Kong Jr. has to put six keys into their keyholes to free his dad and make the platform they are standing on disappear. Donkey Kong and Mario both fall down and Donkey Kong Jr. catches Donkey Kong but Mario just hits the ground. Donkey Kong Jr. carries his dad off-screen as Mario gets up and runs after them, only to be kicked right back out by Donkey Kong, forcing him to flee. In the NES version, this is altered to Mario falling to his apparent death.

Story from the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console manual[edit]

Poor Donkey Kong™ has been captured by Mario™ and now finds himself locked up in a cage! It's up to Donkey Kong's son, Junior, to rescue him by snatching the keys to the cage away from Mario. Unfortunately for Junior, Mario won't give up those keys easily, and dangerous snapjaws, nitpickers, and sparks will attack him along the way. Will Junior be able to help his father...? That all depends on you!


Donkey kong jr.png

As a direct sequel, Donkey Kong Jr. retains many elements from Donkey Kong, although the two games are significantly different. While the original installment took place in a construction setting, Donkey Kong Jr. takes place in a jungle-like setting, from which Donkey Kong Jr. can climb up vines, drop fruit, or jump from place to place.

In order to free his father, Donkey Kong Junior must collect the key being kept at the end of each level, eventually using those keys to free his father in the end. All the while, however, Mario will sit near the Key as well as Donkey Kong's cage, summoning waves of monsters after Donkey Kong Junior from his position. After Donkey Kong gains a key, Mario will take Donkey Kong to the next location.



Character Name Debut Information
DKJ Arcade Donkey Kong Jr Sprite.png Donkey Kong Jr. Stage 1 The son of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior is the titular protagonist of Donkey Kong Jr., who has the ability to climb up vines.
DKJArcadeDonkeyKongSprite.png Donkey Kong Stage 1 Donkey Kong Jr.'s father, held by Mario at the end of every level.
DKJArcadeMarioSprite.png Mario Stage 1 The main antagonist, Mario appears in every level at the end of each stage, throwing obstacles at Donkey Kong Jr. or guarding Donkey Kong.


Enemy Name Debut Information
DKJ Arcade Blue Snapjaw Sprite.png
Snapjaw Stage 1 Crocodile-like enemies that move after Donkey Kong Junior. Red ones will stay in one particular area, while the blue ones, which are summoned by Mario, will move aimlessly until they reach a vine, where they will continuously move down until they fall off.
DKJ Arcade Nitpicker Sprite.png Nitpicker Stage 2 Vulture-like birds that fly down once in an attempt to ram into Donkey Kong Junior. Some may also drop eggs at random intervals.
DKJ Arcade Blue Spark.png
Spark Stage 3 Electrical balls of energy that travel around a set platform. Blue ones, summoned by Mario, will constantly move downwards.
DKJ Arcade Bird.png Bird Stage 4 Raven-like Nitpickers that fly down the screen in a zigzag-like pattern in an attempt to ram into Donkey Kong Junior.


Item Name Effect
DKJ Arcade Banana.png
Fruit Fruit can be dropped onto enemies directly bellow Donkey Kong Jr., otherwise gaining a point bonus if no enemy is hit.
DKJ Arcade Blue Key.png Key Keys are guarded by Mario at the end of each stage. It is mandatory for Donkey Kong Junior to grab these items in order to free his father.


Donkey Kong Jr. was re-released in several other forms for different game systems.

References in later games[edit]

  • Donkey Kong and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Donkey Kong Jr., as well as many enemies and gameplay elements, make an appearance in this game (with Donkey Kong Jr. only being in the former). Also, Mario's method of trapping Junior in Donkey Kong '94 is identical to Donkey Kong Jr.'s method of freeing his father from captivity. Many enemies and gameplay elements from Donkey Kong Jr. are reused in Mario vs Donkey Kong as well.
  • Donkey Kong Country series: Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong's ability to climb two ropes at a time originates from Donkey Kong Jr. The music for this game is redone and replayed in the Golden Temple level of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. A different cover of the song plays in the Secret Seclusion world in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The plotline for Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest was also very similar to Donkey Kong Jr., including Donkey Kong being captured by an old enemy (in his case, Kaptain K. Rool) and requiring that Diddy save him by traveling to the place Donkey Kong was being held captive.
  • Super Mario Kart: Donkey Kong Jr. appears as a playable character in this game.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee: Donkey Kong Jr. appears as a trophy in the game, and his antagonism towards Mario is referenced in the flavor text for the trophy.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: When Diddy Kong, Fox, and Falco arrive at the barge taking the recently-trophified Donkey Kong to the Ancient Island, Donkey Kong's trophy is shown in chains on the arms and legs, referring to Donkey Kong's (or, technically, Cranky Kong's) captive status in the game, particularly the final level of the game.
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia: The lightning trap room where the Vol Fulgur glyph is found is similar to Stage 3 of Donkey Kong Jr. and was most likely based on that stage.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Donkey Kong Jr. appears in this game as a spirit. Additionally, a medley of songs named "Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr." is featured.


Main article: List of Donkey Kong Jr. staff

Produced by[edit]

Original Music by[edit]

  • Yukio Kaneoka

Programming by[edit]

Pre-release and unused content[edit]

Main article: List of Donkey Kong Jr. pre-release and unused content

The arcade version includes an unused lightbulb object as well as several graphical leftovers from the original Donkey Kong. In addition, the Coleco Adam port is notable for originally featuring an unlockable stage, but it was cut at Nintendo's request.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Donkey Kong Jr. (game).


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Release Reviewer, Publication Score Comment
Wii Damien McFerran, Nintendo Life 4/10 "After all these years, Donkey Kong Jr.'s levels can still be a slight challenge and hold replayability, and hardcore fans will no doubt argue that it's all about setting as high a score as possible, but it's clear that this is a game more suited for those who enjoyed it at the time of its original release in the arcades. The gameplay is far too basic to recommend this wholeheartedly when there are so many better alternatives on the Virtual Console; after watching King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters you might be inspired to give this a whirl, but it won't keep you entertained for very long."
NES Lucas M. Thomas, IGN 5/10 "The son of Kong arrives here in a complete conversion of his arcade debut, but this game's too short of an experience to recommend (never mind that it's already been made available through Animal Crossing and as the packed-in "launch title" for the Game Boy Advance e-Reader just a few years ago.) It's nice to see Junior, but not enough to warrant a purchase on his own."
Wii Alex Navarro, GameSpot 4.9/10 "It was a very fun game for its time, but it hasn't held up very well over the years. The only multiplayer is a two-player, trade-off mode, and as fun as some of the levels can be, with only four to play through, you're over and done with the game before you know it. Apart from DK Jr.'s cute character sprite, the graphics are rather archaic, and the audio isn't all that enjoyable, despite a decently catchy soundtrack. The short length and crusty graphics and sound are to be expected from a perfect port of a game from 1986, but for the $5 that's being charged for it, it's tough to recommend to anyone that didn't count Donkey Kong Jr. among their most favorite of NES games. If you're on a nostalgia hunt, there are far stronger options available on the Virtual Console.'"
Compiler Platform / Score
GameRankings 58.17%


According to The Ultimate History of Video Games: from Pong to Pokemon and beyond...the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world[page number needed], the arcade version of Donkey Kong Jr. sold 30,000 units in North America, half of its predecessor.


Package for the Donkey Kong Jr.-e cards.

In 2002, Donkey Kong Jr. (titled Donkey Kong Jr.-e) was released for the e-Reader as part of Series One.


Card 1 of 5/codes 1-2[edit]

English flavor text: Mario has gone ape and locked your father, Donkey Kong, in a cage. Steal the keys from Mario to set your papa free!

+ Control Pad Moves character

L Button + R Button Resets game to Title Screen

START Start/Pause

SELECT Selects game mode

  • Game A is beginner game
  • Game B is expert mode

A Button Jumps

B Button Not used

Card 2 of 5/codes 3-4[edit]

HOW TO PLAY In Rounds 1 through 3, work your way to the top of the level to reach the key. In Round 4, carry all six keys to the top of the level and put them into their keyholes to free Donkey Kong. Once Donkey Kong is free, the game starts again, but faster and more exciting. Test your skill by saving your father against greater odds.

BEWARE! Each time you collide with a spark, fall from a vine, get bitten by a Snapjaw, or get pecked by a Nitpicker, you'll lose a life. Once all of your lives are gone, the game is over.

Card 3 of 5/codes 5-6[edit]

TECHNIQUES Use these two special moves to help speed up the action:

  • Grab onto two vines at a time to speed to the top.
  • Go down quicker by sliding down just one vine.

Card 4 of 5/codes 7-8[edit]

TIPS Timing is everything! In Round 2, press the A Button at just the right time and you'll launch off the springboard onto the moving island.

Drop fruit from vines on your enemies to get extra points.

Score 20,000 points and earn an extra life!

Card 5 of 5/code 9-10[edit]

ITEMS Keys: Pick up the keys to Donkey Kong's cage (Rounds 1-3). Insert keys into keyholes to free Donkey Kong (Round 4).

Fruit: Pick up fruit for extra bonus points.

Name in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ドンキーコング ジュニア (arcade)
ドンキーコングJR. (Famicom)
ドンキーコングJr. (newer)
Donkī Kongu Junia
Donkey Kong Junior or Donkey Kong Jr.


A screenshot of what appears to be two Marios in the intro.
  • During the intro of the arcade version of Donkey Kong Jr., there were actually two Marios seen carrying Donkey Kong's cage away. This second Mario was possibly the basis for Luigi.
  • Most versions of Donkey Kong Jr., including the NES version, had the ending theme played once instead of twice. The three versions to break this rule were the Intellivision, Coleco Adam, and Atari 8-bit computer ports.
  • In the arcade version of the game, between the second and third stages, Mario carries Donkey Kong away in a yellow helicopter, with Jr. following close behind with a parasol.


Donkey Kong Jr.'s page on other NIWA wikis: