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Europe gets exclusive 'perfect version' of NES Donkey Kong in its Mario 25th Anniversary Wiis

In the days of the NES, arcade game ports usually came with plenty of strings attached. The comparatively simple, cheap hardware and ROM cartridges of the NES paled in comparison to the expensive, high-end PCB boards arcade developers were free to use. In fact, the idea of getting an “arcade perfect” port didn’t really exist until well into the 32-bit era. Almost any game transplanted from the arcade would have something lost in the process – ranging from minor graphical fidelity issues to the wholesale removal of entire gameplay elements.

The NES version of Donkey Kong is a port notorious for what it lacks. Besides cutting out some animations, the original game featured 4 different stage layouts, one of which is commonly called the “cement factory” or “pie factory” due to the look of the conveyor-bound objects that move around the bottom portion of the stage. For whatever reason, this stage was completely cut from the NES edition of the game. It’s a puzzling omission to this day: the hardware was certainly capable of rendering it adequately, so why excise it? The make matters worse, most re-releases of the game are based on the NES version rather than the original arcade edition, leaving a new generation of gamers without any appreciation for the cement factory.

The situation has changed, however… but only in Europe. While Japanese players are receiving a special edition of Super Mario Bros. with their Super Mario 25th Anniversary Edition Wiis, European consumers are getting something completely different pre-installed: a port of the NES Donkey Kong. But unlike the special edition Super Mario Bros., there’s more to this than just some graphical changes – Nintendo has finally seen fit to port and add the cement factory level to the game, as well as restore several of the missing animations. Take a look starting at about the 58 second mark in this video:

It’s still not 100% arcade accurate (Donkey Kong doesn’t move around on the top level of the stage like he does in the arcade game), but it’s still nice that Nintendo put in the effort to mend a port that’s nearly 30 years old.

So Japan gets Super Mario Bros., and Europe gets a significantly improved edition of NES Donkey Kong. What do North Americans get pre-installed on special edition red Wii consoles? Unfortunately, the answer is “diddly squat.” At least we can hold out hope for a Virtual Console re-release…

Nov 16, 2010

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