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WANTED: Feedback for Donkey Kong PK


Dauber
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I'm looking for the next episode of the Atari 7800 Homebrew Podcast (you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or use this feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/homebrew78 )

What are your thoughts on Donkey Kong PK? This game will be covered on Episode 12.

You can also e-mail text or audio to homebrew78 -at- fab4it -dot- com.

Deadline is noon CDT on Friday, June 2. Any comments from after then will be addressed in a later episode.

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This is a masterpiece! The definitive home version of Donkey Kong IMHO. If this game could have been made BITD, Atari could have seriously bragged about bringing the arcade experience to your home. There is so much included in this version, beginning with the Intro and between level animations and including the Pie Factory level. I just love the visuals and of course the sounds, oh those POKEY enhanced sounds, man this is a great cart! A favorite option of mine, is the ability to select the US or Japanese screen order.

My thanks go out to tep392 for programming this gem, to CPUWIZ for providing the boards that accept POKEY and to Marc Oberhäuser for another excellent box.

 

Muchas gracias, señores. Muchas gracias!

 

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Edited by sramirez2008
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Wish I had a copy! Am on a waiting list for one at least. :)

 

-edit-

 

Just ordered one (thanks tep), so hopefully it'll arrive in a few weeks. Can_not_wait! Donkey Kong is one of my all time favorite games and this version looks like a dream come true for the 7800. :love:

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What started as a "simple" hack of adding POKEY sound, snowballed into including the Pie Factory/Conveyor Belts stage, intermissions, and ultimately culminated into a near complete (95-98%) re-write of an entire game by tep392.
Donkey Kong PK is close to perfect on the 7800. Why only close to perfect? Let's get the negatives out of the way…Resolution and orientation. The arcade original is a vertical screen @224x256. For the 7800, we are working with a horizontal screen @160x240.
However, the difference between the two is not as drastic or significant as one may think, as the graphics have been masterfully altered to fit within the confines of the designated resolution. Wonderfully so, since the aspect ratio delta was taking into account, and all graphics were updated accordingly. Graphics retain a much truer Arcade appearance.
A huge amount of gratitude and commendations go to Defender_2600 for this accomplishment. Analyzing the comparisons, down to a science alignment of porting graphical details over to the 7800 is phenomenal and quite incredible.
Another compromise regarding the graphics is the status/informational layout. It incorporates/retains some of the original 7800 port design, while modifying other areas; a great improvement overall, despite still deviating from the Arcade considerably.
Additionally, there is less than a handful of gameplay difference between this port and the Arcade original. Even then, they are extremely minute and may be (or remain) hidden to the casual player.
Now, Holy Mackerel, the positives. This is to date the best console port regarding Arcade accuracy. The layout, timings, difficulty is matched near exact to the Arcade. Some may be taking back by the challenge, but it is indeed Arcade difficulty being experienced. There is an easier "Novice" setting for those a bit overwhelmed by the Arcade difficulty or/and have grown accustomed to the much easier home ports on a plethora of other platforms (I.E. NES, ColecoVision, etc.).
There is a 'short-list' compiled respecting the amount of work and accuracy of this port. It is included in the spoiler below.

- POKEY sound borrowed heavily from the 8-bit version.
- Created the tunes that play at the end of the rivet screen. Both versions are there and alternates like the arcade.
- You can also now hear Kong beat his chest as you try to save Pauline.
- "How High Can You Get?" screen is present and accounted for.
- Intro animations - Kong starts the game climbing the building with Pauline, hops across the girders and finishes with a laugh at Mario.
- End of board animations - He will escape with Pauline at the end of the Girder, Cement and Elevator levels.
- Cement (Pie) factory! Includes Kong moving across the top conveyor as Mario works his way up the screen while avoiding the fire balls and cement containers.
- Graphics have been updated on all screens.
- New menu and score line. Sprites have been made more like the arcade thanks to Defender_2600.
- AI for firefoxes and fireballs has been updated. It is now arcade perfect on Cement and Rivet screens.
- Barrel tossing on Girder screen and Bouncer patterns on elevator screen have been updated to replicate the arcade as well.
- Modded colors to be a more like the arcade, thanks to KevinMos3 and Trebor's help.
- HSC support has been added!
- Added Pauline "standing" pose after being saved
- Updated Kong's climbing sprites to look more like arcade
- When Mario stops walking, he maintains his current pose instead of going back to standing pose.
- Fixed barrel logic with Japanese screen order. Mario now has to have hand above top rung of ladder for barrels to not go down ladder.
- Tweaked platforms on Cement screen so it is not too difficult to jump. Close to arcade now.
- Adjusted positions of blue poles supporting Pauline's platform on Rivet screen.
- Tweaked rivet sprites.
- Hammer didn't clear if Mario is killed while holding it.
- Changed Menu screen colors and added flashing affect to "Donkey Kong" graphic.
- Both the US and Japanese screen orders available.
- Kong can now throw the blue barrels as in the arcade.
- On the cement screen, I've fixed the ladder code so it will pull Mario down if he isn't at the top when the ladder starts to move.
- The middle conveyor direction is now dependent on Mario's vertical position, same as the arcade version.
- Mario can rebound off wall to escape barrels at the end of the ramps
- Fireballs turn blue when the hammer is grabbed
- Fireball can climb to higher levels.
- The 1st blue barrel that gets tossed at the start of the screen now behaves correctly for each level.
- Level 22 kill screen.
- Fixed the color issue with the fireball's on the 1st screen.
- Updated the hammer graphics and added the skidding graphic that appears briefly at the end of jumps and falls.
- Hat, purse and umbrella point values vary with level.
- Hammering regular barrel is 100 pts. Blue barrels, firefoxes, fireballs, pies are random value of 300, 500 or 800 using same probability as arcade version.
- Changed the object jumping code to mimic the arcade.
- Barrel logic follows the arcade.
- [Arcade] will cause Kong to throw barrels at the same rate as the arcade version, while [Novice] will use slower rates.
- Firefoxes and Fireballs use the same AI as the arcade game.
- Probabilities for going up/down ladders is replicated.
- The change in enemy speed as the bonus timer counts down and levels increase has been replicated. This includes the difference in speed going up and down ladders.
- The fire enemies bounce correctly as they move.
- Timing/AI for direction changes are replicated.
- Enemies on the rivet/cement screen will pause at the top of ladders randomly.
- Firefox graphics have been improved.
- Barrels on Girder screen start to disappear when bonus timer drops below 400
- Updated elevator speeds to match arcade.
- Made window for checking if Mario is above or below a ladder 40% wider to make it easier to climb/descend.
- Elevators: New graphics and added a color
- Girders: added a color
- Fireballs: new graphics and new colors
- Stairs: changed the color
- Donkey Kong: new color for the fur (more towards the red)
- The girder between the elevators has a different length respect to the girder that follows
- Elevator level - finished moving the platform and aligning the ladders.
- Bounding boxes follow same pattern as the arcade machine.
- Jump next to Donkey Kong, pulled away, and got 100pts on Rivets level (Arcade behavior)
- The smashed object graphic is correctly animated and multicolored.
- The elevator bouncer uses correct colors.
- Added "HELP!" graphic to Pauline's animation.
- Hammer duration matches arcade and color changes at 50% time left.
- Fixed bug so Pauline is erased when DK grabs here.
- Adjusted bouncer position and collision boundary.
- Tweaked Mario's speeds up/down ladders
- Jump distance was adjusted to be more arcade like.
- Cement container speeds were slowed down a bit to match the arcade as well.
- For the Japanese screen order option I modified the barrel logic so they don't go down a ladder when Mario is on it.
- Clear objects when Mario completes a level or dies.
- 3rd fireball on ramp screen bounces now.
- Updated oil can fire pallet to match fires.
- Updated Kong sprites.

That above "spoiler" list does not cover everything.
Nevertheless, Donkey Kong PK plays marvelously. This is a Donkey Kong fan's dream. Controls are smooth, fluid, and quick responding, including walking, jumping, ladder climbing and (un)mounting.
While the new DK releases under the 2600 has shown respectable DK TIA effects are possible, the POKEY is leaps and bounds above the horrid original 7800 port noises with its brash and dissonant sound choices.
If you hate Arcade Donkey Kong, you will hate this port. Well, maybe not. There is the Novice setting making it significantly easier than the Arcade, but not tremendously (Teddy Bear difficulty) so.
Selection of either US or Japan level layout and gameplay (rules), as well as starting level, really helps to round out the options and gives a great opportunity for all to start at their desired respective order of level screens.
Regardless, this is an awesome port of a beloved Arcade game. It’s an outstanding addition to the 7800 library and the gold standard to how all Nintendo Arcade titles should have been ported to the 7800.
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There is a 'short-list' compiled respecting the amount of work and accuracy of this port. It is included in the spoiler below.

- POKEY sound borrowed heavily from the 8-bit version.

- Created the tunes that play at the end of the rivet screen. Both versions are there and alternates like the arcade.

- You can also now hear Kong beat his chest as you try to save Pauline.

- "How High Can You Get?" screen is present and accounted for.

- Intro animations - Kong starts the game climbing the building with Pauline, hops across the girders and finishes with a laugh at Mario.

- End of board animations - He will escape with Pauline at the end of the Girder, Cement and Elevator levels.

- Cement (Pie) factory! Includes Kong moving across the top conveyor as Mario works his way up the screen while avoiding the fire balls and cement containers.

- Graphics have been updated on all screens.

- New menu and score line. Sprites have been made more like the arcade thanks to Defender_2600.

- AI for firefoxes and fireballs has been updated. It is now arcade perfect on Cement and Rivet screens.

- Barrel tossing on Girder screen and Bouncer patterns on elevator screen have been updated to replicate the arcade as well.

- Modded colors to be a more like the arcade, thanks to KevinMos3 and Trebor's help.

- HSC support has been added!

- Added Pauline "standing" pose after being saved

- Updated Kong's climbing sprites to look more like arcade

- When Mario stops walking, he maintains his current pose instead of going back to standing pose.

- Fixed barrel logic with Japanese screen order. Mario now has to have hand above top rung of ladder for barrels to not go down ladder.

- Tweaked platforms on Cement screen so it is not too difficult to jump. Close to arcade now.

- Adjusted positions of blue poles supporting Pauline's platform on Rivet screen.

- Tweaked rivet sprites.

- Hammer didn't clear if Mario is killed while holding it.

- Changed Menu screen colors and added flashing affect to "Donkey Kong" graphic.

- Both the US and Japanese screen orders available.

- Kong can now throw the blue barrels as in the arcade.

- On the cement screen, I've fixed the ladder code so it will pull Mario down if he isn't at the top when the ladder starts to move.

- The middle conveyor direction is now dependent on Mario's vertical position, same as the arcade version.

- Mario can rebound off wall to escape barrels at the end of the ramps

- Fireballs turn blue when the hammer is grabbed

- Fireball can climb to higher levels.

- The 1st blue barrel that gets tossed at the start of the screen now behaves correctly for each level.

- Level 22 kill screen.

- Fixed the color issue with the fireball's on the 1st screen.

- Updated the hammer graphics and added the skidding graphic that appears briefly at the end of jumps and falls.

- Hat, purse and umbrella point values vary with level.

- Hammering regular barrel is 100 pts. Blue barrels, firefoxes, fireballs, pies are random value of 300, 500 or 800 using same probability as arcade version.

- Changed the object jumping code to mimic the arcade.

- Barrel logic follows the arcade.

- [Arcade] will cause Kong to throw barrels at the same rate as the arcade version, while [Novice] will use slower rates.

- Firefoxes and Fireballs use the same AI as the arcade game.

- Probabilities for going up/down ladders is replicated.

- The change in enemy speed as the bonus timer counts down and levels increase has been replicated. This includes the difference in speed going up and down ladders.

- The fire enemies bounce correctly as they move.

- Timing/AI for direction changes are replicated.

- Enemies on the rivet/cement screen will pause at the top of ladders randomly.

- Firefox graphics have been improved.

- Barrels on Girder screen start to disappear when bonus timer drops below 400

- Updated elevator speeds to match arcade.

- Made window for checking if Mario is above or below a ladder 40% wider to make it easier to climb/descend.

- Elevators: New graphics and added a color

- Girders: added a color

- Fireballs: new graphics and new colors

- Stairs: changed the color

- Donkey Kong: new color for the fur (more towards the red)

- The girder between the elevators has a different length respect to the girder that follows

- Elevator level - finished moving the platform and aligning the ladders.

- Bounding boxes follow same pattern as the arcade machine.

- Jump next to Donkey Kong, pulled away, and got 100pts on Rivets level (Arcade behavior)

- The smashed object graphic is correctly animated and multicolored.

- The elevator bouncer uses correct colors.

- Added "HELP!" graphic to Pauline's animation.

- Hammer duration matches arcade and color changes at 50% time left.

- Fixed bug so Pauline is erased when DK grabs here.

- Adjusted bouncer position and collision boundary.

- Tweaked Mario's speeds up/down ladders

- Jump distance was adjusted to be more arcade like.

- Cement container speeds were slowed down a bit to match the arcade as well.

- For the Japanese screen order option I modified the barrel logic so they don't go down a ladder when Mario is on it.

- Clear objects when Mario completes a level or dies.

- 3rd fireball on ramp screen bounces now.

- Updated oil can fire pallet to match fires.

- Updated Kong sprites.

That above "spoiler" list does not cover everything.
Nevertheless, Donkey Kong PK plays marvelously. This is a Donkey Kong fan's dream.

 

 

:-o :-D :-o :D

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Trebor detailed the specifics of the game perfectly - there's no need for me to try to add anything on that score, as nothing I could say would contribute meaningfully to the discussion.

 

I will take a different tack, however. When I was a teenager, I got an Atari 8-bit computer in 1982 (a 400) and a year later sold it to a friend and upgraded to an 800. Once I had an Atari computer, one title I sought out was Landon Dyer's now-classic Donkey Kong version written for the 400/800 machines. If you're not familiar with Landon, his work was incredible for the times, and he's had a long career in tech since then. Here, in his own words, is the story of how he wrote his version of DK:

 

http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=987

 

Anyway, I was impressed immediately by that cartridge (which I may have gotten for my birthday in the summer of 1983 or perhaps for Christmas later that year). I played it, along with a few other A8 favorites like Joust, Defender and Dig Dug, but my attention was split among so many things that I never got very good at it.

 

About the time I started buying Atari hardware again in 2001 or '02, I picked up a 7800 super cheap on an online auction site no one had hardly heard of called "eBay." :) I never had a 7800 as a kid - I had read in the gaming mags since the spring/summer of '84 that it was coming "Real Soon Now!" but then Warner Communications panicked, Atari Inc. was sold off and broken apart, Jack stepped in, etc. I went off to college in the fall of 1986 with a shiny new 1040ST in tow, finished up four years later, and in the meantime the world had somehow been conquered by the NES. I never saw a 7800 in the wild until I won that eBay auction.

 

The first time I plugged in a Joust cartridge I saw immediately it put the A8 version to shame - the physics were more realistic and arcade-accurate, the enemies much more aggressive and smarter, and the buzzard was flying buzzkill! Similarly, Dig Dug on the 7800 makes either of the two A8 versions look like poo. So as I gathered up my growing library of 7800 titles, at some point I took a look at 7800 DK in some online videos and in emulation. To be charitable ... it's not particularly good. So I never bothered to seek out a copy, nor did I ever buy a lot of games that included it. No big loss.

​A couple years back I saw a thread of tep392's about "Donkey Kong XM", planned to take advantage of the XM Module, replete with POKEY sound, HSC support, revised graphics and gameplay, etc. This was finally a version of a classic suited to the power of the 7800 and not hindered by terrible sound. Intrigued, I searched out all the posts and threads related to this title and the later "Donkey Kong PK" version - I saw where tep392 had been keeping a list of interested parties for a future run. I put my name in the hat and finally 18 months or more after that, a new run occurred and I was lucky enough to be able to take advantage. In the two weeks or so since my copy arrived, I have played more Donkey Kong than at probably any time since 1983. I am still by no means GOOD at the game, but with the "Novice" difficulty setting, I've finally managed to see all the levels (something I never managed as a kid on the A8 version or in the arcade!) and even rescued Pauline. I've shown it to other people and their jaws drop. Even better, they want to play it and I can see the joy and delight when they do.

 

And after all, the whole reason we play games is to be happy. On that score - in addition to everything else the others have said about the game - this title knocks it out of the park. To me, it is easily one of the better titles I've played for any 8-bit system and has rapidly become one of my 7800 favorites.

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I just saw your "Lets Compare" video and it reminded me I needed to leave feedback. I missed Crazy Brix and Scramble because of life getting in the way or first things first as Phill would say.

 

I don't have much to add to the excellent breakdown by Trebor, but here is my DK history and 2¢.

 

As a kid I loved DK in the arcade. I wasn't that good at it because I didn't have a lot of quarters to put in it and I lived very far from the local arcade, 15-16 miles according to google maps these days. It seemed farther than that as kid who was still in Jr. High and couldn't drive and there was no public transportation in my little AZ town. When I saw ads in Electronic Games for DK by Coleco for the 2600 I was excited. I remember "earning" the money for it and ordering it via mail order probably from an ad in Electronic Games. Well the day finally came I was so excited to open that box and get home and play. Well I am sure we all know where this is headed. Like many other 2600 Arcade ports Coleco's DK didn't really live up to my 11 year old expectations. But I played it anyway. It was all I had in terms of easy DK accessibility.

 

Two or Three years go by. I am getting ready to graduate from high school. My 2600 had kind of taken a back seat to an Apple ] [e and an Atari 800. (The 800 was my "upgraded gaming machine" since I could never convince my parents to get me a 7800.) The main reason I wanted a 7800 as I have probably stated in previous feedback's was for the "superior" arcade ports.

 

Fast forward to September 2016. Something lit an Atari fire under me again, I can't even remember what it was now,. I got back on Atari Age and started lurking and researching. I decided that I would get that 7800 that I never got as a kid and I would track down those games that I never got to play on a 7800 and the side bonus was that I could play all my childhood 2600 carts that I still had. So I found a used 7800 at a used record store chain here in Phoenix and paid probably too much for it knowing what I know now, but I paid for it with a rebate gift card so I can live with it.

 

I started tracking down 7800 games. Found a few in local shops, but mostly I went the ebay route and think that I did ok with most of them even being CIB. The day finally came when the ebayed Donkey Kong showed up. I was giddy, just like that jr. high school kid was for his 2600. Again I popped it in. WOW my eyes were amazed and my ears were assaulted. What a disappointment. The sound was grating on my ears, I muted the sound but it made the game even less enjoyable.

 

Flash forward again to about 45 days ago. Someone on Facebook, probably the Atari Age group, posted a video of DK PK. I was dying to get my hands on it. I came to the forums and found some threads about it, but couldn't figure our how to acquire it.

 

There was an auction in the AA Forums for a one of a kind CIB DKPK cart with proceeds going to help CPU_WIZ with his medical bills. This was offered by tep392. Well I was out bid on the second day and the auction ended up going for double of my max bid. Foiled again. But in the PM bidding process told me he was getting ready to offer another run of the cart and I asked him to add me to the list.

 

I then made some comments on that FB post and a comment was made that I needed to contact tep392 over here in the forums. I explained that I had already been in contact with tep392. I later figured out that tep392 was the one on FB that told me to contact him on AA. We both had a good laugh when we matched up our AA identities with our FB real life names. I bought 3 POKEY's on ebay for various Pokey projects that are coming up in the community and sent one to tep392 for my cart.

 

I received my DKPK around the same time as you dauber. Unfortunately I have not had a lot of time to play it. But the little time that I have has been extremely enjoyable. The POKEY sound is outstanding and the missing levels makes it complete. I highly recommend getting on the next wait list and add this to your collection as it will NEVER see the light of day in the AA Store due to copyright issues. This is the ONLY DONKEY KONG you need on the 7800.

 

Sorry for the long post dauber that was way more than my 2 cents. More like $20. You can edit as needed. Most of my feed back has turned into my personal history with the arcade version and then acquiring the home brew version.

If you want you can name my segment GT's Storytellers, like VH1 Storytellers. ;-)

 

Thanks for the all the time and hard work you put into this GREAT podcast dauber! I look forward to seeing it pop up in my feed.

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