Donkey Kong 3

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Donkey Kong 3
European arcade flyer.
Developer(s)Nintendo R&D1
Intelligent Systems
Nintendo R&D2 (Famicom/NES)
Director(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Producer(s)Gunpei Yokoi
Designer(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Composer(s)Hirokazu Tanaka
SeriesDonkey Kong
Platform(s)Arcade, Famicom/NES, Game & Watch
September 28, 1983
  • Arcade
  • Famicom/NES
    • JP: July 4, 1984
    • NA: June 1986
    • EU: September 15, 1987
  • Game & Watch
    • JP/NA: August 20, 1984
  • e-Reader
    • NA: September 16, 2002
Mode(s)1-2 players alternating turns

Donkey Kong 3[a] is a shooter video game developed and published by Nintendo. It is the third installment in the Donkey Kong series and it was released for arcades worldwide in 1983, the Family Computer in 1984, then in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. The gameplay departs from previous Donkey Kong games, and it stars an exterminator named Stanley instead of Mario.[4]

It was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in North America on July 14, 2008, and in Europe on January 9, 2009. It was re-released on Nintendo Switch through Nintendo Switch Online.


Arcade screenshot

Donkey Kong hangs from vines at the center of the screen, and the player-controlled Stanley the exterminator runs and jumps on platforms beneath him. Stanley can fire bug spray at both Donkey Kong and insects flying around the levels. A level is completed by continually using his sprayer on Donkey Kong, forcing him to the top of the screen, or by killing all of the bugs. A Super Sprayer can on the vines falls down when Donkey Kong is sprayed past it. The Super Sprayer only lasts for a limited amount of time, but it pushes Donkey Kong upward at a much faster rate, making it easier to complete the level. It only spawns at the start of each life.

The insects consist of Buzzbees, queen Beespies (which shatter into deadly pieces when destroyed), Creepy inchworms, Attacker bees, Kabutomushi beetles, and Butterflies. Some of the flying insects attempt to pick up the flowers at the bottom of the screen and carry them away. Lost flowers decrease the bonus at the end of the round.

There are three levels which repeat in a fixed sequence. An extra life is given at 50,000 points, and then the game goes to "survival of the fittest" mode thereafter.


Donkey Kong has begun rampaging in Stanley's greenhouse garden and it's up to him to stop the ape from stirring up any more insects that will soon destroy his flowers. Stanley saves the flowers by spraying bug spray on Donkey Kong and exterminating all of the attacking bees.


The game was moderately successful in Japan, where Game Machine listed Donkey Kong 3 on their December 1, 1983, issue as being the fourth most-successful new table arcade unit of the month.[5] Despite this, it was a commercial failure in North America, particularly due to the wake of the video game crash of 1983.

Reviews for the arcade game were generally positive. Gene Lewin of Play Meter magazine rated it 8 out of 10.[6] Computer and Video Games said that the game's "fast action and superior sound effects" made Donkey Kong 3 a "sure hit" in arcades.[7]

Retrospectively, reception has been divisive, with criticism aimed at its departure of its predecessors and the lack of Mario. IGN gave the Virtual Console version a 6.0 out of 10, describing it as a "radical departure" from the previous Donkey Kong games, calling it "repetitive".[8]

In 2015, Nathan Birch of Uproxx ranked Donkey Kong 3 twentieth on a list of the thirty NES black box titles. Birch called the game "fun enough" but criticized the gameplay as "simple, not-terribly-challenging arcade action", which he felt deviated too far from the gameplay of the game's predecessors. Because of its change to the genre, he thought that the game "killed" the series until its comeback with Donkey Kong Country.[9]


Game & Watch Donkey Kong 3

A VS. series Game & Watch version of the arcade game has different gameplay. In this version, player one controls Stanley the Bugman and computer player (or player two) controls Donkey Kong in a duel against each other using exterminating spray cans to move the bees to the other side of them to make the bees sting their opponents. Players can only hold up to three amounts of spraying liquid in their spray cans. On one player mode, the higher player one as Stanley scores, the faster the spraying liquid on the side of computer player as Donkey Kong drops. A version of this game was included in Game & Watch Gallery 4 for the Game Boy Advance, but featuring Mario in place of Stanley and a Boo and a Fireball in place of the bees.

The NES version of Donkey Kong 3 was released on the Wii Virtual Console, 3DS Virtual Console and Wii U Virtual Console,[10] whilst the arcade version was released on the Nintendo Switch eShop as part of Hamster's Arcade Archives series.

The current world record is held by George Riley (USA) at 3,538,000 points (2011).[11][12]


In 1984, Hudson Soft developed a semi-sequel for the Japanese-only NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-6601, and Sharp X1 personal computers titled Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack.[b][13] A version for the FM-7 was also planned, but was never released.[14] This game is significantly different from the original. While the object to shoot Donkey Kong up in the air remains, it has 20 outdoor backgrounds such as a bridge, Planet Saturn, a desert, a pyramid, and a highway. Stanley can only move from left to right and is no longer able to jump.

For decades, Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack was inaccessible outside of Japan. In December 2017, a copy of the Sharp X1 version was bought at a Yahoo! Auctions online auction.[13] Two months later, it was made available via emulation.[13] The PC-8801 version was subsequently uncovered in January 2019.[15]


  1. ^ Japanese: ドンキーコング3, Hepburn: Donkī Kongu Surī
  2. ^ Japanese: ドンキーコング3 大逆襲, Hepburn: Donkī Kongu Surī Dai Gyakushū


  1. ^ Akagi, Masumi (October 13, 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971–2005) [Arcade TV Game List: Domestic • Overseas Edition (1971–2005)] (in Japanese). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 128. ISBN 978-4990251215.
  2. ^ "Video Game Flyers: Donkey Kong 3, Nintendo (EU)". The Arcade Flyer Archive. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "Donkey Kong 3". Arcade History.
  4. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型新製品 (New Videos-Table Type)". Game shut the :アミューズメント通信社|Amusement Press, Inc. (in Japanese). December 1, 1983. p. 32.
  5. ^ Lewin, Gene (January 15, 1984). "Gene's Judgements: Critiquing AMOA Show Conversions, Dedicated Games". Play Meter. Vol. 10, no. 2. pp. 60–2.
  6. ^ "Donkey Kong Swings Back". Computer and Video Games. February 1984. p. 50.
  7. ^ "Donkey Kong 3 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  8. ^ Birch, Nathan (October 18, 2015). "Ranking All 30 'Black Box' Nintendo Games In Honor Of The NES' 30th Birthday". UPROXX. Retrieved October 21, 2023.
  9. ^ "Nintendo - Official Site - Video Game Consoles, Games".
  10. ^ Deaves. Gaz, Gaming Editor. Gamers Edition, Guinness World Record 2012
  11. ^ Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer's Edition. Guinness World Records. January 3, 2012. ISBN 9781904994763.
  12. ^ a b c "You Can Finally Play A Long-Lost Donkey Kong Game". Kotaku. February 25, 2018.
  13. ^ "Oh!FM-7:ドンキーコング3 大逆襲(ハドソンソフト)". (in Japanese).
  14. ^ "Donkey Kong 3: Dai Gyakushuu (PC-8801)".

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