If you're old enough to remember seeing Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, and Mario Bros in the arcades, then congratulations: You got to witness a key moment in Nintendo's history, not to mention a key moment in arcade history. You may recall the NES adaptations of these games a little more clearly, however. If that's the case, turning on the NES Classic Edition should provide you with a real nostalgia boost.
These early arcade hits from Nintendo don't contain much in the way of outright cheats, but here are some hints and tips that should help you stay alive while facing down 400 lb gorillas, sentient leg-traps, and all manner of nasty things that live in pipes. Have fun, and make sure to look at all the other tips, cheats, and hints we offer for the games on the NES Classic Edition.
Donkey Kong Cheats and Hints
Don't dawdle at the start -- The first thing DK does when you start up a new game is throw a barrel down to the ground level, which becomes coated in oil and turns into a fireball. Fireballs are semi-sentient and will chase down Jumpman – albeit slowly – and can climb ladders, even broken ones. Fireballs' movements are erratic, so don't stick around to make the first one's acquaintance.
Grab the hammers -- Take the time to grab every hammer you see. Bashing up enemies rewards you with huge point bonuses.
Watch out for broken ladders -- You can't climb ladders that are missing rungs, but barrels can roll down them, and fireballs can climb up them. Don't hang around in the vicinity of one for too long.
Jump over double-barrels for extra points -- If two barrels come careening at you side-by-side, you may be tempted to scramble up a ladder and up to safety. If you jump both barrels, though – and it's totally possible – you'll be awarded with extra points.
Stage two shortcut -- You can skip a portion of this elevator stage if you stick to the high ground. Climb to the top of the set of platforms that are supported by two tall ladders. From there, jump on the elevator platforms going down, then quickly jump to the set of platforms supported by one tall ladder. Make sure to grab Pauline's purse for extra points before you finish the level.
Jack timing -- When you're on the top platform and closest to Pauline, watch the timing of the bouncing jacks very carefully. They bounce once at the set of ladders nearest to DK, then bounce again at the ladder you need to climb to finish the level. Advance in a way that lets the jacks bounce over you.
Disassemble stage three -- Run over all the yellow blocks to unscrew the girders and make DK fall to his doom. Use the hammer to clear away any fireballs that get in your path.
Donkey Kong Jr Cheats and Hints
Grab two vines for quick climbing -- DK Jr climbs slowly if he's holding onto one vine, but speeds up significantly if he's holding onto two. Use this to your advantage, but keep in mind that there are times when you'll want to slow down.
Don't fall -- Like Jumpman before him, DK Jr can't withstand a fall from a significant height. Move carefully when making jumps and letting go of vines.
Don't waste fruit -- Dropping fruit on birds and snapjaws is DK Jr's only way of defeating them. Fruit falls automatically when you touch it, and if there's nothing below, you waste the opportunity to score points.
Unlock DK's cage in stage four -- To beat stage four, you need to push the key icons up the chains and into the keyholes at the top girder. This is where that double-vine climbing technique comes in handy, as it lets you push two keys at once!
Mario Bros Cheats and Hints
Use your POW block wisely -- When you hit the POW block, all on-screen enemies that are touching the floor will flip over, which makes them ripe for easy kicking. The first three levels are easy enough that you shouldn't have to resort to using the block. When you do use the block, however, save it for a time when the screen is filled with enemies. That way, rack up a nice combo bonus when you kick your helpless foes into oblivion. Also: When using the block, make sure any Fighter Flies on screen are touching the ground when you hit it! Otherwise they won't be affected by the shockwave.
You can kill fireballs -- Fireballs are the bane of all Mario Bros players. They tend to show up when you dawdle, though sometimes they're happy to appear early in a stage. You can beat them with a POW block, or by hitting the underside of any platform they touch (in other words, you can defeat them like any other enemy, though their erratic movements admittedly make the job a bit tough).
We can also help you out with warp pipe locations and other tips for Super Mario Bros 1, 2, and 3, as well as the location of heart containers, magic containers, and rupees in The Legend of Zelda I and II.