Back in 1984, after the game’s success first in arcades and then on the Famicom, Nintendo let Hudson make a Donkey Kong 3 spin-off for the NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-6601, and Sharp X1 personal computers. It was…not the same Donkey Kong experience.
For starters, it was a different type of game! Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack, as it was known, played more like Space Invaders, with DK floating through the air holding balloons while the player, shuffling left-to-right on the ground, tried to shoot him down while also blasting at waves of enemies along the way.
Which fine, whatever, but what’s really wild about this game is the background graphics. Rather than taking place in some bright, colourful and abstract version of the Mushroom Kingdom/World, The Great Counterattack seems to be set in a 1980s PC text-based horror game, taking in locations like…a mushroom cloud and a haunted country road.
You can see them as backgrounds in this gameplay video:
But they really shine in these upscaled and wallpaper-sized versions of the stage art, helpfully uploaded by skullmullione:
I’ve never played it, but to be honest the game looks like shit. This art, however, is incredible.
Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack was just one of the games Nintendo licensed for appearance on Japanese computers in the 80s. Versions of Mario Bros., Excitebike and Balloon Fight also appeared, and some of these had interesting changes too, like the fact Mario Bros. couldn’t actually scroll sideways throughout a level:
Golf and Ice Climber were also ported, and like Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack, these versions were all handled by Hudson Soft.
If you think those are compromised ports, though, spare a thought for Capcom’s Ghosts N Goblins, which unlike Mario does scroll sideways. Albeit at a terrible cost:
This article has been retimed since its original publication.