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Mario Vs. Donkey Kong

It's the GBA battle of the century as plumber goes up against ape - but who will prevail?

Forget Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman in Zaire, THIS is the real Rumble in the Jungle!

In the blue corner, plucky Italian plumber Mario; in the red, brutish barrel-throwing sour grape-ape Donkey Kong! Over a year since we first played Mario Vs. Donkey Kong at E3 2003, all the signs are suggesting that this Technicolor platform puzzler could be a knockout hit for Nintendo.

Donkey Kong has stolen all the Mini-Mario clockwork toys in Mushroom Kingdom and it's up to the real Mario to get them back by negotiating eight fiendish timed levels set in six familiar worlds such as a haunted mansion packed with Boo ghosts and Fire Mountain, hot with flowing lava and molten rocks.


Platform Shoes
Using Mario's trademark special moves, as well as spring jumps, elevators, conveyor belts, wires and coloured switches that reveal different red, yellow and blue platforms, you must first collect a key and open a door to a second room that houses the trapped toys. If you manage to break each of them free from their crystal balls you'll reach two ingenious bonus levels where you then have to carefully guide all six of the miniature Marios to the safety of the toy box, before a final showdown with the banana-scoffing pukka primate himself.

With awesome animation (think Rare's Donkey Kong Country, but ten times better), fantastic speech and comedy sound effects, funky music and that addictive must-have-one-more-go magic dust sprinkled on by Miyamoto himself, this could be one of the best Mario games ever. We'll find out with a full gloves-off fight report in CVG very soon...

The verdict

Teeth-gnashingly addictive, even gamers that hate Mario's cutesy graphics will be glued to their GBAs after a few hours play. Stunning.

Game Boy Advance
Platformer, Puzzle