Back in 2007 I wrote a Donkey Kong emulator for the Tandy Color Computer 3. It wasn't *exactly* an emulator because it did not emulate the CPUs of the arcade hardware. The CPU in the CoCo 3 is a 1.79Mhz 6809. The CPU in DK arcade hardware is a 3.0Mhz Z80. I rewrote the Z80 code into 6809 code. The 6809, *is* emulating the other arcade hardware... The game program essentially doesn't know it's not running on the original arcade hardware - it still reads & writes from the same I/O ports, graphics, and sound hardware. The emulation stuff is to make sure all the correct stuff happens when imaginary hardware is accessed.
When I did it, I wasn't even sure it would be possible because this was a pretty tall order for one 1.79Mhz 8-bit CPU to pull off. In the end, it was possible and things worked out. But there were imperfections - some corners had to be cut to make things possible. I decided to revisit the old project and try to improve upon it. Perfection is still impossible, because it still is just one 1.79Mhz CPU trying to pull off the job of several processors & dedicated arcade hardware... But I could spend the time improving it to some degree.
The frame rate is now smoother. The sound quality is a bit cleaner. I fixed a couple of small bugs & issues that bothered me. And... I thought, wouldn't it be cool to also add a few new things to the game itself?
So, here we are. This is a *Remixed* version of Donkey Kong. I mixed up the elements of the game, using the familiar in new and unexpected ways. I put a new twist on some elements, mixed and matched others. There's a barrel stage where you have to run down the girders instead of up. There are more physics - On one stage a spring bounces barrels right back up to one of the top floors. On the new Rivets stages, the floors now actually collapse when the rivets on both sides are pulled - during gameplay! Falling floors can even crush firefoxes/fireballs underneath. One of the rivets stages has elevators as well, and there is a switch to reverse the elevators to be able to get to the top. You can even take a hammer with you onto elevators and change floors, etc... Cool stuff!
It's pretty challenging to play. I didn't set out to make the game evil (much, anyway) but it is challenging because the scenarios are more complex with more elements mixed together and more things to process/anticipate simultaneously while playing. It's also challenging because the new levels force you to break the muscle memory of DK's familiar gameplay patterns & habits.
It's a longer, more challenging game so I added dip-switch options to allow for more lives than before (if you choose). The default level order (REMIX A) mixes up old and new stages, but I also put in an option to play the new stages earlier (REMIX B) and the new levels would be easier because they appear sooner in the difficulty progression. There is also an option to play just the original (CLASSIC) levels -- sort of. To extend the gameplay even more, I added a few variations to several stages at higher levels - A ladder or two may change position, a platform may appear or disappear and these changes also affect classic mode.
A 512K Color Computer 3 with a joystick is required to play. It may or may not play ok in an emulator, depending on the emulator. The sound doesn't work so well in the current version of MESS. Make sure to set the emulator to use the RGB color set - it's nicer. For those who do not have an RGB monitor on their CoCo 3, I chose to use the *alternate* composite color set for composite mode - because it has slightly more accurate-to-the-arcade colors, but I don't think any existing CoCo 3 emulator emulates that color set yet.
Once the game starts up, press the fire button on the right joystick to insert a coin, and press it again to start.
On a final note, those who are familiar with the original game have a bunch of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to playing. There are ways to control the barrels and ways to herd the fireballs/firefoxes to some extent. There are patterns and strategies to play the different stages, tricks to rack up points, exploits to take advantage of. This remixed game includes new situations that simply did not exist in the original game. This means that there are new tricks to be found, new rules behind the actions taken by game and a few changes to the way the characters interact with their environment. I'm not going to spill the beans, but it would be *REALLY* nice to see players discover new tricks and strategies - especially if they're ones I did not even anticipate. Post up videos! I want to see!
UPDATE July 23, 2015:
UPDATE Aug 7, 2015:
UPDATE Aug 16, 2015:
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