Donkey Kong 3 (1983)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Donkey Kong 3 (1983) is an arcade game that shifts focus from platforming to a shooter-style gameplay, where Stanley must defend his greenhouse from Donkey Kong and various insects. Its unique gameplay and setting distinguish it from other entries in the series, making it a memorable part of retro gaming culture.


Donkey Kong 3 (1983) represents a significant shift in the iconic arcade series, introducing new gameplay dynamics and characters. This article delves into the game’s unique features, its reception, and its legacy in the world of retro gaming.


Donkey Kong 3, released in 1983, is the third installment in the Donkey Kong series. Developed and published by Nintendo, this game marked a significant departure from its predecessors.

Unlike the previous games where Mario was the protagonist, Donkey Kong 3 introduced a new character named Stanley. Stanley is an exterminator tasked with protecting his greenhouse garden from the rampaging Donkey Kong and a swarm of insects.

The game’s setting is a greenhouse where Donkey Kong has begun to stir up insects that threaten to destroy Stanley’s flowers. Stanley’s mission is to save the flowers by spraying bug spray on Donkey Kong and exterminating all of the attacking bees.

The gameplay is quite different from the platformer style of the previous games. In Donkey Kong 3, Donkey Kong hangs from vines at the center of the screen, and Stanley, controlled by the player, runs and jumps on platforms beneath him. Stanley can fire bug spray at both Donkey Kong and the insects flying around the levels.

A level is completed by either forcing Donkey Kong to the top of the screen by continually spraying him or by killing all of the bugs. A Super Sprayer can fall from the vines when Donkey Kong is sprayed past it. The Super Sprayer, which only lasts for a limited amount of time, pushes Donkey Kong upward at a much faster rate, making it easier to complete the level.

The game features a variety of insects, including Buzzbees, queen Beespies, Creepy inchworms, Attacker bees, Kabutomushi beetles, and Butterflies. Some of these 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.

Donkey Kong 3 consists of three levels that 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.

Despite its innovative gameplay and narrative shift, Donkey Kong 3 was only moderately successful in Japan and was a commercial failure in North America, particularly due to the wake of the video game crash of 1983. However, it remains a notable entry in the Donkey Kong series for its unique gameplay mechanics and the introduction of Stanley, the exterminator.


Stanley (the protagonist bugman), Donkey Kong (the antagonist), Various insects (enemies that disturb Stanley’s greenhouse)


The gameplay centers around the player controlling Stanley, who can move left and right and has the ability to spray bug repellent upwards. The objective is to drive Donkey Kong away by continuously spraying him, while also eliminating insects that aim to harm the greenhouse’s flowers.


Donkey Kong 3 stands as a unique entry in the Donkey Kong series, offering a distinct gameplay experience that differentiates it from its predecessors. Despite mixed reviews, its innovative approach and engaging mechanics have earned it a place in the annals of arcade gaming history.

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