Not a Donkey Kong Clone, Honest
The BBC Micro was touted as an educational tool, if you believe Fred Harris, and most of us growing up in the 80’s will have used one at school, either doing some rudimentary programming, or playing with maths tools such as “Turtle”.
It also happened to have a great specification for replicating arcade games due to the colourful high resolution screen and multi-channel sound. Various publishers in the early days of the BBC chose to go down this route, with faithful renditions of Mr Do! (Mr Ee), Frogger (Hopper), Space Panic (Space Monsters) and Donkey Kong which, you guessed it, was renamed Killer Gorilla.
For some reason, in the Program Power version, they felt the need to replace Mario with a stick man, quite how they felt this would fool Nintendo I don’t know, as in every other way this game was a carbon copy of the arcade game. The levels were recreated perfectly, and even had the “How high can you try?” message between stages.
I won’t dwell too long on the gameplay as we all know Donkey Kong, but this game had it all, as your not-Mario jumped and hammered his way across various levels to rescue his girlfriend. The gameplay was true to the arcade original, including the need to time your jumps to perfection to avoid the many different obstacles put between you and the big monkey. The sound was also pretty spot on, as well as the inter-stage screens showing your progress up the skyscraper.
I spent a lot of time on this as a teenager when I was supposedly “doing homework” on my BBC… at the time it was streets ahead of the competition in terms of its ability to replicate arcade games, and I was very jealous of my friend who had one if these when all I could manage was a Sinclair ZX81.