Remake of the 1982 classic featuring 101 levels. This was one of the first Game Boy games to to take advantage of the Super Game boy and Game Boy Color machines. You play as Mario trying to save Pauline from Donkey Kong, no surprise there. What is different is the multitude of skills Mario has, including the ability to triple jump (ala Mario 64, but this came out first,) reverse back flip, swing on wires, throw the hammer (so you can jump or climb up to another level and catch it again,) and catch barrels with your feet and throw them back at Donkey Kong. Also unlike the classic game you don't eat it for merely falling down a level. Overall the game plays more like a mix of old school DK with Super Mario Brothers.
The game starts with the first four levels from the classic arcade game (girders, elevators, pies, rivets.) After that the levels become a little more puzzle orientated, where you have to figure out how to get a key to get to the locked exit. Along the way are the usual puzzles and traps, including the barrels, fireballs, and trap-jaws from the Donkey Kong universe. Also Donkey Kong Jr. makes and appearance now and then as an antagonist (a couple of the levels are homages to DK Jr's jungle and spark stages.) There aren't powerups in the usual sense in the game excluding the hammer which makes you invincible for a limited amount of time. Mushrooms in this game make you shrink instead of grow for some reason. In addition to the keys are the old school DK bonus items (hat, purse, and umbrella) which if you collect them all you get a bonus round to win extra lives, which is either a slot machine or roulette wheel (chosen at random.)
Every fourth level you face off against Donkey Kong in a boss battle, which usually involves catching a barrel with your feet and throwing it back at him. These boss battles aren't too hard for anyone with decent motor skills, although the last final battle in which DK grows to gigantic size (in a parody of King Kong) will have you spending a few continues. This final battle is pretty cool, with you dodging giant gorilla fists to background music that sounds vaugely like Devo's MR. DNA. After these there is a little cut scene that displays whatever skill you're going to have to use in the upcoming levels. The mini-cinemas are very well done and actually show Mario chasing Donkey Kong into the various environments in the game (for instance, the cut scene will show them running over a bridge from the city to the forest levels.)
A very well done game that has been overshadowed by other higher profile Mario games. Small touches add a lot, such as the Super Game Boy arcade art. A game all Mario fans will enjoy.