Mario vs. Donkey Kong is the first game in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. It was released in 2004, and is under the genre of Platformer and Puzzler. It might be considered to some as a sequel in the original Donkey Kong Arcade games, and will also be considered its own series. The player will take control of Mario who has to get his Mini Marios back which Donkey Kong stole.
Donkey Kong is surfing his TV until he stumbles upon a Mini Mario commercial. Donkey Kong is immediately smitten with them, and dashes to a toy store. Unfortunately for DK, the Mini Marios are sold out, so instead of waiting for the next shipment, he raids the nearby Mario Toy Company. DK stuffs the Mini Marios into his bag and proceeds to leave, but Mario finds DK red-handed. So DK decides to flee, and Mario pursues. At one point, Mario and DK stop and when DK checks his bag, he realizes he lost all of the Mini Marios. Mario laughs at Donkey Kong, followed by the missing Mini Marios, and 3 Toads. DK, enraged by all the laughing, kidnaps the Toads and climbs up a building, followed by Mario from a lift. Mario manages to defeat Donkey Kong by throwing giant barrels at him. As DK falls, a slow-moving Mini Mario shipment truck drives by, which DK lands on. The impact causes Mini Marios to fall out and break out of their crystal balls. As Mario rides the lift down to check if DK is okay, DK kidnaps the Mini Marios and runs, starting the chase all over again. The duo eventually stop again, and when DK empties his bag, Mario laughs again, until the Mini Marios eventually drop out. DK grabs them in his arms, and the two run off again. During the final boss battle, DK grabs the Mini Marios by piloting a giant robot shaped like himself. Mario manages to defeat the DK Robot by throwing barrels at it, freeing the Mini Marios in the process. In the last cutscene, Mario scolds a crying DK, but he eventually takes pity on DK by giving him a free Mini Mario, which likes DK.
In the game, you play as Mario, and you can run using the Directional Pad, Jump using A, or pick up the object you're standing on with the B button. Most levels have two parts, with a total of three presents in each, and one Mini-Mario inside a glass ball. The first part of each stage requires you to grab a key and bring it to a door located somewhere in the level, while the second simply requires you to reach and pick up the Mini-Mario. Levels also can have enemies, such as Shy Guys, as well as Hammers as items and special colored buttons that toggle the colored platforms. At the end of each world, you battle with Donkey Kong, with the battle usually revolving around the new feature of the current world, such as colored switches or vines.
The game was originally going to have a level editor, but this feature was unfortunately scrapped during development. Some remnants of it can be seen through hacking or cheats, but it isn't fully finished.
This game taken some inspiration from the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong, which had similar gameplay to this game but a plot that was more similar to the original arcade version.
The Japanese version of the game has a number of additional levels, which were only accessible with the e-Reader. Because the cards weren't released in the U.S., the menu goes unused, but it is present and accessible with hacking.