Have you ever wished someone would take the formula for Snow Brothers (which was in itself the formula for Bubble Bobble), swap out Nick and Tom for two gnomes, and strip the tight game play and fun factor? If so, then this review is for you, as Don Doko Don does exactly that!
The story, from what I could gather, is as such: A fairy princess, or a close facsimile thereof, has been kidnapped by some sort of flying creatures, and it's up to our gnome friends to save her. I guess. Okay, storyline aside, this is a blatant Snow Brothers clone. That being said, Snow Brothers was a fun enough game; this couldn't be that bad, could it? I'm afraid it is, for the tight controls and forgiving collision detection are non-existent, and you are constantly taking cheap hits from the much quicker enemies.
Rather than throwing snow at your attackers, this version has you beating the enemies to death with hammers and tossing them across the screen into walls. That in itself is a problem, as the enemies will suddenly regain consciousness when you are about to pick them up, and you die. Every time! Following the aforementioned formula, you collect several colored potions which give you various power ups. You have an increased speed power up, a higher jumping power up, and a special hammer power up that gives you the ability to hurl your hammer across the screen. Of course, the enemy comes to before you can get to him, and you die. Every time. It was a fun idea, but pretty much useless.
The level design is interesting. The stages are basically woodlands inspired. Some stages even have trees that will suck you up and spit you out at a point on the other side of the screen. The trees will also suck up the unconscious enemies, thus giving them time to regain consciousness, and you die. Every time.
I just cannot recommend this game. If you're a fan of old-school gaming you must have an NES or a Genesis lying around. Play Snow Brothers or Bubble Bobble and leave this one wherever you found it. If you should so much as touch the cartridge, you will die. Every time.