Bowser vs. Donkey Kong

Bowser vs. Donkey Kong

Nintendo's heavyweights compete

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Versus on

Bowser and Donkey Kong are a couple of the most iconic game characters so let's explore their good and bad sides and see who's the ultimate Nintendo heavyweight champion of the world.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate screenshot
These 2 brutes look ready to battle!

As bad guys

Bowser and Donkey Kong both started as villains with the former debuting in 1985's Super Mario Bros. and the latter being the titular star of the classic 1981 arcade game. Since then, they've been the baddies in many games so let's discuss their villainous highlights.

I'll start with Bowser and his princess-capturing antics. In his first game, he invades the Mushroom Kingdom and curses its inhabitants then kidnaps Princess Toadstool; the only one who can undo the curse. Now, that's some dastardly stuff! In Super Mario Bros. 3, he carries out a similar plan with his army of Koopalings so Mario and Luigi must rescue the princess yet again. After that, he kidnaps the princess when she's on vacation in Super Mario World and steals Mushroom Castle's Power Stars in Super Mario 64. Bowser even convinces his son that Peach is his mom in Super Mario Sunshine then Bowser Jr. frames Mario for defacing Isle Delfino. Finally, he attempts to become the centre of the universe in Super Mario Galaxy and in Super Mario Odyssey, he tries to force Princess Peach to marry him.

How could Donkey Kong compete with these evil deeds? In his debut game, he kidnaps Mario's girlfriend Pauline because he was fed up with being Mario's pet. Well, that's understandable! He's not a villain at all in Donkey Kong Jr. as his son tries to free him after he was captured by Mario then in Donkey Kong 3, he terrorizes a greenhouse for some reason and is fended off by Stanley. Over a decade later, Donkey Kong returned in a fantastic Game Boy game where he was more devious than ever with a bunch of new hazards at his disposal. After that, Mario and Donkey Kong generally got along except for the lighthearted Mario vs. Donkey Kong series of puzzlers. After all is said and done, it's pretty clear that Bowser is a much better antagonist than the often misunderstood Donkey Kong.

Mario Tennis Aces screenshot
Donkey Kong is apparently no match for Bowser on the tennis court

As good guys

Believe it or not, Bowser is sometimes a good guy; well, in certain circumstances. He first partners with Mario in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars as they share a goal of fighting the Smithy Gang after a sword named Exor crashes into Bowser's castle. Years later in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Bowser teams up with the brothers to battle Cackletta and in Super Paper Mario, he joins Mario and friends yet again to face a greater evil in the form of Count Bleck who aims to end all existence. Finally, in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser inhales Mario and gang and you control him using the top screen of the DS. It's very clever stuff indeed.

After Donkey Kong's arcade antics, he was pretty much a good guy. In Donkey Kong Country, the original Donkey Kong is actually Cranky Kong while the Donkey Kong in that series is Cranky's descendant. It all gets very confusing but for simplicity's sake, he's still just Donkey Kong, right? Anyway, in that series, he retrieves a stolen banana stash from King K. Rool and in the following games, he gets rescued by his nephew Diddy Kong and Diddy's girlfriend Dixie Kong as well as Dixie's cousin Kiddy Kong. Is Donkey Kong really that helpless? Not really because in Donkey Kong 64, he rescues 4 of his friends and in Donkey Kong Country Returns, he reclaims yet another banana stash but this time from the Tiki Tak Tribe. Finally, in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, DK must battle Lord Fredrik to turn his tropical island back from its newly frozen state. Phew, that's a lot of heroic feats! I wonder what good old Donkey Kong is up to now...

It really goes without saying but as good guys go, Donkey Kong takes the golden banana as his grand adventures are full of enjoyable scenarios and battles with dastardly villains. Even when he's good, Bowser can't quite live up to the legendary DK.

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games screenshot
Let's just call the whole thing off and go curling!

In this epic battle of 2 Nintendo icons, who's the reigning heavyweight champion? Well, it's finally time to decide...

Winner Donkey Kong

Bowser makes for one awesome villain whether he's a total nogoodnik or up to some sort of goofy chicanery. Meanwhile, Donkey Kong made for a rather formidable opponent for Mario yet grew into a hero in his very own series. Will Bowser ever get to star in his own game? I guess time will tell. For now, Donkey Kong does both villainy and virtuousness well so he wins this match-up.

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

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