- Awesome Music: Showdown At The Tower, the "final" boss theme.
- Even Better Sequel: Some people prefer this to the original arcade game, given how it expands upon the core game in virtually every aspect.
- Fridge Brilliance: Nintendo nowadays says that Mario developed his abilities while chasing DK to save Pauline. Considering that this game actually birthed many mechanics the series would come to tout in later installments (such as the backflip and triple jump), it all comes together nicely.
- Fridge Horror: Pauline. Getting kidnapped by a giant thuggish ape is bad enough, but being carried away by said ape over the span of a game that lasts more than a hundred stages? Not even Peach has been hauled around this much, or at least never in a single game. She's probably an emotional trainwreck by the time that Mario finally rescues her. It's no wonder that she's been absent for so long from the overall series; It probably took years of therapy for her to recover from the events of this game. Even then, she still hasn't caught a break from being caught in the middle of the disputes of Mario and Donkey Kong (albeit a different one), though she at least managed to be friends with DK this time. She seems to have come out alright down the line though, as she eventually makes a return in Super Mario Odyssey as the mayor of New Donk City — a town that grew from the events of this game (as evidenced by the throwback level being acknowledged as the city's origins) and even getting locations named after the big ape's friends and enemies.
- Good Bad Bugs: The fact that closing gates are stopped by any tiles Mario can interact with (including temporary ladders) results in an Easy Level Trick for at least one stage. Stage 2-3, to be exact.
- Goddamned Bats: In the most literal sense, they can't even kill you by themselves but they are very annoying.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- The time up theme.
- The music for the Iceberg map. Fittingly for the point where the game begins to get seriously hard, it's pretty much This Is Gonna Suck in music form.
- The sequence that plays before the title screen is rather chilling— a hole has been broken into a brick wall and eyes peering out from the darkness of the hole with ominous music to match.
- How about the final level? You beat stage 9-8, Donkey Kong falls to his doom, and everything now seems okay. Wait, what's this? Stage 9-9? Did the giant DK head just smile?!
- Scrappy Mechanic: While the combat-roll Mario does at the end of falls of a certain length certainly helps with Mario's surviving skills compared to the original arcade game, at the same time the animation and momentum of the roll are uninterruptible, so Mario can very well roll straight into an enemy or hazard (or down a hole into a lower portion of a level and simply waste time instead) if you aren't careful.
YMMV / Donkey Kong '94