Mario/Donkey Kong appearances
Donkey Kong series
In Donkey Kong, which is his overall debut appearance, Mario is a carpenter who needs to rescue his girlfriend, Lady (later renamed Pauline), from Donkey Kong at a construction site. Mario can jump over obstacles such as the barrels Donkey Kong throws, or Mario can use hammers to destroy the barrels and defeat other enemies. After defeating Donkey Kong in the final level, Mario is reunited with Lady.
In the Game & Watch version of Donkey Kong, the objective is the same as in the arcade version, but Mario must trigger a lever, which causes a hook to appear. If Mario grabs the hook, a peg is removed and he is transported to the starting point. If Mario misses, he falls and loses a life. If Mario removes all the pegs, he defeats Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong Jr.
In Donkey Kong Jr., Mario appears as the antagonist, having captured Donkey Kong and holding him in a cage, with the protagonist of the game being Donkey Kong's son, Donkey Kong Jr. As Donkey Kong Jr. moves through the levels, Mario sends out enemies like Snapjaws and other obstacles to stop him. After Donkey Kong Jr. rescues Donkey Kong in the final level, Mario falls and is defeated. In the arcade version, Mario regains consciousness and attempts to pursue the pair, only to be sent running away by a kick by the elder Donkey Kong.
During the intro to the arcade version of the game, there are two Marios that are seen carrying Donkey Kong away.
Donkey Kong II
Donkey Kong Circus
Mario appears as the antagonist in Donkey Kong Circus. Mario is an audience member who laughs at Donkey Kong whenever he drops a pineapple or grabs a fireball by mistake. The Circus seems to be at the construction site where the first game begins, based on the girder-like platform Mario stands on.
Donkey Kong Hockey
Donkey Kong (Game Boy)
Mario makes a later appearance in the Donkey Kong series with a new appearance in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy. Along with the original four Donkey Kong levels, Mario has to travel through an additional nine worlds to rescue Pauline. Mario can also perform additional acrobatic maneuvers that can assist him in navigating through levels.
Mario can perform a handstand move, which protects him from any objects falling on him from above. From the handstand position, Mario can also perform the Handstand Jump. The game also features the backflip as well as wires on which Mario can wire-spin and jump to catapult himself high in the air. Another essential part of Mario's moveset, taken from Super Mario Bros. 2, is his ability to pick up enemies and objects and lift them over his head to throw them. This is also one of the few Mario games in which Mario takes damage and can lose a life from a high fall.
In most stages, Mario has to find the key and take it to the locked door in order to proceed to the next level. As long as Mario holds the key, he has an additional hit point, although he loses the key when he takes damage. He uses hammers as seen in the original Donkey Kong and constructs temporary ladders and roads in order to pass through the levels. Other levels are boss fights against Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong. In the final level, Mario must navigate through the level while chasing Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. to the top of the tower, where he eventually traps Donkey Kong Jr. in a cage, defeats a giant Donkey Kong, and rescues Pauline. In the game's credits, however, Mario seems to have reconciled with Donkey Kong since they are shown together with Donkey Kong Jr. and Pauline in a photo in Rocky-Valley.
The ending of the game shows Mario holding Donkey Kong above his head (with Donkey Kong yelling, "HELP!") as Donkey Kong Jr. is standing to the left of him. To the right is what appears to be the start of World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. This foreshadows the events of both Donkey Kong Jr. and Super Mario Bros.
Many of Mario's moves and objectives are carried over to the semi-sequel, Mario vs. Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong (activity books)
In a series of activity books from 1982–1983, little Mario the carpenter appears as a hapless, balding, middle-aged employee at Video Land Amusement Park. He is in love with the much younger Pauline but is unable to express it. He sets off to rescue her after Donkey Kong breaks free from his cage and kidnaps her.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Mario makes a cameo appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest. He appears at the end of the game as one of Cranky's Video Game Heroes, along with Diddy Kong, Link, and Yoshi. With 39 DK Coins in the original and 67 in the Game Boy Advance version, Mario is ranked first place by default, and is missing only one DK Coin. If Diddy manages to acquire 40 DK Coins (68 in the Game Boy Advance version), Mario is moved down to second place.
Donkey Kong Land 2
In Donkey Kong Land 2, Mario returns one of the Video Game Heroes, retaining his default rank of first place and having 39 DK Coins. If Diddy manages to get 40 DK Coins, Mario is moved to second place.
Donkey Kong 64
In Donkey Kong 64, specifically in a port of the original Donkey Kong game, playable via an arcade set up in Frantic Factory, Mario re-enacts his initial role. Mario has to go through the same construction site as in the original game, while the old Donkey Kong creates mischief down Mario's path. However, a slight modification has been brought to this port, which is related to the game's objective. In the first run, Mario has to rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong; however, after she is rescued and the player restarts, Mario can instead collect a special Nintendo Coin at the end.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
The Mario vs. Donkey Kong series revisits the old Donkey Kong series, pitting Mario against a misbehaving Donkey Kong. The original Mario vs. Donkey Kong game, released in 2004, gave Mario the same moveset as 1994's Donkey Kong for the Game Boy and introduced the windup toys known as Mini Marios. The Mini Marios replaced Mario as the playable character in the later subsequent games, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, and Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, although Mario is still present in the storylines, as is Pauline.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Mario's objective is to recover the stolen Mini-Marios from Donkey Kong. Mario can make use of the same moves as in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy, being able to perform handstands and Wire Jumps. This is one of the few games where Mario speaks in full sentences.
In the first area of the main levels, as well as in the Expert Levels, Mario needs to carry a key to a locked door in order to progress, solving puzzles along the way. In the second area of the main levels, Mario needs to rescue a captured Mini-Mario while dodging enemies and obstacles. Once Mario completes six levels in a world, he has to lead the six Mini-Marios into a toy box and then fight Donkey Kong. In the Plus Levels, Mario has to lead a single Mini-Mario with a key attached to it to the locked door.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis starts with Mario and Pauline cutting the premier ribbon of the Super Mini Mario World theme park. After Pauline takes a Mini Mario toy from Mario, Donkey Kong kidnaps her. Mario chases after Donkey Kong to rescue Pauline, but his path is blocked. Instead of Mario, the playable characters in this game and all following installments of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series are the Mini Marios. They clear the way for Mario to get to Pauline. Mario and Pauline feel sorry for Donkey Kong, and the three celebrate the opening of the theme park.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! begins once again with Mario and Pauline opening an expansion to Super Mini Mario World, with numerous Toads and Donkey Kong waiting to get in. However, as Donkey Kong reaches the ticket counter, he sees that tickets are sold out and, out of rage, kidnaps Pauline. Mario tries to save her, only to end up ripping off part of her dress, allowing DK to escape. Two Mini Marios then approach him, and Mario decides to use them to help save Pauline.
Eventually, Mario reaches the top of the building, where he finds Pauline in a room with one window. As they are about to hug, Donkey Kong flips the light switch off, grabs Pauline, and leaps out the window, with Mario and the minis following him.
After much more toil, Mario once again enters the room, where he finds DK, Pauline, two Toads (one blue and one green), and two Mini Marios. As Mario is confused, Pauline reveals that the entire adventure was to test the Mini Mario product, and the group decides to celebrate.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, Mario and Pauline are once again opening a theme park, but this time, he is giving away Mini Pauline toys to the first 100 guests. Donkey Kong, wanting a Mini Pauline, charges through the line to get to the front but finds out that he is visitor 101. When he learns from Mario that the toys are out of stock, he goes into yet another fit of rage, capturing Pauline. Mario once again must rely on his minis to help get Pauline back.
After much journeying, Mario defeats DK and tries to hug Pauline, but Donkey Kong captures her again, leaving Mario to chase after him again.
Mario once again defeats Donkey Kong after many more challenges. As Donkey Kong is about to capture Pauline again, Mario offers him a Mini Pauline. Donkey Kong accepts this gift, and, happy again, the entire group decides to ride the Ferris wheel.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move
The Mini-Marios again play a major role in Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move. Unlike the other Mario vs. Donkey Kong games, this game has little story and Mario makes only a minor appearance.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Mario appears once again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Pauline is once again kidnapped by Donkey Kong, and Mario chases them down with his Mini Mario toys. Mario has to free cursed Mini Mario toys along the way. When Mario catches up to them, he finds out they have thrown him a surprise party. Mario continues on to the bonus worlds afterwards.