I thought this was a clear standard cut of what a tutorial level should be. A subconscious way of teaching the player what to do through trial and error.
Donkey Kong jumps out of his house and down a cliff to start the game. The first thing in the level you see is a banana. The player is urged to interact with this object, and when the banana is picked up, the counter on the top corner of the screen goes up. This introduces a point system to the game and rewards the player for picking up more bananas.
The next thing the player sees is a walking alligator called a Kritter. These guys are the enemy's of the game, and if you run into them, you lose a life. the way the player gets around them is by jumping over or onto the Kritters to kill them.
The final thing that the player is introduced to within the next 3 seconds is the barrel, if you pick it up, you can throw it. once it breaks, you get Diddy Kong, this introduces multilpe mechanics, one you can pick up items, you can have multiple characters with different attributes, and you get second hit chances.
The pacing and flow of the game is completely dependent on how aggressive the player wants to be. Iinitaly everyone gets a slow pacing, first there's items, then one enemy, then two, then a different enemy that takes 2 hits to kill. However, when you get half way through the level, you have a choice of riding the rhino, if you do, your virtually indestructible and can fly through the rest of the level. if not, you have a larger option to explore and discover extra power-ups. Without the rhino, you don't have the ability to get into the secret areas.
How much is left to the player?
There's not much spelled out for the player. Most of the game is through trial and error. But there are signs placed at the end of the level that say "exit". Really, the only thing that is handed to the player are the first 3 bananas in the beginning.
Enemy's and Obstacles
There are many obstacles introduced to the player. First the first enemy takes one hit to kill but moves slowly. The second enemy is a bit larger and moves faster, The third enemy is the largest and takes 2 hits to kill. As the level progresses, there are more enemy's mixed and put within closer proximity. There are also pitfalls which are introduced near the end of the level.
The only negative feedback to the player is death, if you have Diddey Kong and get hit, you lose Donkey Kong, which takes away your "shield" mechanic.
Positive feedback for the player is the result of exploration, the more time you spend collecting items in the level, the more secret areas you discover and the more points you get. Collecting the animal tokens give you an extra life as well. Finding the Rhino allows you to discover different locations, and can give you invulnerability.
The story for the game is revealed through exploration as well, At the beginning of the level, if you chose to go left where the hole is at the base of the cliff, you enter the Kong Banana cave. Donkey Kong enters and shakes his head, this quick cut-scene implies that someone, most likely the gators, stole their Bananas, and the objective of the adventure is to get them back!