Monday 14 December 2015

Jungle Hunt (Colecovision review)

Developer: Atarisoft
Publisher: Atarisoft
Released: 1983

Jungle Hunt is an action game that was first released in the Arcades in 1982.

Your mission is to navigate through four stages and rescue your lady friend who's been kidnapped by cannibals. The first level tasks you with jumping between vines and timing your leaps so you don't fall to your death. It sounds easy but the vines move at different speeds and giant monkeys eventually show up to block your path! The second level takes place underwater while you avoid or stab deadly alligators. You must keep an eye on your oxygen metre and occasionally return to the surface for air; this forces you to think about whether to gamble for extra points or avoid everything so you live to see another day. In the third level you run up a mountain while jumping over small rocks that fall close to the ground and avoiding giant boulders that bounce high in the air. It's not the most interesting part of the game but it's still mildly enjoyable. In the final level you need to jump over two cannibals, avoid the cauldron and leap to rescue your lady friend. There's little margin for error as the cannibals move back and forth so precision is key. It's a simple yet engaging stage but it's also the only area I noticed sprite flicker. Once you've completed all four levels the game loops with increased difficulty. The controls have just the right amount of responsiveness making slight movements a breeze and the collision detection is also solid. Although each stage is fun I do wish there were some bonus icons to collect as this would have greatly increased the risk-reward element and have you multitasking at all times. The graphics and animation are poor and seem closer to what you'd expect on the Atari 2600.
Jungle Hunt has some great ideas and lots of variety and overall it accomplishes most of what it sets out to do. A bit more gameplay depth would have made this a classic but it still has tons of charm and those that enjoy Donkey Kong will find themselves right at home with this one.

Random trivia: The game was released on numerous other systems including the Apple II, Atari 2600 and Commodore 64.

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