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Jungle Hunt - The Atari Times

Jungle Hunt


Hunting in the Jungle is King!
by Barry L. Laws Jr.

August 26, 2002
Taito released Jungle Hunt in the arcades in the early 1980s. Well, almost. See, the game was originally called Jungle King, and the game featured a main character who looked similar to Tarzan. In fact, the character looked SO similar to Tarzan that the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan and the owner of all trademarks of Tarzan including name and likeness, threatened to sue Taito for copyright infringement. Well, Taito pulled the plug on Jungle King, replaced the Tarzan-like character with a safari dude, and called the game Jungle Hunt. Jungle Hunt made its way to several classic home consoles including the Colecovision, the Atari 8-bit computers, the Atari 5200, and the Atari 2600. This review will concentrate on the Atari 2600 version.

Graphics
For an arcade conversion on the 2600, Jungle Hunt looks pretty darn good! All characters (the main character, the damsel in distress, the crocodiles, and the headhunters) and the obstacles (the vines and the boulders) look very good. Almost every screen (with the exception of the water level) features a graphics technique many thought was impossible on the 2600 : parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling is visible in this game amongst the trees.

Sound
The sounds are quite adequate for the game and for the system. You have a blip sound effect for jumping, a warning sound when you're low on oxygen in the croc-infested river, a low soundtrack during the river level, a crunching sound when you are crushed by a boulder or when you fall to the ground in the vines level, low jungle music during the headhunters screen, and a long bleep sound when you reach the damsel in distress (this sound occurs when the "level complete" bonus points are added to your score).

Gameplay
Almost identical to the arcade version. I don't think Atari put any monkeys on the vines level. Unlike the arcade version where there are two headhunters, your girlfriend, and a boiling pot of water on the same screen, you have to jump over one headhunter then run until you get to the next screen, then jump another headhunter and run until the screen changes to the girlfriend screen, and then touch her to score the bonus points. But that's the only differences. As with the arcade version, you have to swing on vines. Some swing slow, while others swing fast. If you miss a vine, you lose a life. In the river level, you must either dodge the crocs or stab them with your knife. You can stab any croc at any time unless their mouth is WIDE open. If you try to kill a croc who has a wide-opened mouth, you will not kill...you will become a dead hero, and then you will be in a world of crap because heroes are not allowed to die without permission. You must also watch your oxygen level while underwater. If you run out of oxygen, you immediately drown. On the boulder screen, you have small boulders which roll on the ground (these have to be jumped) and large boulders which bounce in the air (these can be either jumped or ducked under).

Control
Super-easy. The control stick (left and right directions) controls the hero as he runs on the ground, and the fire button makes the hero jump (on the vine level, the only control is the fire button). On the river level, the control stick (using all directions) maneuvers the hero in the water. Down makes him dive, up makes him surface, left makes him swim faster to the left, and right makes him swim slower). Controls are flawless with no lag-time.

Overall
One of the best arcade ports that Atari did for the Atari 2600. Although it is not arcade-perfect, it is a remarkable translation for the Atari 2600, and no 2600 collection should be without this fun game.

The title appears at the top of each screen as they are cycled. This one is my favorite sequence.
You're better off avoiding the crocs completely.
Jumping is safer than ducking, but you get more points for ducking.
Now you just have the cannibals standing in your way.
Jungle Hunt
System: 2600
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Adventure
Graphics Score: 90%
Sound & Music Score: 85%
Gameplay Score: 95%
Control Score: 100%

Final Score: 90%



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