Jungle King
This is one of those games that I have very fond memories of.  You can see a story that I wrote about it back in a very old issue of Retrogaming Times (issue #5 to be exact).  And I cannot believe that I have not done a proper review of this game (I did a really lame review of it back in issue #5 of RT, but it was my first MAME reviews, so I was just getting my feet wet).  So here it goes, a real review of the first and only real version of this game, at least to me.

When you start playing this game, you will soon realize why there was a lawsuit.  The looks and sounds are just like Tarzan.  If they had him yelling something like "I am going for you dear"  instead of doing the Tarzan yelp, they may have had a chance in court.  Even my kids thought it was Tarzan and they had little exposure to the king of the jungle.

The game consists of four mini games, each one different.  This was quite a feat back in the early days of video games.  Most games consisted of one screen, let alone three scrolling levels and a different ending level.  I applaud the developers of the game as they really did a good job capturing the feel of Tarzan.  You have swinging on vines, fighting crocodiles and saving Jane from natives.  Don't really remember Tarzan jumping over boulders, but guess it was easier to do then have him jump over animals or something. 

The first level has you swinging from vine to vine.  Once you get the hang of it, it is quite easy.  At least it is on the first level.  On the second level, they add monkeys that can be a real pain.  The best advice I can give you for playing this game is to remember that the is a bunch of extra time on the timer.  You would need to really be slow to not make it in time.  And you do not get any bonus for finishing with time left.  So whether you have one second or a hundred seconds left, it does not matter.  So take your time and you will do fine with the vines.

The water level is a bit trickier.  While you can kill the crocodiles with your knife, you can only do it when their mouths are not open.  If their mouth is wide open, you will get bit.  Best to hold back and wait for them to go through the animation and open their mouth and then attack.  You can avoid them, but keep an eye on your air.  Once you get close to running out of air, you better surface and fill it back up.  It will not look good in the obituary section to see that Tarzan...err I mean the Jungle King died by drowning.  Not exactly a valiant way to die.  At least let a croc kill you.  It may mean that you have to have a closed casket funeral, but at least it will more manly.  Also watch out for the bubbles as they can immobilize you for a few moments and that is all the crocs need.

The third level has you jumping over rocks that are rolling down a hill.  They are red and give me the impression that they are from a volcano or something.  But at the end you jump on top of the last one and do the Tarzan yell.  Of course he could be yelling because he just found out that the rock is burning hot and he is cooking the soles of his feet.  This level is pretty straight forward.  You need to time your jumps, but that is pretty easy to do.  If you see a very large boulder, just run underneath it.  It is only hard if you hesitate.  Keep moving and you should blow right through it.

The last level has you avoiding two natives and trying to save your wife or girlfriend (not sure if Tarzan ever married Jane) before she becomes the main course.  All you have to do is jump over them and jump on her.  The only trick is to wait for Jane to get low enough that you hit her and not miss.  Of course some people at the arcades used to time their jumps for some rather interesting poses.  I remember the snickering that went on at this game and it was easy to realize why Namco renamed Pac-man when they brought it over here.  Again, it is patience that is needed.  If you wait for the natives to come together and then part, you can easily jump between them.  Just look out for the spears that they occasionally jut upward.  I almost never get hit by them, but instead die from missing the girl and ending up in the pot.

The funniest thing I found about this game is how the Jungle King's hair would change colors from one level to the next.  The man went through more hair colors than Madonna.  Made me wonder what was going on?  Don't believe me, take a look at the many shades of the Jungle King's mane.


(He begins with traditional black hair)


(Swimming in bleach as his hair goes blonde)


(Check out the fire red hair.  Maybe it is the dust from the rocks)


(Now he goes punk purple.  Too cool!)


(And the ending has him as a brunette.)

I joke about his tresses, but the game is solid.  It is fun and a really cool game.  While Jungle Hunt is the same game, the thought of swinging around as some old explorer in a pith helmet just is not the same.  Oh well, at least with MAME we can play the original.

This is just a review of the arcade machine.  If you are looking for the actual arcade machine, you may want to check out ebay.  Click below to see if you can find this game.

 

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Tom Zjaba 1997 - 2015      

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