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Jungle Hunt (19xx)      

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Arcade (General)

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Commodore 64

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Your Reviews

Sashanan (Unknown)   23rd Mar 2013 10:15
"Fails to challenge, and therefore fails to entertain for long."

There once were a jungle, a river, a hill and two headhunters. And they could have lived happily ever after, if they hadn't mistaken our girlfriend for potential dinner. Yet they have, and so we find ourselves navigating through the aforementioned jungle, river and hill to meet up with the headhunters and snatch our girlfriend back from 'em.

Jungle Hunt is a side-scrolling action game consisting of four different levels. With a few easy joystick manipulations, you swing, swim and jump your character through them to rescue your girlfriend from the headhunters' cooking pot. And if you succeed, you get to do it all again. Sounds charming, eh? Unfortunately, while Jungle Hunt offers an above average variety by providing levels that are distinctly different from one another, the game is totally lacking in challenge, taking away much potential replay value.

Because of the differences between the four levels of Jungle Hunt, it is best to describe them separately. The first level puts us in the middle of the jungle, where we need to successfully jump between ten swinging vines. These vines swing back and forth at different speeds, so you need to watch both the vine you're in and the one you're going to jump to, in order to determine the right moment to jump. Be patient and time it well, and this level will be a breeze.

In the second level, we find ourselves in a softly running blue river clogged with harmless weeds and not-so-harmless crocodiles. The screen scrolls by automatically here, and we can move in all four directions to avoid crocodiles, as well as crabs which, while non-fatal, force you to surface if you run into them. You can only stay under water for a limited time, as indicated by an oxygen bar in the top right of the screen, so you need to surface regularly to breathe. While under water, it is possible to stab crocodiles with your knife, though it's better to just stay clear of them. It's not even that hard, as there aren't many crocodiles, and their attempts to attack you are half-hearted at best.

The third level finally provides some challenge. We find ourselves running uphill, and along the way we meet boulders which apparently have something worthwhile to do downhill. Boulders come in two sizes, small and large (now that's a surprise, isn't it?), and can either be jumped over or ducked under. It's best to save the jumping for the small boulders and the dodging for the large ones, but since they tend to come in pairs, it's sometimes hard to find the right move at the right time. Succeeding at this level requires a little planning ahead and quick reactions. It's tough compared to the rest of the game, but still pretty easy compared to other Commodore action titles.

The fourth level finally features the promised headhunters, who have tied our girl to a rope over a steaming cauldron, and somehow managed to make the rope (and the girl) go up and down at a steady pace. The headhunters themselves dance around in a predictable pattern, and all we need to do in this level is to jump over them and right into the arms of our girlfriend (rather than in the cauldron). This seems tricky at first, but there's an easy pattern to it: jump over the first headhunter immediately as the level starts, chase the second one while he's dancing in the direction of the cauldron, then jump over him and up to the girl in one go. This is a foolproof way of finishing this level in five seconds, and any player will figure it out in a handful of tries.

When all levels have been completed, big bonus points are added to our score and we get to do the whole thing over again, though it's slightly more difficult this time: 15 vines instead of 10 in the first level, monkeys hanging from the vines which may not be touched, more crocodiles in the river scene, and more and quicker boulders in the hill scene. If you finish the game a second time, it will start over again, but the difficulty level won't increase anymore.

Controls are simple for every level. The first level, for example, merely requires you to hit the fire button to jump from vine to vine, and moving the stick does nothing at all. In the other three levels, you can simple move around with the stick (all directions in level 2, only left and right in levels 3 and 4), and use the fire button to stab with your knife (level 2) or jump (level 3 and 4). The only tricky control is the jump in the last two levels: you jump higher when you push your stick up while pressing the fire button. I didn't find out about this until after I'd lost a few games, wondering why I couldn't jump high enough to survive.

The joystick is very responsive in this game, and your character will react to your commands immediately and flawlessly. While that's a good thing, it certainly contributes to the game's lack of challenge. Not that the game would have been better if it had been difficult due to sluggish control, mind you.

Jungle Hunt's graphics are simple, but elegant and colourful. Our character wears a shirt and a yellow hat, which (as all reviews of this game seem to mention) are mysteriously absent in the river swimming level, only to reappear during level 3. I guess he's just got big pockets. The best graphic in the game is probably the crocodile, which looks fairly realistic.

Definitely not on par with the graphics, the sound is simple as well, but far from elegant. Highly irritating would be nearer the mark. The sound of surfacing for air in the river level is a horrible screech. The effect that plays when you successfully grab a vine sounds like a phone ringing. If I'd had a cellular back when I played this game for the first time, I'd almost certainly have reached for it in vain quite a few times. Then there's the sound of wind blowing in the first level, which you hear whenever the vine you are in swings from right to left. If that's supposed to be wind, I'd hate to hear a hurricane.

If anything, the sound effects in this particular version of Jungle Hunt make the playing experience worse, and the game would have been better off without them. This is one game for which I tend to turn the volume off.

Here lies the biggest complaint with Jungle Hunt: it is simply too easy, quite possibly because it was aimed at young kids. I had little trouble completing it as a six-year old, and when I played it again a week ago, I breezed through it four times straight before I decided to just abort. You get a bonus life every time you manage to rescue your girlfriend, and that's plenty to stay in the game for a very long time. There is a time limit on completing the four levels every time, but since the second and third level take a set time to complete (because they scroll by automatically), the only places where you could waste time are the first and fourth levels. As I said before, level four can be done in five seconds, which leaves you with almost ten minutes to complete the first level, of which you will probably need one or two. Getting a game over due to exceeding your time limit is an extremely unlikely thing.

While Jungle Hunt's levels are varied enough to offer some replayability, the lack of challenge takes that all away again. Even if you've never played Jungle Hunt or a similar game before, you're likely to complete it at both the easy and the hard difficulty setting within an evening. After that, there is nothing left to see or prove.

Jungle Hunt's bright spots are:

- Above average variety due to three truly different levels, and a short fourth one thrown in for good measure;
- Simple graphics which are nevertheless elegantly used.

Jungle Hunt is plagued by:

- Poor sound effects;
- An utter, total lack of challenge.

Fair is fair: Jungle Hunt is fun to play. But when you're through, there is little to go back for, and you'll be through very, very soon. In the end, the game has very little lasting value, and because of that I do not recommend this title.

Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/01, Updated 08/09/01

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This title was first added on 15th January 2008
This title was most recently updated on 23rd March 2013

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