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|Rating:||3.5 out of 5|
Being a fan of Pitfall! I expected to enjoy Jungle Hunt when it hit arcades, but alas my trips to the arcade were for saving planets and shooting down varied starships. I just couldn't wrap my head around cruising a jungle as a form of arcade bliss. Unlike Pitfall, where Harry was fending for his life, Jungle Hunt's mission involves saving your girlfriend from lusting cannibals who've kidnapped her. Presumably she'll become dinner if you don't retrieve her. Rescuing your truelove will involve navigating 4 areas at the end of which you'll be in the cannibal camp.
Taito released Jungle Hunt arcade in 1982. As a home-version of an arcade game, Jungle Hunt's arcade controls, with a single Jump/Knife button and a Joystick, are wonderfully simple for a conversion to the 2600. So the myriad of button options was no challenge for the 5200 joystick.
When your gal is abducted by cannibals, it's hard to explain to friends and family that she was a pain in the ass and you dumped her. Thus you venture through a thick jungle swinging from rope to rope. Then you'll battle a river full of alligators and a landslide of boulders before seeing your girl suspended above a pot of stew awaiting some human meat. Armed with your wits and a knife, her life is in your hands.
With 3 lives, more every 10,000 points, and 500 seconds (a little over 8 minutes) you'll have to rescue the girl before she becomes a meal. You and a second player can battle the crocs with your knife and pump the fire button to swing and jump. You'll gain points via achievements. The quicker you rescue the girl, the more bonus points you'll receive, so keep an eye on the ticking timer
Once you rescue your girlfriend, the 4 stages repeat with increased difficulty. The joystick behaves accordingly with the level (stage) you're playing. It will shift from swinging on the vines to moving around the river as you enter these levels. The lousy 5200 controllers will also increase the difficulty of the game ;)
There are 3 skill levels: Beginner, Medium and Advanced. Pressing the # Key will rotate through these skill options. The * Key switches between 1 or 2 players. In the beginner level you start with 6 lives, whereas the Medium and Advanced levels offer 3 lives and begin at harder levels of Jungle Hunt. The screens may look the same at the advanced levels, but the game play is more challenging. Shouldn't the monkeys throw poop in Advanced mode?
You begin in the Deadly Jungle where you must swing from rope-to-rope in order to traverse the thicket. In higher levels, monkeys appear on the ropes and you must avoid them as you swing onto each rope. Touching a monkey results in a lost life. This is an early lesson in NOT touching your Monkey.
Surviving that, Reptile River presents ravenous alligators who you must swim around or stab with your knife (if the gator's mouth is closed). As you swim underwater you have to monitor your air meter to ensure yo don't drown. A mysterious murk bubbles up from the riverbed and will cause your demise as well. There's no Animal Planet gator wrestling in Jungle Hunt - it's kill or be killed.
Boulder Field forces you to run, jump and duck to avoid large and small boulders that are bouncing around. Cannibal Camp challenges you to jump over 2 dancing cannibals to reach your girlfriend. All that's left is to jump onto the ope holding her without falling into the cannibal's dinner pot. After quick lustful reacquaintance, you're off to the beginning to re-rescue her with steeper challenges along the way!
Monkeys will eventually climb to the top of the rope. This is the best time to jump to the next rope. Using your knife to fend off (kill) alligators is far more effective if you attack from below the gator. The safest gator strategy is to avoid them rather than stabbing them since the control is pretty bad for stabbing. pushing the joystick in the direction your are jumping will enhance the height and distance of your leap. If timed correctly, you can jump over 2 bolders rather than getting crushed by the second one. Finally, don't be too excited to leap to your girlfriend's rescue - if she's too high on the rope, you'll fall in!
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