An early adventure game, Jungle Hunt follows the tried and true pattern of 80's arcade platformers and maze games -- offer 4 different 'screens' of slightly different action, then repeat them with more difficulty. The thing about Jungle Hunt is that each of the 4 scenes is totally different from each other. In 5200 Jungle Hunt, you are the great white hunter and you must save your girl from cannibals, traversing the dangers of the jungle, river, and mountain! There's a time limit, so you can't wait too long on the vines or cannibals stages or you'll lose a turn.

The four stages, as I mentioned, are pretty different from each other. First are the vines -- time your swings to miss apes and catch the next swinging vine. All you do is press the button in this stage, but it is deceptively simple and most people die a few times trying to get the timing down. At the end of the vines, your pith-helmet-adorned adventurer jumps into the river, where he must kill or avoid crocs and not run out of air. You have a knife in this stage to deal with crocs, but if any part of your body touches a croc before the knife, you'll die. Again, it is deceptively simple. Stage 3, the most challenging stage, is a rush up the mountain -- you have to jump over or duck under large & small boulders. Then finally in stage 4 the adventurer outwits two spear- toting cannibals and leaps to his girl, who is strung up over a boiling kettle with nicely animated fire. To summarize: JH is a fairly ambitious game for the early 80's, and it works. Just try to beat the 2nd boulders level without dying!

I remember being fairly amazed at the detailed environments evident in the leaves and riverbed in the 5200 version. There are big, meaty and fairly detailed 80's sprites used to represent the main guy, crocs, apes, and cannibals. The 5200 version maintains most of the power of the TAITO coin-op -- when you jump vine to vine, you really feel the momentum; you can "feel" the weight and density of the bouncing boulders, too.

The makers of the craptacularly bad-sounding Kangaroo game could have learned some sound lessons from the makers of Jungle Hunt. Although 5200 Jungle Hunt's sounds and end-of-stage music are simple, these are pleasant and fitting none the less! The sweep of the vines, the hilarious chunky "climbing ape" sound, the powerful bassy thunk of rolling boulders, and the nice musical rewared for saving your gal, are all high points. I can't recall if there is background music in the coin-op version, but there is none in 5200 Jungle Hunt, which sadly makes the river and cannibal stages a bit too silent.

5200 Jungle Hunt comes recommended by me. It's a game I quite enjoy, but perhaps this is because of my fond, nostalgic memories of playing it back in the day. I'm not sure how the 'modern gamer' will take the game, especially after a few cheap deaths on the boulders stage, which can get infuriating I suppose. It's not that it's that hard, it's just that Jungle Hunt, like many 80's classics, is deceptively simple -- pay close attention, grab some nice beverage, and concentrate on clearing some screens, and you'll no doubt find Jungle Hunt a nicely enjoyable experience!

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