Congo Bongo

Atari 5200

Review by Clint Dyer

Sega

Arcade

Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: 7


From the first time I played this game in the arcade, it intrigued me. The 3-D perspective was different from any other game Iíd played at the time and the game was interesting enough concept wise. I was never much very good at this game in the arcades. It seemed no matter how long I played, I never got much further than the second level. I always had fun playing, though, so I always plopped quarter after quarter into it.

Much like Donkey Kongís first level, the object is to get to the top of the screen, where the gorilla (the most mischievous gorilla in the jungle, btw) is to get to the next level. The arcade game had 3 or 4 different screens to go through and the 5200 has only two, Monkey Mountain and Lazy Lake. It would be nice to have all the screens from the arcade game, but itís very common for home video games to not have all the levels of the arcade machine. I guess companies think name alone is enough to sell the game and the less work they have to do to sell it, the better. That aside, this game does contain most of the aspects of the arcade game, which is more than most arcade conversions can say.

You start the game out on Monkey Mountain, where you have to scale the cliffs while avoiding the monkeys and coconuts to make it to the top of the screen where the gorilla is. Instead of just having to go left and right like most other games that were available at the time, this level is 3-D, meaning that in order to get to the top, you have to go back into the screen and toward the front of the screen to get past the obstacles. At first, this level is rather simple. The monkeys arenít really much of a distraction and the coconuts are easily avoided. In later levels, this changes and the monkeys get faster and the coconuts are harder to avoid, especially at the top of the screen, close to the gorilla.

The second level all but abandons the 3-D aspect of the first, except for in a few places. In this level, you have to go from the left hand side of the screen to the right where the gorilla is. Between you and the gorilla is a vast body of water. In order to get to the other side, you have to ride one of 3 hippos to the islands in the middle, then catch a ride on fish to get to the other side. The fish and the hippos are easy enough to get onto, but randomly drop under the water, which makes it more difficult to progress. All the while, you have to avoid bats flying overhead.

Graphically, the arcade game is extremely impressive. The level of detail in the characters is incredible and the detail in the levels is also great. Although the 5200 game is nowhere near as detailed as the arcade machine, the graphics are still decent compared to other 5200 games. Nothing to write home about, but the 3-D view is still there and the detail level isnít bad. Although Iíve never been a fan of the 5200 joysticks (who is?), they are perfect for the 3-D aspect of this game and allow for the same feel as the controls of the arcade machine. If they werenít what they were, some of the worst controllers ever made, Iíd even go as far as to say that they would be better than the controls of the arcade machine!

The game isnít the best for the 5200, but it certainly isnít the worst either. Itís a fun game to play, and if you have a Masterplay Interface or a third party 5200 joystick, itís that much better.

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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:17 PM