Review by Al Backiel
is a lot of monkey business going on here. The cast includes: Tarzan the
Ape Man, Bolgani the gorilla, Nkima the chimp, the Beastmen, and all the
caged monkeys. Welcome to the jungle! Unlike Atari, who tried to borrow
the Tarzan character, Coleco actually obtained the license. Atari was
forced to change Jungle King to Jungle Hunt and redesign the main
character. The estate of author, Edgar Rice Burroughs is very protective
of their property. Tarzan looks more natural swinging through the trees
than an explorer in a pith helmet and shorts.
Tarzan, has some of the nicest looking graphics on the Colecovision. The sprites are rounded, not blocky. The jungle is lush and looks like a jungle instead of a forest. Even the vines are detailed. The temple screen is a work of art. You can see that the programmers spent some time and effort here. Tarzan can swing through the trees with the greatest of ease. He can defend himself with his fists. He also has the ability to run, jump, climb, or swim depending on the situation. The overall objective is for Tarzan to move from left to right across the various screens while rescuing all his ape buddies from their cages. This gives him access to the Temple screen and the final boss - The Flaming Idol.
Along the way, Tarzan hooks up with his chimp pal, Nkima who tags along and provides warnings until a bunch of bananas distracts him. The chimp that I recall from the movies was named Cheeta. Among the obstacles to be faced are the hunters who will shoot at you. The crocodiles that try to prevent a river crossing. The snakes with their deadly fangs. The Flaming Idol that shoots fireballs with its beady little eyes. The Beastmen (not the Beastie Boys), who guard the temple. There are pitfalls that open up in the ground. Thankfully, not as many as in E.T. There is plenty to keep you busy. Your strength is measured and should be replenished as needed.
This an amazing game considering that it traces way back to ’84. Tarzan has a lot of moves and doesn’t need a lot a buttons to control. You might say he’s a real swinger (..sorry). I played it with the regular controller and it did seem a little sticky or sluggish. This may take some getting used to, but one can compensate for it. I wonder if the super controller would make a difference.
Here are some tips I would like to offer:
Generally, it is safer to travel through the trees. Most of the enemies are on the jungle floor and so are the traps. The next best route is the foreground.
The XX icon represents snake eyes. Keep your distance.
You can outswim the croc, if you get an opening and a good jump.
To open the cages, punch away as soon as you land on them.
When you free Nkima from his cage, jump off the center post, because a pit is hidden below.
To successfully grab a swinging vine, make sure you are on the far side of the tree and your feet aren’t lower than the bottom of the vine. Also, make sure your control knob is facing right as you leap.
To gain life points, let the gorilla repeatedly walk into your fist and get knocked backwards. Keep punching while advancing. After 4-5 times, it is safer to jump over him.
If a gorilla is approaching from the far side, it is worth waiting for him. He may reveal the hidden traps.
The easiest way to eliminate the gorilla is to knock him into the water. The only way to destroy snakes and crocs is to fall on them. This is tough to do and hardly worth the risk.
Careful of gunfire from the hunters. You can stun them with a punch if you time the shots and get close enough.
Keep punching away at the pesky Beastmen to maintain lifeline. Stun them before climbing the vines to the next step.
You must free all caged monkeys on this screen.
Keep your eye on the ball! The fireball that is.
The vine on the tree is useless here.
The Beastmen and the cracks on the steps can be jumped over.
On the next to top step, the Idol will lash out at you with his fiery tongue. Time your final ascent accordingly then zip over to the side.
Letting out the famed Tarzan yell (any #) at the top will win the round. Actually, you can do this at any time, but it is more dramatic at the moment of triumph.
The next level goes up a notch in difficulty with more enemies (max 4th level).
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