AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Sega

Congo Bongo
You know, you would think that publishers would know when to leave well enough alone... that some games just shouldn't even be attempted on inferior hardware. Parker Brothers found out the hard way with Star Wars. Ditto for Atari with its dismal effort with Kangaroo and Coleco with Zaxxon. But they try, anyway. Sega took a shot and also failed miserably with TWO dismal efforts on the 2600 with Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom and Congo Bongo.

This sorry coin-op port features only two of the arcade versions' four screens. The first stage, Jungle Mountain, requires the player to guide the explorer up the ledges of an isometric perspective (Zaxxon-esque) mountain while avoiding the coconuts that a goofy looking ape tosses down from the top ledge. Along the way, hostile monkeys try to gang up on you and throw you into a river, and the only way to save yourself in such instances is to shake them off by jumping up and down repeatedly. When you reach the top of the screen, the ape will lead you to the next screen (hmmm, where have we seen this before?)

In stage two -- called The Great River -- you must maneuver your character off the river's edge onto a floating lilypad, transfer to the back of a hippo, leap to a small island, and then onto the backs of a couple of giant fish. From there it's just a leap onto the opposite shore, avoiding a line of charging rhinos, a walk up to the level where the big bad ape awaits. You're then rewarded with an intermission where the explorer gives the ape a hotfoot (via lighting a match at his feet) and the game resumes at the next difficulty level.

Even those with low expectations of VCS coin-op adaptations will be disappointed with this severely flawed port. For one, the mountain - or at least that's what Sega wants us to believe - looks like a big stairway, and the monkies flicker like there's no tomorrow. If that's bad enough, Sega completely abandoned an attempt at the 3-D isometric view on the Great River screen, opting instead for the standard overhead view, thus turning this stage into a crappy Frogger clone. For fans of the arcade original seeking relief with the 5200, Coleco and Commodore versions of the game, they're terrible too... oh well.

Title Congo Bongo
Publisher Sega
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 4
Sound 5
Gameplay 4
Overall 4
Reviewer Keita Iida

Go to previous page