The Game: You’re a jungle explorer hot on the trail of Bongo the Ape. The first level in your quest is a hazardous assortment of ramps and levels and a waterfall to jump across. Be careful of pesky little monkeys who can weigh you down so you move slower (and jump lower). And watch out for snakes. Then you have to hop across a river using lily pads, the backs of hippos, and other floating objects – just try not to miss! (Sega, 1983)
Memories: Egads. Didn’t Sega learn the lesson from Coleco’s horrid VCS version of Zaxxon? Guess not, because their in-house attempt to translate the equally elaborate Congo Bongo arcade game for the 2600, while a bit less of a graphical and game play train wreck than Zaxxon, is still a train wreck.
One of the biggest hurdles in bringing Congo Bongo to the 2600 is the isometric 3-D perspective. Sega does a better job of accomplishing this than Coleco managed with Zaxxon, but you still have your work cut out for you trying to determine the position of your character in relation to the falling projectiles being chucked at you from above – or in relation to a deadly sheer drop.
Add to that some of the dodgiest collision detection I’ve ever seen in a video game, old or new, and Congo Bongo really turns out to be a mess. Sad, really – while the arcade game had some unique challenges, like Zaxxon, in determining your on-screen counterpart’s position, it was far more enjoyable than this.