The Game: As a mama marsupial trying to save your baby from many malignant marauding monkeys, you go on a rescue mission that involves climbing through many, many levels of the monkeys’ treehouse village, punching primates, dodging airborne apples, grabbing various fruit items along the way (considering the abundance of apples, strawberries, cherries and bananas, one can only assume these are Pac-Man’s table leavings). (Atari, 1983)
Memories: One of the glut of arcade translations from the heyday of the VCS, Kangaroo is more or less faithful to its arcade namesake, though it’s missing one level (the one where you have to punch out an entire column of monkeys one at a time) and lacks many other details: the giant purple gorilla who swipes your boxing gloves never appears, and neither does the monkey who drops apples on you from above – the apples merely bounce out of nowhere of their own accord. The third screen barely has any resemblance to anything from the arcade game. But other details are right – the music is there, at least sometimes.
The biggest problem with Kangaroo for the VCS is the same Achilles’ heel that has brought down many a well-intentioned game for that system – blinkin’ sprites. At times, when the number of monkeys and projectiles tops out, you can see your opponents about as well as you can see, oh, say, the ghosts in the 2600 version of Pac-Man – and that’s not a good thing. Other than that, Kangaroo is a decent translation.