Congo Bongo

Congo Bongo
Company: Sega
Model #:
Phat Ho & Steve Beck (Beck-Tech)
Year: 1983


Often considered to be one the bigger disappointments in the 2600 library, Congo Bongo had alot of potential but was ultimately botched on almost every system it came out for.  Only featuring 2 of the 4 arcade levels, this thing should have been called Congo or Bongo because you're only getting 50% of the game!


While most of the other home ports were fairly decent (if only with two levels), the 2600 had almost no chance of pulling off a decent conversion.  The original arcade game used a strange 3/4th isometric view to give the illusion of 3D (much the same as Sega had done with Zaxxon), and if there's one thing the 2600 doesn't do it's isometric 3D!  The 2600 was simply not meant to handle diagonals or faked 3D perspectives.  So needless to say the results weren't pretty.


On the first level our fearless explorer must scale Primate Peak (called Jungle Peak in the 2600 version) to catch the nefarious Congo Bongo.  The level starts out with a series of small stairs which you must climb while avoiding coconuts being throw by Congo.  Once you make it to the top of the stairs, quickly cross the bridge to your right and jump across the gorge.  Be careful not to stand on the edge of the gorge too long or it will collapse!  Now you need to walk through the monkey plateau and jump across the river.  Be careful when jumping the river, as the monkeys like to jump on your back and weigh you down!  To throw a monkey off, simply jump twice.  Once on the other side of the river, climb the last two stairs and you'll chase Congo off to the next level.


Now this level wouldn't be so bad, except the 2600 simply cannot handle the pseudo 3D perspective of the arcade machine (but that didn't stop them from trying anyway!).  The level looks like an exercise in modern art, with large square splotches of yellow and green supposedly simulating the stairs and some odd blue line hanging in mid-air simulating the river.  I try not to come down too hard on the programmer since he (or she) was obviously faced with an impossible task, but surely they could have done better than this?  Thankfully the second level looks much much better.


The second level is much more pleasing to the eye (and the stomach) than the first.  This time you must make your way across the Lazy Lagoon (called the Great River in the 2600 version), and take your revenge on Congo Bongo.  This time the programmer decided to change the layout of the level due to the limitations of the 2600 (a wise move).  The original level was a sideways romp across the river using the same strange pseudo 3D perspective as the first level (this would have been ugly folks!), but now it has been changed to a vertical screen similar to Frogger . While some people may feel cheated, this was actually a big improvement.


To reach Congo our explorer must jump from the shore, to the lily pads, to the hippos, to the platforms in the middle of the river (is this Congo Bongo or Frogger II?).  Congratulations you're halfway there, now comes the tricky part!  You must jump on the backs of some giant fish to reach the other side, unfortunately these fish like to dive unexpectedly so be careful.  Once on the other side, avoid the charging rhinos (watch out, they're faster than you think!), and walk up to Congo himself.  Now your character will proceed to give Congo Bongo a hot foot (take that you dumb gorilla!), and you'll start over again on the first level.


With craptacular graphics, dodgy collision detection, and only two levels, Congo Bongo is a disappointment all around.  Sega was noted for doing some awesome arcade games in their day, but their home conversions usually bit the big one.  Strangely Congo Bongo received rave reviews from many of the top videogame magazines of the day, you've got to wonder what the heck they were smoking (or how much Sega was paying them).


Version Cart Text Description
?????? Congo Bongo Sample Only Final Version


Return to 2600 Software