|Phat Ho & Steve Beck (Beck-Tech)
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).
||Congo Bongo Sample Only
to 2600 Software