While Kangaroo may look like a cute kiddie game at first glance, there's more to it than meets the eye. What lies beneath Kangaroo's furry exterior is a challenging platform game that will give even the most experienced player a worthy challenge. You control Momma Roo (not to be confused with Quintana Roo), who must rescue her baby from a evil gang of villainous monkeys. Momma Roo is armed only with a pair of boxing gloves which she can use to punch out monkeys and to block apple cores. Sound intriguing? Read on...
You must get Momma Roo to the top of each screen where your baby is waiting for you. Momma Roo can reach the top by climbing ladders (in a tree?) and jumping from platform to platform (not as easy as it looks). Once you reach the top of the tree you are reunited with your baby for a few seconds and its off to the next board. Along the way up the tree you can grab various fruits for points. These fruits appear when Momma Roo hits one of the bells hanging from the tree (exactly what kind of tree is this anyway?). Each time a bell is hit a new type of fruit appears and is worth more points, but hanging around eating fruit all day isn't what the game is about. You've got a baby to save!
This is the easiest screen in the game, and consists only of ladders and platforms without gaps (lucky for you). While climbing up the ladders make sure the monkey at the top of the screen doesn't bean you with an apple core as you're basically defenseless. Along the way you can hit the bell for some extra fruit, but don't take too long or the monkeys will begin to gang up on you.
Despite being only the second screen, this one is the toughest of the four. The reason this screen is so tough is that Momma Roo must make some spectacular jumps that require pin point precision. Unfortunately the 5200 joystick doesn't allow for pin point precision, so you'll have to fake it. With a little luck and practice Momma Roo will be up the screen in no time. Just be careful on the edges of the steps, as even as small fall will kill Momma Roo.
This is the strangest screen in the entire game. It appears that the monkeys have run out of ideas and have decided to simply form a simian tower to keep Baby Roo out of your reach. Since you can't scale the monkey tower you'll have to knock 'em out one by one. However this time it appears the monkeys have taken their vitamins as they can withstand quite a few hits before the go down. Thankfully you don't need to take out all the monkeys to reach your baby, as the side branches allow you to jump onto the platform once it's lowered slightly. Be quick about taking out the monkeys as this board has a tendency to get difficult very quickly
This is the last screen before they begin to repeat. This screen isn't too difficult, but it's easy to accidentally fall off a platform so be careful. The monkeys are fairly relentless on this screen so be quick about getting to the top. Be careful that you don't get hit from above as all monkeys on this screen can drop apples as well as throw them. Ignore the bell as getting all the fruit on this screen is too difficult to make it worth the time.
While it wasn't a smash hit at the arcades, Kangaroo faired much better on the console scene. While the 5200 version contains all four levels from the arcade, the controllers make it very difficult to keep Momma Roo from falling off the ledges. Although an Atari 400/800 version was programmed it was never released by Atari (although prototypes have been found), but eventually programmer Jim Leiterman disassembled the 5200 version and released it for the Atari 400/800 through APX (Atari Program Exchange). So if you missed it in the arcades, give Kangaroo a try on the 5200. You'll find that its more fun than a barrel of... well you know...