Jungle Booka game by The Walt Disney Company, Eurocom, and Virgin
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The Jungle Book is a video game developed and published by Virgin Interactive in 1993. It was made available for Sega Master System for the first time, but conversions for several other platforms, such as GameBoy, NES, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Super NES, GameBoy Advance and PC followed in the same year, and soon after. The gameplay is the same on all the versions, but the graphical level differs, with the best graphical details probably being on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis platform and the PC.
The story is written after the original Jungle Book series by Rudyard Kipling. The players control Mowgli, the main character, who is a young boy raised in the jungle by wolves. Because of the fact that he is hunted by Shere Khan, a tiger, he must now get back to the human village, where the animals are afraid to enter. But in order for him to reach the village, he has to fight the whole jungle and Shere Khan himself in the end. Sure, friends like Bagheera and Baloo, but also some other characters such as the Snake Kaa and King Louie are also going to appear in the game at some point in time during Mowgli's journey.
The player has to drive the young Mowgli through different levels. Mowgli can shoot or avoid enemies. He can run, jump, climb vines and use weapons and powerups during different levels. The player can complete a level by collecting the required number of gems, different for each difficulty setting, then finding a specific character, which is placed somewhere in the setting of the respective level.
The player scores points by obtaining gems, but also by collecting fruits and other items. Though he only starts with a banana projectile in the beginning of the game, Mowgli can collect along the way invincibility masks, coconuts, boomerang bananas and double banana shots. The player has only seven minutes to complete a level.
The game was received very well at that time, mainly thanks to the success the books had, and still have. Critics were very generous with the game, offering higher feedbacks than 7 out of 10 or 4 out of 5. The game was awarded the "Best Genesis Movie to Game Translation of the Year" in GameFan's 1994 "Megawards" issue.
There are different difficulty levels the player can choose. For the easy mode, the player needs to collect eight gems, or ten for the medium. Mowgli needs twelve gems if the game is played on the hard mode. There is a total of fifteen gems in each level, regardless of the difficulty.
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Bouncing onto most systems is The Jungle Book, Virgin's version of Disney's classic animated film. You'll have fun exploring the chapters of the SNES Book, but its difficulty might send you back to the movie.
It's a Jungle Out There
Based on Kipling's famous stories, Disney's movie was a lively, jokey, jungle fest of fun. The SNES game retains the main characters and the basic plot -- Mowgli the Man Cub tries to survive in the Indian jungles with a little help from his big bear buddy, Baloo. Annoying monkeys, Shere Khan the hungry tiger, and Kaa the hypnotic snake are among the dangers lurking in the jungle.
What's missing from the game is the boisterous fun. Baloo, the film's most entertaining character, is barely present (he appears briefly in each level). What's more, Mowgli's adventures are pretty repetitious, centering around his ability to swing on vines. He does have a few other talents, such as jumping onto birds for a quick flight. However, these skills are little used, sacrificed in favor of still more vine-swingin' action. This ain't quite up to par with Disney's Aladdin, the award- winning SNES and Genesis games filled with varied and imaginative game play.
ProTip: In the Kaa the Snake level, you can knock out annoying swarms of bees with a single well-aimed banana.
The Jungle Look
Like the Aladdin games, this one captures the visual appeal of the film well. Not only is the jungle colorfully detailed, but the characters show their personalities through subtle movements. For instance, sassy Mowgli boxes with moves straight from the flick. The graphics draw you right into the Jungle Boolds pages.
The sounds, unfortunately, push you right out. The song "The Bear Necessities" plays incessantly, while average sound effects are only modestly successful. The lack of voice effects will make you realize how much the character voices added to the movie.
Don't be put off by the cartoony, good-natured game play: This long game is deceptively difficult, made harder by the lack of continues and passwords. However, the lush jungle graphics and personable characters will make you want to forge ahead. This is one Book worth reading again.
- When you come to unreachable vines or ledges, look for hidden blocks that you can move to use as jumping platforms.
- Always explore the tops of vines for goodies. Gems and an extra life are at the top of the vines right at the beginning.
- Jump across this bridge, then jump back so you won't get crushed by the boulder rolling from the left.
- Surf upwards on this bug at the start of the Jungle By Day level for an extra life.
If you haven't already bounced around the SNES and NES jungles with Mowgli, then you'll definitely want to see what he's up to on the Genesis. This game is similar to those well-crafted versions in theme, but the game play is faster. There's no bungle in this Jungle.
Welcome to the Jugnle
Like the other versions, the Genesis game will appeal strongest to younger players and fans of Disney's classic animated film. Once again, youthful Mowgli is hopping and bopping his way through India in search of civilization. Along the way he runs into aggressive monkeys, scorpions, Kaa the hypnotic snake, King Louie, Bagheera the helpful panther, and Shere Khan, the deadly final feline.
This game relies less on the vine-swingin' action that dominated much of the SNES version. Instead, the game play includes river rides, encounters with jumbo elephants, and some interaction with Baloo, who was virtually absent from the SNES game (the boisterous bear is still underused, however). Everything is slightly speeded up on the Genesis, making it Virgin's most entertaining version yet. Mowgli performs his many jumpin', climbin', banana- throwin', and swingin' moves with aplomb, but the controls are sometimes imprecise. For example, he sometimes steps off a ledge when you only want him to turn around.
- Gems are often hidden among leaves. Jump everywhere and watch for telltale glimpses.
- Enter every hut In the Tree Village and jump around. You'll snag unseen goodies.
- The Witch Doctor monkeys are only vulnerable when they turn their shields sideways.
The graphics will enthrall you. Unlike most of the SNES game, which was filled with dense, green foliage, this version appears to be set in the savanna, so it's brighter and more airy. The characters are as appealing as ever, expressing their personalities with individual movements. Fans of the flick will love watching Shere Khan on the prowl or Kaa in the trees.
The music creates the right mood for the game -- tropical and fun. That "Bear Necessities" song is still here, but it's not as dominant as it was on the SNES. Squawks and howls from jungle enemies further enhance the action.
- You can ride on the turtle, but the stones will give way if you stand on them.
- In the Kaa the Snake chapter, Kaa's hypnotic beams loop around after you. Jump past them and keep firing at Kaa's head.
The animation will draw you in, and the game play will keep you going, but the lack of continues or passwords might drive you bananas. With 15 levels, this long game will require long hours. Fortunately, there's enough spirit and imagination here to make you want to "reread" this Book over and over again.
Virgin's bombarding Nintendo and Sega systems with Jungle Book games this summer. Thankfully, one of 'em is a decent eight-bit version, giving you a new reason to pull the ol' NES out of the closet.
Bungle in the Jungle
If you saw the Disney animated flick, you'll be familiar with the characters (including Mowgli, Baloo, and Bagheera).
You'll also know the story line (Mowgli the Man Cub, raised in the Indian jungles by animals, is trying to reach civilization). Unfortunately, you won't recognize the meandering game play, which plods along at a pace much slower than the rollicking movie.
ProTip: Watch the lengthy demo. The many game-play tips will help you anticipate and solve problem ahead.
Unlike the SNES version, the NES game relies more on standard hop-n-bop, run-n-gun action than it does on vine swinging and parrot flying. Mowgli bounces his way through the 15 levels, fires bananas at the many annoying monkeys and snakes in the jungle, and at times uses catapults to fling himself up to new platforms. An added strategic element is the new clock he has to beat, which is supposed to add some intensity to the action. It doesn't add much. Still sorely missed is Baloo, whose movie humor could've livened up each level.
Considering the few buttons on the NES controller, Mowgli can perform lots of moves. He jumps, runs, throws bananas, climbs, swings on vines, and even flies through the air. He's not always as accurate as you'd like, but he's versatile enough to make Tarzan jealous.
Do your swingin' from the bottom of the vines to get the most distance on your jumps.
The Jungle Look
The graphics are good by NES standards. The sprites are big enough to enjoy (watch Mowgli climb those vines), and their moves faintly echo the movie's memorable animations. Bright colors fill the jun-gle, and varied backgrounds define the different levels.
The sounds, however, will drive you nuts after awhile, especially the repetitive "Bare Necessities" song. The minimal sound effects don't add anything to the action.
- When floating down the river on Baloo, walk back and forth along his outstretched body so the jumping fish will miss you.
- A well-aimed banana or two will take out virtually all enemies, even swarms of bees.
A Good Bead
Sure it's slow, but this Book has an easygoing charm (and a pretty easy challenge) that'll make it appeal to young gamers. Older players will probably give it a read, but it's doubtful they'll give it a prime spot in their library.
Walt Disney's The Jungle Book is a standard movie adaption released in 1994. Essentially the game developers designed a gaming engine flexible enough to be adapted across some very different systems, resulting in six fairly different versions of basically the same game engine. It's a nice platform game (both horizontally and vertically scrolling). You get to play as Mowgli (of course), to shoot at, err, throw fruit at all kinds of critters, climb trees etc.