When I started playing the Atari 2600 as a child, I had no idea how many of the Atari games were simply ports from the arcade machines. One of my very favorite video games was Jungle Hunt. It was much later–like last week–that I realized that the game was also originally an arcade game.
Now I wish I could find the machine, because I’d love to give it a try. I loved the game because it actually had an ending, something that so many Atari 2600 games were missing. Most of my cartridges involved gameplay that simply got faster and faster until my reflexes–or any human reflexes–simply could not keep up. The lasers just flew too fast, or there were too many bugs to shoot, or like in Pitfall, your time simply expired.
But in Jungle Hunt you could actually complete a quest, albeit a brief one. The game had several levels. First you would swing through the vines, lest you fall to a hideous doom below.
Then it was into a crocodile infested river. The Atari version is pretty funny, because although I think you’re fighting the beasts with a knife, it just looks like you’re giving them a pixelated, pink karate chop.
After the river you have to jump over a few boulders of various sizes. This was harder than it sounds. There was something kind of skewed about the perception–at least that’s what I told myself when I would die.
Last of all you had to save your lovely maiden, who was imprisoned by cannibals. The cannibals make this fairly easy for you–they jump back and forth and all you have to do is either jump over them or run under them. They don’t get sassy and threaten you with spears or anything useful. The best part of the game is the “Cannibal music” on this level.
Jungle Hunt had two difficulty settings, but there wasn’t much of a difference that I could see. Awesome game from an awesome time to be a kid.