Congo Bongo

[Intro Sequence] [First Level] [Near The Top] [Second Level, First Half] [Standing on a Hippo] [Second Level, Second Half]
"It looks as if Sega was inspired by Coleco's release of Donkey Kong. This port is pretty awful, hands down. I have played the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Commodore 64, and Intellivision ports, and the Colecovision port is the only decent one among the four. All the things that made Donkey Kong a horrible port of a popular arcade title have made Congo Bongo equally horrible here. The graphics are barely recognizable and poorly drawn; the play control is not very responsive; successfully jumping over water hazards is hit-or-miss; and worst of all there are only two out of four levels! Three is understandable for home conversions, but why only two? Was this game rushed or something?
"The screenshots are worth about a thousand words in this case. First of all, the game has only just begun in Screenshot 2, but the score is 4800? Nope -- the readout constantly switches between the score and the bonus timer, which I find very distracting. Second of all, does the first level look a little barren? Looks can be deceiving; there are more coconuts in play then what is seen in the two screenshots of the First Level. That's because they are multiplexed. In other words, one sprite is used to render the images for all the coconuts and its position is changed during every iteration of the game cycle. The end results are flickering graphics and compromised collision detection, making the game look even cheaper.
"What one will also observe by the last three screenshots is that due to a combination of hardware limitations and poor coding, the turtles, hippos, fish, and rhinos do not all appear onscreen at once. Instead, only the turtles and hippos appear at first until the player reaches one of the center islands. Then the sprites are switched to display the fish and rhinos.
"After setting Congo Bongo on fire, a little tune plays and the message "CONGRATULATIONS!" is displayed followed by another short message. Every time the player finishes the two levels, the short message changes. This gives the game a little bit of replay value, as it makes one curious to see all the ending messages in the same way one plays Lock 'n' Chase to find out what all the level treasures are. In the short time span between the time I purchased the game (for $10) and traded it away (with only little regret, despite its rarity) I managed to see three ending messages. Have the few people who own this game and have cared to play it more than once seen more than three ending messages? There are ten total.
"It's a shame that Sega didn't have time to release any more games before the crash. Sega might have been able to redeem itself with the other games listed on the back of the manual. Still, I wonder why Sega even tried to release Congo Bongo on early systems at all. It's almost as laughable as the attempts at Commando and Double Dragon on the Atari 2600, and the attempts at Zaxxon on the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. Unless you are a completist collector, I suggest you avoid buying this game at all, let alone at an exhorbitant price." Rating: 1/5 -- Mike Hayes
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