Title : Disney's The Jungle Book
Publisher : Virgin Interactive
Developer : Eurocom / Virgin
Genre : Action / Platformer
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1994
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $25 - $30
You're probably confused as to why I'm talking about a Disney game for the NES where CAPCOM wasn't even involved. Hell, you're probably also wondering why you've never seen this game before out for the Nintendo. Well, it was one of the last, if not the VERY last game to be released for the NES by a third party developer, and not to mention it barely saw the light of day in the US compared to the PAL release.
While not even worth that much at $20 - $30 for just the cart, it's still a great game for anyone to have in their collection solely for historical purposes. Not to mention that The Jungle Book was a pretty damn good Disney flick, and Baloo was hysterical. Although, I did like him better in Tail Spin.
I didn't even know this game existed. By 1994, NES was long gone in my opinion and everyone had moved on to the SNES. In fact this game was only really somewhat popular on the Sega Mega Drive version. All others (which there were a bunch, including on the Gameboy, NES, Game gear) sort of just faded into the wind.
But, we're here to review it. And although this game probably should have never seen the light of day, it's out there, ready to be added to your NES shelf. Let's go save Mowgli from Shere Khan. KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNN!! Not Star Trek, but had to do it.
THE JUNGLE BOOK is a platformer by every definition of the word. You'll control Mowgli in each of the ten levels, sending him on a jumping-like-mad journey to grab diamonds in order to move on to the next level. You'll have to deliver these diamonds to some of the famed characters from the film like Baloo, King Louie, and that snake...I HATED THAT SNAKE with his damn hypno eyes. Freak.
But, you're in a jungle. And what's in the jungle? Evil jungle critters like snakes, jaguars, bats, and zombies. Kidding about the zombies. You're left with a choice then. Avoid the monsters, or throw some bananas at them.
Powerups will be strewn across the level which will help you out such as invincibility items in the shape of coconuts, or an upgraded boomerang banana.
I'd be lying if I said this game wasn't a good platformer, because it honestly is. It feels a lot like the Super Nintendo version with washed out graphics. The gameplay is solid, the level design is decent enough, and the challenge is pretty even throughout the game. But it's a platformer, and we all know platformers usually suffer from one major problem.
Mowgli is stiff, and you always feel like you're jumping either way too short, or way too long. You'll never figure out how to adjust your launching off the platforms, and most deaths will be caused by you falling out of the treeline and tumbling to your death on the jungle ground below. Either that, or accidentally running into a snake that blends in with the background.
I must say, that Virgin did a great job of taking over after Disney and Capcom went their separate ways. Sure, the game didn't hit it off on the NES, but it already had versions on the next gen systems to ensure somewhat of a success.
Visually, like I said earlier, it's like someone grabbed the SNES version and just sent it back down to the NES. It's not bad, but it's not great. There is a real lack of color scheme going on, so everything gets a bit of that brown coat of paint. That poo poo brown.
At least the music is somewhat decent. But, it is MUCH improved in the SNES version. Sorry, I keep on comparing it to the 16-bit, but hell, the 16-bit is basically what you should be playing. If I had to compare the two, they are the same game, but the SNES went through a massive overhaul and they fixed the controls.
Still - decent enough that it deserves a semi good grade in the long run.
Final Score (out of 5)
Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming