Review by skcin7

"Good But Not Great"

27 years after the Walt Disney film was released, The Jungle Book became a NES game designed and developed by Virgin Interactive in August 1994. The game follows along with Walt Disney's 1967 animated film also entitled "The Jungle Book". The game features the same graphics, music, and characters from the movie. It's a relatively rare game. It was released in August 1994, making it one of the last games on the NES. This game is fun for all ages, 7 to 77.

At A Glance: The Jungle Book is a 2D side scrolling platform game that takes place in the jungle. The game goes along with Walt Disney's 1967 film, and many of the characters and situations have been adapted from the film. The main object of the game is to get to the end of the level, while collecting all the jewels that are scattered within the level. There are a total of 10 levels, some of which have a boss, other levels do not have a boss. This is one of the better games released by Virgin Interactive.

Game Plot: Like most NES games, not too much time is spent developing the story. However, the story IS still there, and a new event occurs after beating each level. For example, after beating Level 1, a screen will appear and say "Mowgli reaches the great tree where he reaches Kaa The Snake". These small sentences appear after every level to help develop the plot, but that's really about all that is stressed on the story. The story goes along with the Walt Disney 1967 film. Mowgli the boy has lived and is growing up in a jungle away from human civilization. Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear try to convince Mowgli to leave the jungle for human civilization.

Control: The control of this game is very well done. Thankfully, you can hold B to run, which is something that is very important when it comes to 2D side scrolling platform games. Mowgli is easy to navigate, and is not difficult to steer. You can move around at a good pace, and jumping isn't awkward or anything. When I first started playing this game, I had some trouble grabbing on to the vines, and would plummet to my death. Now this never happens to me, but that is the only fault with the control I have found.

Game Play: The Game Play of The Jungle Book is good but not great. The majority of the levels take place in the jungle. The object of the game is to collect all the jewels within the level. Jewels are scattered all around the level, sometimes in easy to access places, other times not so easy. As you progress to the end of the level, you MUST collect all the jewels. One thing that I hate is getting to the end of the level only to discover that you missed a jewel, so you have to retrace your steps until you finally find the one single jewel you overlooked. The amount of jewels is not constant; you need to collect a different amount of jewels depending on the level. One thing that I do not like about the game play is that there is a time limit. It usually starts around 5 minutes. Although popular 2D side scrolling games such as SMB have time limits, this game would be so much better without the time limit.

There are different items in the game that you can use. Most of the items can be obtained by killing an enemy, but some can be found just laying around. Some of the items include Bananas, Boomerangs, Invincibility, and some others. You can use these items that you pick up to harm enemies, bosses, become invincible, or some other things.

Graphics: This is the part of the game that is really thriving. The game has very good graphics for any NES game. Although, good graphics would be expected since it was released at the end of the NES in late 1994, but even compared to other 1994 released games, the graphics are superior. The graphics add a level of visual appeal to the game, which is always nice. Props to Virgin Interactive for good graphics. However great the graphics may be, graphics do not decide the fun factor, and therefore the real importance is the game play.

Sound: The sound is decent, but nothing special. Like many NES games, there is a different background song for different levels, which is always a good thing. The game has a wide variety of background songs, but were composed very mediocre. I'm not saying they're bad or anything, they're just plain average. The background songs are NSF versions of songs from the film, such as "Bear Necessities", a song from the film. As for sound effects, well some of them are nice, but once again, nothing special.

Enemies: There are many enemies in this game, all animals that you would expect to find in a jungle. There are Bears, Snakes, Monkeys, Bees, and many others. All the enemies have different properties and behaviors attributed to them. Some enemies require a different amount of hits to defeat them, but some other enemies, such as the Snake, cannot be killed. The enemies in this game do not have any artificial intelligence to them; they simply walk back and forth in conveniently placed positions, and you must not touch them. In addition to ordinary enemies, there are also some bosses in the game. Not every level has an ending boss. Bosses are actual main characters from the movie, and are always found at the end of a level. One other thing about the bosses is that they will not "activate" until you collect all the jewels within that level. For example, Kaa the Snake will stay asleep in Level 2 until you collect the jewels, and then you can fight him.

Levels: There is a total of 10 levels in the entire game. The levels are not easy by any means. The earlier levels will give you a challenge, and so will the later levels. They are very fun to play through, which increases the fun factor. Most of the levels have bright background colors, contributing to the visual appeal. In each level, collect all the jewels, and then get to the ending point. Some levels scroll from left to right, while some others scroll from down to up. Each level is designed very well; it's not just straight levels with enemies. There are obstacles, such as vines, trees, and conveniently placed enemies, that you must use your brain to get past.

Graphics: 9
Game play: 8
Sound: 5
Story: 5
Fun: 8
Overall: 8/10

Final Thought: This is a great game, and even though it's not phenomenal, it is still load of fun. I recommend adding it to your game library if you can find it. Look out for it at flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, Internet auctions, or anywhere else you may be able to get your hands on it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/20/05

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