Jungle Hunt was an old arcade game released by Taito way back in 1982.

The story

Jungle Hunt is a reworked version of Jungle King. Taito was forced to stop production of Jungle King after being sued by the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs for unauthorized use of the Tarzan character. So they changed a few things up and rereleased the title as "Jungle Hunt". They later reworked the graphics and released this game two more times (as Pirate Pete, and Jungle Boy).

This title has been ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Sega Master System, Commodore 64, ColecoVision, Intellivision, and Apple II.

The game

In Jungle Hunt you play a nerdy looking professor type with a safari hat (a far cry from the cool looking Tarzan character you got to play in Jungle King).

Jungle Hunt has four levels, each of which could be considered a separate game in their own right. So I will discuss them separately. It is notable that this game scrolls right to left, while the vast majority of scrollers go from left to right, although most people probably wouldn't even notice that.

The first level may have been the best level in the game. You use your jump button to move from right to left across a series of swinging ropes, while avoiding the monkeys that can send you falling to the ground. This level is easy to master, but you do have time time your jumps to make it to the next vine. Many years later Nintendo would borrow heavily from this sequence for their hit game Donkey Kong Country.

The second level is an swimming sequence. You move your explorer around in the crocodile infested water. You have a breath meter here that you must watch to avoid drowning (simply swim up to the surface to get more air). You can stab the crocodiles with your knife, but only when their mouths are not all the way open (I choose to dodge them myself).

The third level is a rock jumping sequence. Simply use your joystick and jump button to leap over rolling boulders as you climb a hill on the way to your eventual goal (this sequence has also been "borrowed" from heavily in dozens of later games).

The fourth and final level has you guiding your explorer through a native village. You have to jump the villagers while their spears are down, and eventually make your way towards the un-named girl who is being lowered into a pot to be boiled for supper.

You then get to view a short "I Love You" ending, and then the game begins again with increased difficulty.

The Machine

Jungle Hunt used the familiar "Taito Classic" cabinet that was used for a variety of early 1980's games. This was a rather short cabinet, and had a monitor that was laid back at more than a 45 degree angle. Most of these cabinets featured the same painted sideart which consisted of an ornate border and a "Taito" logo. Many other early Taito games will plug right into your Jungle Hunt machine without modification (although the boardsets for these early games tend to be expensive).

The marquee to this title showed a "Jungle Hunt" logo, surrounded by a couple of green lines (this was produced very quickly, and cannot compare to the Jungle King marquee).

The monitor bezel was decorated with a green design, while the control panel overlay also had a few green line graphics. All in all this machine was not nearly as attractive as the Jungle King one was, probably due to the fact that Taito rushed this one out the door in a few weeks.

This title used six (count em, six), processors. It used a pair of Z80s to run the main program data (one at 4 Mhz and one at 3Mhz). While it used four AY-8910 processors to do audio chores (all of them running at 1.5 Mhz). The program code was stored on 21 EPROM chips, each having 4K of storage.

You can convert this title back to Jungle King simply by replacing the EPROMs on the games PCB. There are several people online who can do this rather cheaply (I recommend Bob Roberts at www.therealbobroberts.com as he is friendly, and is one of the most knowledgeable arcade techs alive today).

Where to play

You can play this title on your Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Sega Master System, ColecoVision, Intellivision, and Apple II. Those cartridges can be had fairly cheaply on eBay. Or you can play the original arcade version using the MAME emulator.

Although fun, I can't really recommend this one for adding to your arcade game collection. The gameplay quickly becomes repetitive, and you would probably find that your spanking new Jungle Hunt machine would rarely if ever get played. Of course you should always buy any game if the price is right and you have room (I buy anything that is $100 or less, assuming I have both the space and the money at the time).

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