Recommended Gaming: MAME GP32
Congo Bongo is a quirky platformer that was released by Sega in 1983. It utilised an isometric viewpoint which was almost unique in the arcades, though frequently seen around this time in home computer games. It's pretty simple to get through the first couple of levels but things tighten up quickly. Control can be a little tricky, as diagonals are used, like Q-Bert. Once you've got the hang of it it's a lot easier.
First off you're treated to a neat cut-scene where Bongo the gorilla creeps up on you while you're sleeping and gives you a 'hot foot' with a burning log. Ouch! You vow revenge and enter the first level. Hang on, doesn't this sound kind of familiar? Yes, I'm sure the Sega developers got a lot of 'inspiration' from the arcade favourite Donkey Kong. But it's really quite a different game to play so we can forgive them.
All you have to do on the first level is climb your way up to the gorilla (I really could be writing this about Donkey Kong couldn't I?), avoiding coconuts he throws at you and monkeys that roam around. The monkeys are not lethal! They'll climb onto your back but can be dislodged by jumping repeatedly. If 3 monkeys hop on you they take you out, but it's not until later levels that that becomes really possible. Also keep in mind that they can be avoided by hopping over them, or using the full width of the platforms. Just as well we have that isometric view now isn't it? Once you get to Bongo's level he'll take off to level 2.
The lake level can be tricky as you have to take a circuitous route to get to the end, and the islands are inhabited by snakes that are deadly to touch. But you'll see lily pads, so do a Frogger and hop on one for a short cut. Hippos appear for a while before submerging and can be used to bridge gaps too. Not too hard so far.
The third level is where it starts to get tough. You'll start in a mole hole which offers great protection from charging rhinos. You'll need to scoot to another hole quickly or a native will appear and fill it in on top of you. Don't jump in the puddles, you'll drown. And watch out for those rampaging rhinos, you can jump over them but it requires some good control. Climb the rock at the end to get to Bongo and it's on to level 4.
The lagoon here is similar to level 2. You can hop onto rocks, lily pads, swimming fish and hippos to get through this level, but watch out for the charging rhinos at the end, after coming this far you'll be annoyed if you blow it. Once past them you'll creep up on Bongo as he sleeps and take revenge, giving him a hot foot of his own. Take that!
Naturally neither of you learn a lesson after all that, so it's back to level 1 with increased difficulty.
Congo Bongo is a game you'll probably play a few times, get ok at and put aside. But I bet you'll be like me and want come back for a session now and then, as the mechanics of this charming little game really stick in the back of your mind.
You'll find Congo Bongo in the Sega folder on Mame GP32. It runs great with frameskip 1.
Reviewed by: Alyinsanfran