Review: Kangaroo (Atari 5200)

In this review, things get jumpy as we play the Atari 5200 game Kangaroo. We find out how well this adventure game plays.

This game was released in 1983. It is a port from an arcade game.

You play a boxing glove wearing kangaroo. Apparently, you are also the mother of the little kangaroo trapped at the top of the level. The goal is to rescue the baby kangaroo in each level.

Along the way, you’ll encounter various, er, objects. Apparently, they are monkeys, but I thought they were birds at one point. These monkeys throw red objects at you. I’m going to guess these are supposed to be apples, but I could be wrong on that.

You do have a weapon: your boxing gloves. If you are close enough to an enemy, you can punch it out. A successful punch nets you 200 points. Your movement is also a great asset. Up allows the kangaroo to jump. Down allows the kangaroo to duck. In the first level, this is primarily used to avoid enemy fire.

You’ll also encounter ladders. You can use up and down on the joystick to move up and down on them.

In later levels, you’ll encounter gaps in the floor that you’ll need to jump over. You can also encounter a puzzle which forces you to move a platform up to make your rescue attempt. Oh, and a drop of a couple pixels means instant death. The platform has to be above the floor.

What I found with this game is that the movement is really clunky. The game shows extreme sensitivity to a fall. Even the slighted drop means you die. Even when the drop is only the height of your foot, you die. In addition to this, the kangaroo isn’t very good at jumping. Even the smallest looking gap requires the full length of your jump to cross.

The gameplay itself is is very basic. While the variety in the levels is nice to see, I found myself getting pretty bored with this game rather quickly. I made an effort to play this game multiple times to see if it would grow on me, but it just became more and more painful the more I played it. In the end, I never found this game to be any fun.

The graphics were rather poor. It is hard to make out what the enemies are. You need them to be standing in a certain way in order to properly identify what they are to begin with. Trees are just large single color brown things with limbs. The background is stark black. It’s very plain to say the least.

The jingles are about the only bright spot. While they do get a little annoying after a while, they do manage make this game a less painful experience. the sound effects are, on the other hand, rather basic.

Overall, this is not the greatest game in the world. It has clunky movement. While the level variety is nice, the game ends up being less and less fun the more you play it. The graphics are extremely basic and the enemies can be hard to even a make out. The jingles work well, but the sound effects are rather basic. So, I would personally not recommend this one.

Died on level 4
High score: 8,900

General gameplay: 11/25
Replay value: 4/10
Graphics: 4/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 42%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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