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Kangaroo - The Atari Times


Punching monkeys and saving babies
by Dan Loosen

September 20, 2005
I used to play Kangaroo non-stop after I picked it up for a rummage sale in the mid-80's for a quarter, and looking back I don't really understand why. Sure, the game has some appeal and some challenge, but I really don't understand why I liked it so much now.

The graphics are no where near good, not even for the 2600. Your Kangaroo looks sort of like a Kangaroo... or maybe a rabbit. I think I would have been completely confused had this game not been named "Kangaroo" about what I was. If you duck, suddenly your rabbit looks like a completely different rabbit -- this one made out of plywood or something. The enemy monkeys look more like spiders. The levels have fruit which you can grab for points, that look horrendous. In fact, the only thing that this game has going for it graphically is the nice looking bell that is on every level. Pretty sad for a 2600 game released in 1983.

The sounds aren't that great either. The hopping of your rabbit.. erm, Kangaroo sounds enjoyable for about five seconds. The sounds of you hopping and punching also get old very quickly. When you hit the bell, an annoying song plays. Again, this is quite disappointing for a game that was released in 1983.

The control is actually not that good. I usually give 2600 games a control rating of 90-95% because there just isn't much that you can screw up with a four-way joystick and a single button, but Kangaroo manages to somehow screw it up. If you fall off a platform of any height, you are dead. Adding to this, your jumps take forever to do, and often times you have to plan when to jump in advance to miss whatever the spiders... or monkeys, or whatever are throwing at you. It is not an enjoyable game to control.

At the end of the day though, I am still attracted to this game for some reason. I want to make sure that momma makes it to the top to save her baby. There is something oddly enjoyable about this title that makes me keep coming back to it, so regardless of the fact that it has poor graphics, sound and control, it is going to get a decent rating. If you can find it cheaply -- and I'm sure you can -- it might be worth trying out yourself!


(c) Atari

Atari's answer to Donkey Kong.
Somehow, punching monkeys is more fun than jumping over barrels.
One slight misstep and you'll fall!
System: 2600
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Platformer
Graphics Score: 25%
Sound & Music Score: 10%
Gameplay Score: 65%
Control Score: 15%

Final Score: 60%

Reader Comments for Kangaroo

I LOVE Kangaroo! by Gregory D. George on 2006-09-15 23:27:32
I've never quite understood it, but I absolutely love this game. There's just something really satisfying about punching monkeys, grabbing fruit, and jumping carefully on the platforms. The 2600 version does a great job of replicating the feel of the arcade, but without the graphics.
Better than the Atari 2600 Donkey Kong by Randy Johnson on 2014-07-24 17:30:52
Everybody who has played this game knows that it's a Donkey Kong clone. I've always liked the arcade Donkey Kong far more than the arcade Kangaroo. But the Atari 2600 Kangaroo is better than Coleco's 2600 Donkey Kong. The 2600 Kangaroo has three screens. The 2600 DK only has two.
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