Congo Bongo is an isometric platform arcade game released by Sega in 1983. The game has come to be seen as Sega's answer to the highly successful Donkey Kong game that was released two years prior. The player takes the role of a red-nosed safari hunter who tries to catch an ape named 'Bongo'. The hunter seeks Bongo to exact revenge for an apparent practical joke in which Bongo set fire to the hunter's tent, giving him a literal 'hotfoot'. The game was named by Peter W. Gorrie who was the CFO of Sega at that time. Analysis of the game's ROM code indicates that it was very likely coded at least in part by the company Ikegami Tsushinki.
Congo Bongo's gameplay is similar to other popular arcade games of the time, most notably Frogger and Donkey Kong, but is viewed in an isometric perspective, or oblique perspective in some versions. The protagonist has no offensive abilities and thus, the player must jump to avoid enemies (and obstacles) to complete a level. Like Donkey Kong, the levels are composed of a series of four single screens that loop in a higher difficulty when completed.
Sega's ports for the Atari 2600, 5200, 8-bits and the C-64 featured only two of the four levels from the arcade original, while the ColecoVision release is missing the level 'Snake Lake'.
- Screen 1: Primate Peak – This level most resembles Donkey Kong; the player must travel to the top of a hill while avoiding coconuts being thrown by a large gorilla. Also walking around the level are several small monkeys who attempt to grab the player. They can be shaken off by jumping in place, but if three of these monkeys attach to the player, the protagonist will be thrown off the cliff face.
- Screen 2: Snake Lake – This level contains a grassland that is connected to a series of square platforms with thin pathways between. The player must avoid scorpions on the grass, snakes on the platform, and time movement with hippos in order to complete the level.
- Screen 3: Rhino Ridge – This level takes place in a wide-open savanna environment where the player needs navigates around rhinos, charging in different directions. Oddly enough, stepping in the puddles will result in death, but the player can hide in the empty holes. The rhinos can also be jumped over.
- Screen 4: Lazy Lagoon – This level closely resembles Frogger, as the player must cross a body of water by walking on and off various lily pads, logs, hippos, and large fish.
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You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, buy a suitable USB controller in Amazon or in some of your favorite online stores.