King Kong
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3  |  King Klone (Clone)
Darryl B. , 10/3/2005 12:21:31 AM

Tigervision was a bit of a different video game company, as they created some interesting take-offs on various common themes for several of their games, like Marauder was an interesting version of Berzerk, where the screens would connect together (no new maze = you can't return to the previous screen[s], unlike with Berzerk), and the robots were cloaked until you got close to them. Jawbreaker was an interesting spin of Pac-Man, where you had to navigate through rotating holes in order to have access to the onscreen maze. And then Springer started off sort of with a Q*Bert theme, but your rabbit could also attack dragons in the sky (?), and then after you collected all the onscreen objects that you needed, you then had to jump into the sun (say WHAT?!).

But then there was King Kong.

Oh, gag. One thing that I never knew about the video gaming business until about a year or two ago is that, in case a video game company wants to try to get a piece of a big-selling pie (i. e. a hot arcade game), but someone else (like Atari) had the big bucks to license the home-exclusive rights, and you couldn't, you could make a knock-off of the game, change a few game elements, and give the gaming company (with Hot Arcade Property A) some money to look the other way once your knock-off came out so they wouldn't take you to court.

That being said, I'll bet Tigervision gave Nintendo (and possibly Coleco, once they came out with the 2600 version of Donkey Kong) some money so they couldn't get sued with their rip-off known as King Kong.

I remember reading a slamming review of King Kong in the long-dead Joystik magazine, calling it a "rip-off if there ever was one!" I was kind of curious to play it, but NOT enough to pay for it.

Well, several years later, I bought an Atari 7800 and a bunch of games from a friend, and King Kong was one of the ones in the bunch. Ugh. Big ol', crappy rip-off indeed; you can't get much worse than this.

So, Kong's at the top of a bunch of girders with your girlfriend, of course. A bunch of bombs start quickly heading down towards the bottom (and YOU). The graphics aren't that great for a 2600 game (as usual), since you control a skinny stick figure, the bombs are big blocks, and Kong looks more like a pixelated, giant mutant teddy bear (that steals girlfriends; riiiiiight), rather than a giant ape, although your girlfriend doesn't look too bad...except for the dress she's wearing flares out, like she has on a giant lamp shade from the waist down.

The sounds are pretty annoying too, and, once you give a test jump or two to see how those work as you run along, you quickly realize there is NO WAY you can jump high enough over a bomb when it comes close enough to run over you...well, except for the screwy collision detection, that is, as you can safely pass through a bomb. Sheez (plus the bombs can somehow squeeze through these very small holes in the platforms as well). If you can make it to the top, you'll earn a bonus (slowly! The scoring's pretty slow), go onto another building, and another exact same building, and another, and another...NO changes! Yawn! Even though Donkey Kong wasn't that great of a port (despite the high rating on this site, but it's all an opinion anyway), at least it had TWO screens, and was a bit better than this clunker; only thing this has over that version is that it's got several variations and two players as well (which Donkey Kong didn't).

Having a weapon to stop the bombs in their tracks would have definitely helped, but all you have to help you out (although sometimes it ends up putting you in harm's way, though) is an occasional, special blue bomb that, if you're able to hop over it, will magically transport you up a girder level. Nice, unless it places you right in the path of another bomb. Yeah, that makes sense...along with, once bombs reach the bottom of the screen, they start coming back up...so hurry your pixelated butt up and make it to the top! (in horror movie announcer voice: "They...ALWAYS...come...back...")

One thing that amazed me was my friend's high score on this was 10,000, since I don't see how anyone could stand it for very long; the gameplay gets old fast. And the gameplay on this one -- even though it's not good -- might be solid enough for a 4, but since it's a rip-off, and such a poor one at that...no. It gets a 3 from me, and that's it (in Soup Nazi voice from the Seinfeld episode: "no 4 for YOU!"). 3/10

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