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Cuthbert in the Jungle

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Released: 1983

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Dragon 32/64

Publisher: Microdeal

Developer: Tom Mix Software

Submitted by: Ian Marks

I had a friend in the 80’s and he owned a Dragon… because of this everyone felt sorry for him, and offered encouraging words. We sniggered behind his back because he had a crap Welsh computer and we had English Sinclairs and BBC’s. We could spend our evenings playing Knight Lore, Starquake and Elite whilst pretending to do our homework whilst all he had was Dragon Trek. How we laughed.

Then two games came out that made us green (maybe even Dragon background green) with envy. One was Donkey King – a brilliant conversion of an arcade hit (can you guess which one, it’s heavily disguised), the other was Cuthbert in the Jungle (Trapfall to US CoCo owners).

Cuthbert in the Jungle wasn’t just a brilliant copy of Pitfall by Activision, it actually played slightly better than Pitfall in my opinion. The graphics were brilliantly designed, and the animation smooth and fluid. Also the Dragon’s rather strange analogue joysticks worked well on Cuthbert and actually added to the game experience. All the Pitfall elements were there, logs, crocodiles, water, snakes and ladders. It’s a truly brilliant game, and so much better than the official port of Pitfall on the Spectrum it was untrue.

There are a couple of problems with Cuthbert in the Jungle. Firstly the name Cuthbert is a completely upper class twit name. Who on earth is called Cuthbert? Also people with a name like Cuthbert sound more suited to musical theatre than jungle exploring. Secondly how on earth did Microdeal think they would get away with such a carbon copy of an existing game… and in truth they didn’t. Activision sued and they had to stop production of the game. I also believe they rebranded the US version as their own version of Pitfall on the Tandy computer – I may have just made that bit up though… it’s happened before.

We all had to eat our humble pie hats and beg my friend to let us play with his micro from Wales. It didn’t last, as no other great games were released for the Dragon. However two years later he bought a Commodore 64 with a disk drive and Uridium, so we all had to go begging again.