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Kangaroo

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Released: 1983

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Atari / Sun

Submitted by: Alex Holmes

Another fine home converstion by Atari.

Being a big fan of the arcade original as a youngster, I fell in love with this game when I got it for my 2600.

Story wise its a fairly straight forward affair, you play as a mother kangaroo who's baby is stranded at the top of each stage, and you must climb up and save him.  At the side of each stage are two trees, on which enemy monkeys climb up and down, jumping off onto the main stage itself to attack by throwing apples.  Plus an apple will appear at the top of the level and bounce along until its directly over you, and when it is it will fall, taking you with it should it hit you.  This isnt really a problem when your lower down, but when you get higher up you must time jumps and climbing carefully to avoid being hit.

In your defence you can punch both enemies and falling apples which will award a points bonus, plus extra points are earned by collecting the fruits on each stage.  They start with strawberries but once collected, other fruits can be spawned by ringing the levels bell, and each time they increase in value so there are some high scoring opportunities for players willing to backtrack a few times each level.

The game has just three stages, but once completed you are sent back to the start to try to rack up a high score. The difficulty increases, such as the falling apples are faster and more often, and the enemy monkeys move a lot quicker and throw more than one apple.

Despite the limited levels on offer, and missing the classic (and infuriating) "cage level" of the arcade original, Kangaroo has excellent replay value.