My 2 and 4 year old nephews are obsessed with Jungle Book right now. My parents’ house is filled with Jungle Book related books, DVDs and toys so it is only natural that I was reminded of the platformer classic for the Sega Mega/Genesis. Before this review I hadn’t played the game in perhaps 20 years so I do beg your pardon but the nostalgia is strong in this one.
Besides that, Virgin just has a fantastic track record of Disney licensed games so I was sure Jungle book is just as good as Aladdin and Lion King.
I played the game through so here is what I think of it.
Jungle Book plays like a common platformer but most of the stages revolve around finding red diamonds before you can reach the end of the stage. This more open, exploration type of action feels more free and fluid than just going from A to B like in the other Disney games. At the end of some stages you have a boss and you are rewarded with bonus levels and points for finding as much stuff as you can.
As for Mowgli himself; he jumps and throws projectiles such as bananas, boomerang and rock depending on what power ups you pick up. His movements feel extremely tight and you are in complete control of his jumping which makes traversing the open stages, climbing and jumping between vines feel extra nice.
As you can see the graphics in Jungle Book is some of the best you can see in the 16-bit era. Sprites as extremely well done and the stages as so vibrant and colorful that you can easily say that the graphics still hold up today.
The cherry on top is the amazing soundtrack. I have been critical of the Mega Drive’s sound chip in the past but here it is utilized beautifully. Of course the game has all the best songs from the movie so you will be humming the themes days after you clear the game.
Jungle Book is of course aimed at the younger generation so it is quite easy to get through. Sure there is a hard mode but the difficulty revolves more around you having to explore more to get more red diamonds. Still it presents a fair challenge, easy mode should be fine for my nephews when they get like 6 years old 😀
The bosses are not super easy though, King Louie took me a few tries, as did Shera Khan. One stage also gave me some trouble, the one where King Louie’s castle ruins are crumbling down and you have to jump between crumbing blocks with nothing but death below. That stage offered a nice challenge and a needed variety in a game that plays very similarly all the way through.
All in all Jungle Book was a short and sweet game to play through, and I probably will try out hard mode soon since the gameplay and aesthetics are so super tight.
Highly recommended game especially for your young relatives.
If you like this one also give the SNES version a try, it is pretty solid but does not feel as authentic as the Sega version.
Lasting appeal 7,5
Has it aged well? 9
Overall 8,5 a very good game