The apes are close by… I can hear them…
Actually, they sound more like chimpanzees than apes. But why pick on such a minor flaw when there are so many big ones to go after? Congo is based on the Michael Crichton book/movie of the same name. Nobody at our offices has seen the movie, but if you really must have something with the Congo name on it, buy the book. Its cheaper and a helluva lot better.
The game itself is a first-person Doom style shooter. You begin your adventure in the Congo Jungle. Your plane has crashed and you have a tropical disease. (Your disease makes your vision go woozy on occasion) You must find your crash site, and the antidote to the virus. You must eventually make your way through the ruins of Zinj city and the caves underneath. Standing in your way are mutant gorillas, giant mosquitoes, voodoo totems, big goofy lizards, and (no joke) flying monkeys (Fly my pretties! Fly!).
Among the objects you can pick up are antidotes, health packs, diamonds, and a variety of weapons. You begin with a pistol, and can move up to a machine gun, an elephant gun, an homing bazooka, and a ‘phasic laser’ that requires your diamonds for recharge.
The 3D terrain mapping is smooth and accurate and is done by the same engine as Jumping Jack’s previous release, Ghen War. The jungle can get a little confusing with all the dense foliage, but the overhead auto-map makes it navigable. Another good feature is that your gun auto-tracks to a certain extent, helping you to aim. The worst part of the game is the enemies. These attackers aren’t rendered, are badly animated, and are just plain stupid looking. Unfortunately, as they are such a major part of the game, they are impossible to ignore.
On the plus side, both the sound and video clips are well done. The jungle noises and low key music fit the game nicely. The production values of the video clips are high. One of the plagues of CD-ROM games has been the inclusion of some of the worst video ever seen on the planet. Congo’s high quality video is refreshing and even worth watching, but it makes the game suffer that much more by comparison.
This game looks like it was rushed through production so that the timing might coincide with the movie release, T-shirt merchandising, etc. Its not the first game to suffer from this malady, and unfortunately, it won’t be the last.