Activision looks to rekindle its relationship with Edgar Rice Burroughs's famed lord of the monkeys, Tarzan, with a shiny new installment for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. Surprisingly well done, Disney's "Tarzan: Return to the Jungle" lets gamers follow the exploits of both a youngish and a more mature Tarzan, with the results being mostly fun.
It's a jungle out there
Basically a simple platformer, this latest Tarzan is extremely fast paced. The controls are suitably responsive, and it seems some thought was given toward how to best illustrate the ape-man's more acrobatic qualities.
Fittingly, players can expect to pull off more than a few successful vine swings with "Tarzan: Return to the Jungle." There are plenty of tricky jumps to master. But beyond the basic gameplay akin to platformers, Tarzan will also be called upon to hold his breath and swim around a few deep caverns.
Returning from the first Tarzan title, and in keeping with the look and feel from Disney's animated feature, players will be required to pull off a little bit of log surfing as well. Add to this mix the ability to toss the occasional spear at the many fierce predators or wild boars, plus opportunities to yodel for help to enlist the aid of the animal kingdom, and you've got all the skills necessary for one tasty little Tarzan adventure.
Me Tarzan, you Jane, where's Turk?
Rounding out the cast of human characters are Jane and the Professor. It's Tarzan's fondness for those two that leads him to some of his more notable adventures. But as the youngish Tarzan, players will have their hands full with Turk, his gorilla sidekick from the Disney films. The characters and everything within "Tarzan: Return to the Jungle" smacks of the original animated feature. Crocodiles, elephants, bounty hunters, and various monkey types are all suitably well animated. However without revealing too much of the games plot, there are a few dangerous dinosaurs as well.
What's all this then?
The on-screen displays are on the simple yet functional side. Players will be checking the health meter, remaining lives indicator, remaining spears indicator, and banana counter. Bananas are scattered around the levels, and obtaining enough of them will earn Tarzan extra lives.
Where's the beef?
The game is somewhat short however, and there are some frustratingly cheap places for the monkey king to blow it. Which, in turn, blows some of the games potential replay value, and our desire to dish out a higher overall rating. Slightly monotonous music isn't helping much, but it's fun to hear Tarzan's trademark jungle yodel. Missing as well with "Tarzan: Return to the Jungle" is a nod to multiplayer action, which seems odd since the previous title had a clever hide-and-seek two player mode.
Still, Activision and Disney's "Tarzan: Return to the Jungle" for the Game Boy Advance is not without its charms, so we're feeling good about giving it a solid 3 out of 5.