I’ve played a lot of obscure Super Famicom games over the past 12 years. Some of them have been, shall we say, a tad queer. One of the weirdest games I’ve ever played is Jungle no Ouja Tarzan. Oh man. What can I say about this one. There are games we play and forget. And then there are games so bizarre that they stick in your crawl. They may not necessarily be great, but you remember them for their staunch peculiarity. While Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is a platformer (something the SNES has way too much of), it’s memorable if nothing else. Why? Let’s take a closer look…
Like so many Super Famicom games from the early-mid ’90s, Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is based off a Japanese anime. Watch that intro to set the mood. Things are about to go from weird to weirder…
Peace and tranquility doesn’t last for long however; it wouldn’t be much of a game if it did, eh? Pretty soon you come across rifle-toting poachers, and it’s your job to save your animal friends.
Angry that his jungle has been invaded, Tarzan unleashes all his might. This offensive technique is his most potent.
Catch some air with the aid of your primate pals.
Punch the rock and it’ll slide over, taking out Mr. Poacher Foot Soldier.
Tarzan is no rocket scientist but even he knows that a herd of animals running in the opposite direction is a bad sign. Whatever’s chasing them off has to be a serious threat. So what does he do? Why, strike a silly pose of course!
Next up Tarzan finds himself in China. Why? Because. He’s good at hanging on ledges, the chap.
Certain blocks are breakable but beware of the occasional spike pit lurking below. Press either shoulder button to scroll the screen up or down in order to spot potential hazards. It’s always nice when a platformer affords you such a luxury.
The trick is to stand still — the fireball goes past you harmlessly if you do. Why this is, who in the heck knows. So walk a little bit, pause and repeat until you get yourself in striking distance.
These cramped areas cause extra grief for Tarzan as it eliminates his jump kick but no matter. You just have to exercise a bit more caution.
This attack can be aimed downward, straight ahead or vertically.
Brrrr! To keep warm, do the Running Man. Duh.
You gotta love how a rope is conveniently placed there. Don’t the bad guys check these levels first? Then again, it’s no worse than leaving meat in a barrel I suppose. Yup, you can take the boy out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the boy.
Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is just your standard semi-competent but not excellent platformer. Its main appeal is the protagonist and the strange lands he finds himself in. So while it may play like a glut of many other SNES platformers I could name, at least it’s one that leaves a lasting impression. Later in the game you’ll find yourself in places such as Las Vegas and even a haunted castle. While it’s enjoyable to some degree and has a bit of wacky charm to it, what hampers it is Tarzan’s mobility, or lack thereof. He’s not, shall we say, the fleetest of foot. Navigating him can be a little annoying at times thanks to the slight hitch in his get-along. His jumping ability is pretty lacking as well.
Other than that, it’s about a 5.5 to 6.5 out of 10 game, depending on your level of tolerance for these less-than-stellar me-too platformers. It’s decent and made more interesting thanks to Tarzan. It’s definitely a notch or two below Go Go Ackman and Ghost Sweeper Mikami. And those games, mind, are several notches below DoReMi Fantasy (which I view as Super Famicom’s best platformer).
Still, Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is worth a look especially for the diehard SNES fan who enjoys his or her platformers. It’s something of a guilty pleasure, for sure.