Jungle Book

A friendly monkey!
A friendly monkey!

It’s nice—albeit very difficult—to write a review for a game I actually like. It happens so infrequently when reviewing all these SNES games that I’m usually a little taken aback and hard-pressed to find adjectives that aren’t insulting or gross. Much of my writing vocabulary is fashioned around vitriol and mockery, so when I find something I enjoy it usually takes me a while to dust off the warm fuzzies for the task. The Jungle Book is making me work, and I think I resent it just a little for that. It’s far easier to rely on my “angry guy who hates games and fun” gimmick than it is to try and say something complimentary. Here goes, I guess.

There’s nothing about The Jungle Book that appeals to my sensibilities in what I’m searching for when it comes to entertainment: it’s a Disney property, so it’s obviously aimed at young kids; I have a well-known distrust of children raised by wolves (with good reason, I think); and so far I’ve been unable to murder anyone, let alone run them over.

I can’t murder anyone with a car—so what about this game is fun? The fluid animation and winsome music are both eye and ear catching, but it’s the gameplay that’s locking this game in the “enjoyable” filing cabinet in my head, leaving it screaming for help until its air inevitably runs out. The control of Mowgli is what makes The Jungle Book. I haven’t had this much fun controlling a half-naked boy in the jungle since I ran that cartel in Colombia*!

Mowgli is a quick little urchin: he can jump high and far for diamonds that are mysteriously scattered about the jungle. Don’t ask where he stores them. Mowgli needs to be fast since there are wide variety of animals that want to murder and presumably eat him: you’ve got your antagonistic simians tossing some kind of spiky fruit at you, snakes that disdainfully spit their venom and thorny plants that have thorny projectiles.

“Thorny Projectiles” is a pretty good name for a band.

You navigate past these dangers by scrambling up onto rocks and swinging from vines, just as you’d imagine someone raised by wolves would. Wolves love swinging on vines; if you don’t believe me, contact David Attenborough and ask him to relate the story of how he lost his left ear. Once you’ve heard that story, see if you can engage him in phone sex, since I assume that would be AMAZING.

SNES games are like any other type of media in that 95% of them are pretty much garbage. The Jungle Book sits happily in that remaining 5%, waving to you as Shere Khan slowly chews on its shredded foot. Get over there and chew on that foot with him by playing this game!

* Complete fabrication. It was Venezuela and I was second-in-command of the cartel.

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