In 1982, Sun Electronics created the game Kangaroo, which was distributed worldwide by Atari.
With gameplay inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s games Donkey Kong and Popeye, Kangaroo quickly became a very popular title for its time.
The Player takes the role of Mother Kangaroo, who is one of three kangaroos whose children have been kidnapped by evil monkeys. Yes, you heard right. Evil. Monkeys. (I hate those guys.) in the opening screens, we see three mother kangaroos bounding towards their kids, who are blindfolded and trapped at the right of the screen.
Our hero, Mother Kangaroo, has an incredibly poorly timed misstep, and falls off a limb between the two trees, and is forced to climb through treetop levels to try and save her child.
Starting at the bottom of a tree, and armed with only her boxing gloves, she hops, jumps and punches her way to the top, in a desperate attempt to save her child, Kid Kangaroo. The Evil Monkeys pursue her through the level, and throw apples and drop apple cores in an attempt to stop her from reaching her goal. Mother can punch the monkeys if she gets close enough, and can also knock the apples and cores out of the air with a well-timed punch. If the Player misses the punch, or gets tagged by an apple, she is knocked out.
Each stage offers some fruit that Mother Kangaroo can grab for extra points, and a bell that can be rung to replenish the food supply. All the while, the Bonus Counter is counting down. The Player scores extra points for completing the stage quickly, and there is the ability to point-press by going for the fruit and bells, if trying to achieve a higher score.
To add to her challenge, a Big Ape appears periodically to try and grab her boxing gloves, leaving her powerless to punch. If he’s successful in grabbing her gloves, he runs off, and she is only able to hold up a white flag as defense.
Once Mother Kangaroo makes it up to the top, she removes Kid Kangaroo’s blindfold, and they are reunited once more.
Unfortunately for her, the Evil Monkeys are insidious, and are able to steal her baby away once more, taking it onto a new level with new challenges. The second stage has a number of platforms that Mother Kangaroo has to navigate on her trip to the top. One wrong step, and she can be sent plummeting to the bottom, and losing one life.
After another successful rescue, these Evil Monkeys learn a new trick! They are now able to stand one atop another, and hold the cage high out of Mother Kangaroo’s reach. In this stage, she must now punch the monkey pyramid quickly – all the while dodging flying apples and monkey attacks – and bring her baby down to her level. But these Evil Monkeys aren’t just sitting around waiting for her to save Kid Kangaroo – oh no – they’re quickly climbing up the top of the vines to release an avalanche of apple cores onto our poor heroine!
The fourth stage presents a new challenge with even more ladders and platforms that Mother Kangaroo must now climb to get to save her baby…
Once the Player has successfully beaten each of the four stages, they progress to Level 2, where the levels become faster and harder. Not only has the pace increased, but the Evil Monkeys are faster and more challenging and the Big Ape makes more appearances. Each level provides a new cut scene, with the monkeys throwing (get this) items such as apples, monkeys, bells, tomatoes and once, even the Kid Kangaroo!
In the 80’s, I can recall having spent a good number of quarters playing Kangaroo, and have enjoyed trying to help Mother Kangaroo to the top of each level. I have personally cursed the Evil Monkeys and the Big Ape, and cheered as I’ve been able to save Kid Kangaroo. So, when you’re prepared to help Mother Kangaroo to save Kid Kangaroo from the Evil Monkeys, pop in a quarter, get ready to punch some apples and let’s hop to it!
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