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GAMES 'Donkey' uses bongo beat



Published: Wed, April 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



It's only the second game to take advantage of sounds.

By VICTOR GODINEZ

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

Nintendo may be too innovative for its own good.

The company has come up with some nifty control mechanisms during the last year or so that really surpass anything coming from Sony or Microsoft. The touch screen on the Nintendo DS was a clever invention, and the bongo drums for the GameCube are a great toy.

But the DS is starting to seem like a gimmick, thanks to the dearth of standout games built around the touch screen, and the bongos might quickly go the same route.

"Donkey Kong Jungle Beat" is the newest game and just the second overall that uses the drums.

While "Donkey Konga" was basically a musical rhythm game, "Jungle Beat" is a side-scrolling adventure game.

Make a little noise

Bang on the left or right drum to make Donkey Kong run in either direction, slap them both to make him jump and clap your hands over the built-in microphone to make him clap his furry mitts.

Clapping lets him grab bananas and turn them into "beats," which is what this game is all about. The more bananas you snag, the more levels you can open.

"Jungle Beat" is a pretty easy game, and experienced gamers will swing through it in a few hours, tops.

The hook, of course, is playing the bongos instead of using a regular control, although that option is available. But after awhile it's evident that there are very few instances in which the bongos actually improve the gameplay or make it more fun.

For example, when fighting some of the main boss enemies, gamers have to bang the drums to swing Donkey Kong's fists. The faster the drums are pounded, the more punches you can land before the enemy raises his defenses.

That's a great use of the bongos.

Frankly, the fight scenes are so much fun that "Jungle Beat" probably would have been better just as a fighting game, in which the drums could be slapped in a certain order to execute different combinations of punches.




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