Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Jambo! Safari - Wii

I have long waited for a home console version of this Sega arcade classic - as I have very fond memories of stuffing handfuls of cash into the coin-op a few years ago.

However, don't be fooled. While this Wii version contains the arcade cabinet's core gameplay - based around rounding up wild animals from the safety of a jeep - it's changed from a tense bumpy ride across African plains into a long-winded, mission-based experience.

Elements from Crazy Taxi and Sega Bass Fishing are present, but the game is let down in a number of areas. Sega have aimed straight at a younger age group, padding the game to appeal to kids with an abundance of side shows to detract from the main gam. That's fine for newcomers, but it's sad Sega saw fit to add extra layers where they're not needed.

The Wii controls are well used, with the player forced to swing the Wiimote and flick it as they let the lasso fly. Straining to capture the captured beast is a test of wits, as a careful eye must be kept on line-tension in case the animal manages to break free - hello, Sega Bass Fishing! It's during these moments when fond memories of the arcade original are most keenly felt.

Graphics are unfortunately nothing special, with a poor draw distance causing objects such as trees and rocks to pop into view at the last moment. However, it's still a pleasure taking the jeep for a spin across the sizeable levels, while African beats drum away in the background.

Jambo! Safari is still enjoyable, but the needless side missions detract from the simple beauty of the arcade game. Kids will get a kick out of caring for sickly zebras, but coin-op fans should approach with caution.

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