By Owen Linzmayer
A band of bad guys has kidnapped a baby, and you must rescue him--not a terribly unusual scenario for an arcade game, right? Right. But Kangaroo has a few twists that will keep claiming your quarters.
In Kangaroo, you are a mother kangaroo, and the baby you must rescue is being held by a gang of nasty monkeys. As in Donkey Kong, jumping is one of the keys to success. Kangaroo, however, takes the concept a step farther, offering a variety of jumps and the ability to punch your foes.
When Kangaroo first appeared in the local arcade, I put a few quarters into it, and believe me, those quarters didn't last long. It seemed that Atari had released a game that was far too difficult. My next course of action was to return to Creative Computing to beg for some "research" money. Then, armed with a pocketful of quarters, I returned to Kangaroo. It took all of my research money--and then some--but I can now say that I have mastered Kangaroo. You can too. And if you follow these tips it will cost you a lot less than it cost me.
The object of Kangaroo is simple: you, the mother kangaroo, must rescue your baby from the gang of nasty monkeys. Along the way you can punch out the monkeys, ring bells, and eat fruit.
Kangaroo features a six-position joystick which the player uses to make Mom hop right or left, jump or duck, super-leap to a higher platform, or climb ladders. The "Punch" button is pressed when you want Mom to punch out a monkey or a piece of fruit.
Your baby kangaroo is being held captive in a cage by the mean monkeys. You start each of the four screens at the bottom of the playfield. You are separated from your baby by a series of ladders populated by monkeys who fling apples and cores at you.
Luckily, you are not completely helpless. You can jump over or duck under the apples as they come flying by, but your big advantage is your ability to punch. If a monkey or an apple core is within reach, you can punch it for bonus points.
Along the way to saving Baby, Mom can also collect (punch) different kinds of fruit which are worth extra points. Figure 2 lists the punchable objects and the number of bonus points awarded for each. When Mom finally reaches Baby, bonus points are awarded according to the amount of time left as displayed in the upper left-hand counter. Each time you rescue Baby, you advance to the next round and have to do it all over again.
If you miscalculate a jump, you plummet to the bottom of the screen, and lose a kangaroo. You will also lose a life if you happen to get hit by an apple or an apple core.
Although the strategy for beating Kangaroo is pattern oriented, there are several things you should know in case you accidentally deviate from one of the patterns.
Jumping has two purposes: to move you around the screen, and to help you avoid a thrown apple. When you want to go from one platform to another, you must use the super-leap. To grab a fruit you can simply get under it and leap, or you can use a super-leap to reach it.
Before jumping over an apple, you must determine if it is possible. The monkeys throw apples at three different levels: on the ground, at the level of your arm, and at the level of your head. All can be avoided, but only the first two can be jumped. To avoid a headache, simply duck under the high flying apples.
If you are waiting for something and you see an apple being thrown, wait until it gets close to you and then jump straight up. When you land you will be in the same position you were in before the jump. If, on the other hand, you are running toward the monkey that is throwing the apple, use a super-leap to jump over the apple. You can punch any apple or core that is at arm level.
Kangaroo is a relatively non-violent game. Nevertheless, you can punch out those annoying monkeys. If you decide to punch a monkey, you must get close to it, but not too close. If you are too close, you will collide with the monkey and lose a life. If you are too far away, the monkey will be beyond your reach. It takes a little practice to get a feel for the right distance.
Don't punch unless it is absolutely necessary. When you press the punch button, Mom goes into the punching routine, regardless of what is going on around her. If an apple happens to come flying by, she is totally defenseless.
Watch the monkey on the top of each screen; he is the one who drops the apple cores. Pay close attention to this monkey as you get closer to the top of the board. Usually he just wanders around, but when he cocks his arm back, be warned that he is about to chuck an apple core.
If you use the above tips in conjunction with the specific hints for each round, you should be able to complete the first level with very little difficulty.
Note: For the accompanying patterns to work, you must not deviate from the path unless it is obvious that you will lose a life if you don't. Also, these patterns were devised to work the first time you attempt to complete a round on every level. If you are half-way through the second round and you lose a life, you must restart the round, but the computer will play it differently. Therefore, the pattern given is no longer valid, and you are on your own.
1. Jump and get the first fruit, then move over to the right-hand side of the tree branch.
2. Punch the monkey on your right and then climb the ladder.
3. Turn to the right and move forward as far as you can. Punch the monkey as soon as it climbs down into your reach.
4. Turn around and move left.
5. Use a super-leap to grab the fruit and then climb the ladder. Once you get to the top, move to the right.
6. As you hop, grab the first fruit. When you land, move under the bell. A monkey should be fast approaching your position.
7. Punch the monkey when it is within arm's reach. Then go over to the base of the ladder.
8. If a monkey is climbing up or down the tree trunk to your immediate right, punch its lights out. If not, climb to the top of the ladder and run over to grab your baby. If all went well and you followed the path with good timing, you should receive a bonus of about 1700 points.
1. Turn to the left and jump up onto the first platform.
2. When you are firmly on the platform, turn around to face right. Using super-leaps, hop your way over to the ladder on the right and climb it.
3. Move to the right, and grab the hanging fruit. When you land, punch the monkey that is climbing down the tree trunk. Turn around and move to the left.
4. If the monkey behind you is about to throw an apple, wait until you dodge it. Once it is clear, use a super-leap to jump the break in the platform. Hop over to the base of the ladder and climb it.
5. Move over to the edge of the platform. Jump straight up to grab the fruit. Once you have done this, use a series of super-leaps to get to the very short ladder. Climb the ladder.
6. If a monkey is to your right, punch it. If not, move to the left and jump the break in the branch. It is important to keep an eye on the topmost monkey as he may drop a core at any time.
7. Disregard the bell unless you are planning to lose a life. Using three superleaps, get to the base of the ladder.
8. If no monkeys are within reach, climb the ladder and rescue Baby Kangaroo.
Warning: Kangaroo machines, like most arcade games, have operator-selectable options. Some commonly selectable elements include: number of lives, points needed to receive an extra life, and difficulty levels. Kangaroo can be set to play an easy game or a more difficult one.
If, before the third round, there is a demonstration on how to punch out the stacked monkeys, your machine is on the easy setting. If there is no such demonstration, urge the operator to change the setting, otherwise you will probably have a great deal of difficulty completing this screen.
The third round is the easiest round of all, because it can be completed with one super-leap. When you appear on the screen, don't move---not an inch. Just sit there and punch away at the stack of monkeys.
There are only two things that can happen to you as you punch out the monkeys: an apple can be thrown at you or a core can be dropped on you. The thing to keep in mind is, keep punching away unless one of the above situations occurs.
If an apple is thrown at you, punch, duck, or jump over it--don't move. Once the apple has been dodged, continue punching. If a core is heading for you, you must move. After you side-step the falling core, return to your position near the stack of monkeys.
When all of the monkeys, save one, have been punched from beneath the cage, you can use the super-leap to jump into the cage and rescue your baby.
1. Hop over to the bottom right platform and jump onto it. As you hop over, you will automatically collect the fruit.
2. Climb up the ladder when it is clear. When you are at the top, walk to the left, allowing yourself to drop down onto the adjacent platform.
3. Again, climb the ladder and when you are at the top, jump onto the platform to your left.
4. Climb the short ladder, then jump to the right platform.
5. Jump onto the platform on your left and climb the two ladders leading to your baby. When you touch your baby, you will have completed Level One.
Good Luck and Happy Hopping.