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Cart #jungleping-1 | 2023-01-02 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Pico-8 demake of the classic arcade game Jungle King (by Taito 1982, shortly after renamed as Jungle Hunt, Tarzan replaced by an explorer)


  • 🅾️ [Z] Action (Jump or Stab while underwater)
  • ⬅️⬆️➡️⬇️ Movement, depending on stage:
    • Stage 1: none, just jump from vine to vine
    • Stage 2: swim in all directions while underwater
    • Stage 3: ⬅️ run faster, ➡️ slow down (they can be used during jump) and ⬇️ to duck
    • Stage 4: ⬅️ walk left, ➡️ walk right (no influence on jump)

The Game

It is divided into four different stages:

  • jungle and swinging vines (with monkeys on harder levels)
  • swimming in a crocodiles/alligators-infested river
  • running uphill with falling rocks and boulders
  • a camp with cannibals where our hero's girlfriend dangles above a boiling cauldron (an extra native will throw his spear from the tree on harder levels).

Keep an eye on the TIMER: it starts at 5000, quite generous but it speeds up in the last stage and if it reaches zero it's an instant game over, it means your girl ended up in the cauldron.

Completion bonus and Extra lives

So yes, your objective is obviously to save the girl. In the congrats screen you will also see (an addition to the original game) time bonus points are accumulated until you reach 1000, this will give an Extra life! Time bonus is remaining timer / 4. In the original Jungle King you will get 1000 pts regardless of timer which is a shame.
You also gain an Extra life every 30000 points.

Stage 1 - Swinging

Timing is crucial while jumping from vine to vine, try to focus on the speed and oscillation phases of the two. For instance jumping while the next vine is near might not be the best idea especially if it's faster, use some anticipation. After a while it will become the easiest of the stages, even when monkeys will show up (they could look cute but no, not your friends).

Stage 2 - Underwater

Use action button 🅾️/Z to stab the crocs but stay away when their mouth is fully opened! A minimum of 100pts + extra 100pts if the mouth is half open and stabbing them while deeper will gain extra 100pts.
Air bubbles will drag you and push to the surface (you can't move but can still stab at a slower pace).
Important: as obvious as it could sound, you need to breathe! When the 'diving' indicator is low a warning sound will signal it's time to come up to the surface and breathe some air.

Stage 3 - Boulders

What can I say? Just survive, avoid the falling rocks. You can jump (200pts) or duck (100pts), in some case you could even just run below the boulders (50pts). On higher difficulty you will face more rocks at the same time as some will come down faster and even bouncing differently.

Stage 4 - Cannibals

It is actually the easiest stage when you find the right time to jump both and save the girl... but it will be probably cause troubles at first (in order to be prepared for this last stage, you might want to practice a little maybe? by selecting stage 4 in the main screen). At higher levels remember a third native will show up on the tree and throw his spear.

Main differences from Jungle King

In the original game everything was predetermined, making longplays safer for those who memorized everything and virtually go on forever since difficulty stopped growing after the 4th iteration (=each time you save the girl).
This version is more randomized/unpredictable and the difficulty constantly grows at every level.
In this version you can start directly from a specific level of difficulty and stage. Good for training and figuring out how to play on a specific point of the game (without wasting time to redo everything from the beginning). Of course you need a regular start (st1-lv1) for a better high-score.

Other differences from the original

  • Title screen graphics (reason: too plain, since they also had stages demo);
  • Stage1: monkeys will just climb up the vine but watch as they keep moving up even when you're in the same vine;
  • Stage2: the bigger croc doesn't follow you but it's harder to predict when they will open the mouth (they are worth 50pts more than other two kinds) and they have a good chance to move faster;
  • Stage3: not having a predetermined behaviour/layout the growing difficulty is mainly rendered by speed/pace (notice how smaller rocks gradually become the real challenge at higher levels);
  • Stage4: the delicate timing between girl and natives has been carefully preserved close to the original while the spear-throwing one has its own gradually fast timing (currently no animation/sfx after his success/failure on throwing);
  • Congrats screen music (reason: not rewarding).


  • 60fps flickering tricks for:
    • alpha channel antialias (font)
    • transparency in general
    • colour blending
    • a few subpixel experiments (e.g. the girl in the title screen, in between it creates some blur and it's ok since she's in the distance)
    • (in case you can disable flicker in Pause-MENU P/Enter)
  • P8scii for extra gfx (see post: One-Off GFX)
  • PCM audio to replicate the (notoriously distorted) Tarzan yell
  • Hi-score is saved


Code,sfx,music,gfx by @Heracleum
Many Thanks to:
@Trog for betatesting and precious first-impression detailed notes
(...your name here...)


Please leave a comment and let me know.
For instance I have currently in the todo list:

  • Menu option to mute the main theme during action?
  • Compose some new music for the title screen?
P#123441 2023-01-01 20:39 ( Edited 2023-01-02 04:25)


Just. Wow, @Heracleum ! I remember playing this in the arcade.

Very quickly there was a legal dispute over the image and name.

Jungle King, re-released as Jungle Hunt, is a side-scrolling action game developed by Taito and released for arcades in 1982. It was originally distributed as Jungle King, then quickly modified and re-released as Jungle Hunt due to a copyright dispute over the player character's likeness to Tarzan.

You have masterfully captured the very spirit and AUDIO of the game which includes the most familiar yell at the beginning.

I also see you are blending colors together to create the illusion of extra selections for the pixels. I also think you are the first person to write a game to do so ! I sure wish ZEP would set it so there is no flicker.

Capital work ! Gold star all the way + 💗 Favorited !

P#123452 2023-01-01 21:51 ( Edited 2023-01-01 22:58)

I never played the original but i still enjoyed this a lot. Very fun, got to the cannibals 3 times but didn't beat it yet

P#123454 2023-01-01 22:05

This is neat. Didn't know the original either but this is very responsive and fun to play. Got crushed by boulders but gonna keep at it. Nice job.

P#123458 2023-01-01 22:38

(Edit: fixed -->) Oops I just noticed a small glitch in the congrats screen (this is what you get for not updating to the latest version).

@dw817 thank you so much, glad you liked it! Yes I noticed -despite a few example carts on flicker/blending- it hasn't been implemented much in actual games (except for a few transparent shadows and jet-reactor). Anyway it's always the case to make it optional in menu, especially since I imagined not being particularly consistent in web-player (but it's not that bad after all).

PCM audio: for some reason the quality of the Tarzan yell in the web export is -almost- as distorted as the original 1982 game while in the app it's much clearer, I wonder why the difference in bg noise is so remarkable.

P#123463 2023-01-02 00:22 ( Edited 2023-01-02 04:27)

tarzan yells so long

P#123485 2023-01-02 04:39

At last, I rescued the girl! This is great. It made me happy.

P#123764 2023-01-05 19:33

Wow! I'm not familiar with the original game but this looks fantastic. I really like the little things that add polish, like the subtle parallax and shaking on death in the first stage. Very cool!

P#123864 2023-01-07 05:07

@balb nice! Great job 👍

@rikimbo yep the original was indeed a fantastic game, you should try it -on Mame or Archive.org- if you're curious 👌

Thanks to both for playing!

P#123869 2023-01-07 07:05

Great port! I loved this on the Atari 2600 way back when!

P#123908 2023-01-07 19:21

@Logarhythm thanks! Yes I played it also on the Atari but mainly on the C=64 (Jungle Hunt) they did a really good job especially in the underwater stage (quite different from the original arcade but nice coral graphics).

P#123926 2023-01-08 04:54

Excellent "adventure" game!

The PCM yell is :ok_hand:

P#124250 2023-01-13 20:31

Grew up with the C64 game. Right on with this.

P#124592 2023-01-20 14:12

it might be cool to be able to go up and down the vine 10/10

P#124594 2023-01-20 14:36

Amazing version! Rope physics on point!

P#133230 2023-08-18 19:10

Classic pico8 style - jump in and have fun. I enjoyed every second of playing this game! Well done. The only thing I would add is maybe Tarzan scream at the title screen... followed by a song? I watched a video of the original after playing, and your version is better in many ways.

P#137247 2023-11-10 22:00 ( Edited 2023-11-10 22:14)

@Huwans thank you!
The yell can be heard already too many times during the game, I tried to spare it at title screen at least 🤭 (especially to those who reset/Ctrl+R to quickly restart due to a bad start). But yes having some music would have been a good idea (instead of lazily honouring the silent main screens of the 80's arcades) 👍

P#137389 2023-11-13 22:18 ( Edited 2023-11-13 22:19)

Coolest looking game on PICO8

P#137453 2023-11-15 00:21

Not working in fake-8

P#137463 2023-11-15 09:23

@emonizaz might be due to what I read in Fake-8's Known Issues:
"Latest Pico 8 version v0.2.2 features (sprite fill patterns, text control codes, custom fonts, etc) not implemented yet"
Game's using these.

Is it not starting at all or just visually glitched?

P#137465 2023-11-15 10:11 ( Edited 2023-11-15 14:37)
P#140695 [hidden by admin]

This game seems broken now, in 0.2.6? (If I were to guess, could be due to the memory remapping feature?)

P#141784 2024-02-22 17:37

It couldn't have come at a worse time.
thanks @thisismypassword

P#141796 2024-02-22 20:52

Cheers for the fast heads up @thisismypassword -- this is fixed in 0.2.6b_dev3

P#141846 2024-02-24 04:05

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