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Congo is a graphic adventure based on the movie of the same name.
Take the part of Jack Kisumu and see if you can recover the type-3B diamond
and rescue Karen Ross and her team.
You have the help of Amy, a domesticated gorilla being returned to the jungle
and a Travicom Corporation Workstation.
Against you is the jungle and an unknown race of creatures.
This Windows game has excellent graphics and a nice range of puzzles.

I don't know about you, but I quite like gorillas. Not that I've ever actually met one you understand but none the less I sure if I ever do met one I'll like him/her. This is despite the fact that over the week or so I've killed about a hundred times by dirty great gorillas :-)


The plot of Congo is pretty simple all though there are a few holes in it. Basically a new type of diamond has been discovered and a company called Travicom wants one. The first party sent out to find the new diamonds has been killed. The second is in trouble and needs help. Guess what? Yep - you have to go into the jungle, rescue the second party and get a sample of the diamonds. You only need a sample cos the clever bods back at base can then duplicate it. Which begs the question how do they so much about these new diamonds when they have never seen one?

The first part of the game has you wandering around the jungle looking for the second party, which incidentally seems to consist of a pretty woman [surprise, surprise] and a lot of voices off screen. You are dropped in the jungle and told where to find your guide. The thing is when you get there he's dead. Never mind you're resourceful so it will not take you long to find the camp. Things start to get a bit difficult then. Not only is the camp is empty but it has been ransacked. The camp is in a very old ruined city and it is obvious that you need to get through the only door still standing. It is also pretty obvious that you need some things to get through the door. Finding them though is a different matter - more about that later.


The second half of the game occurs after you get though the door. It all takes place underground and basically involves find your way through a maze and solving a series of puzzles involving leavers and sliding doors and things.

The game is played using the usual point and click interface, although this one is even simpler than most since the only icon is hand or an object in your inventory. The hand icon points in the direction you can move. If it moves over and object which you can manipulate then it has a blue outline. Clicking the icon when it has a blue outline will either pick up an object or use it, or do nothing. If nothing happens then you need to select an object from your inventory. The icon will then change to the item, and again, if the outline is blue then you can do something. For example if you move the hand icon over water it may get a blue icon. If it does clicking will achieve nothing, after all you can't pick water up in your hands and would you really want to drink out of jungle river. Selecting the raft from your inventory on the other hand means you can click on the water and the boat magically inflates. You can then go for a sail.


The trouble with this interface is that it is too simple. There is no way of looking at objects, which means that if you pick something up it can take sometime before you are sure just what it is. Actually that's not strictly true. Some objects you can sort of look at. One of the things you get right at the start is your portable computer, cum video phone, etc. This is a very useful object and one of the things it will do is tell you what some items are. Unfortunately it will only tell you about items made by Travicom. No only that but it is not immediately obvious how to get that information, although it is mentioned clearly in the manual. I found very frustrating trying to find some objects. For example, I mentioned eariler that you needed some objects to get through a door. Some of these objects are easy to find, others and hidden away and require you to thing and solve problems to get hold of. This is clasic adventure stuff and just what I want. However, a couple of these objects should be fairly easy to get. Unfortunately it is difficult to see them and hence finding them is a simple case of running the cursor over every screen until you find them. Not what I want in an adventure game.

The graphics are pretty good although about what I expect these days. Which says a lot about how the quality of graphics has improved - it's not that long ago that I thought CGA graphics were pretty good :-) My major criticism about the graphics is the difficulty in seeing some objects. I know that you can just run the cursor over the screen and wait for it to develop a blue outline but, if you do it too quickly you might miss something. Also if objects which you can use are difficult to find then you must run the cursor over every screen - time consuming and boring.

There was, however a couple of strange happenings with the graphics. The first of these occurred near the beginning of the game. To start you must find a raft and then go down the river on it. For some reason when you do this you put on some sort of VR helmet. This gives you a display with an arrow showing the directions you can go in. Move the arrow left and you turn left, move it to the right and you turn right. Simple and effective. The first time I had no problem with this. However, after you have found your guide you get back in the boat. This time all I got was the arrow ie no picture of where I was. I eventually tracked this down to the number of colours I was running windows at - 16 million. Changing it 256 and the second river trip was fine. Now I don't mind this, after all when I started the game it did say that while Congo would run at that resolution, I really should change to 640 x 480 x 256. The thing is why was that the only bit in the whole game that needed 256 colours?


The second weird thing with the graphics occurred near the end. Occasionally when you enter a location the screen stays blank except just under the cursor. Turning to one side and back again restores the screen so it's not a major problem. And, I suspect that like the other problem, running with a lower resolution would have prevented it.

Most of the puzzles are reasonably easy although there are a couple of more difficult ones. The most difficult thing in most cases is finding the required object and/or working out just what the silly thing is for.

The manual is pretty small but everything you need is in it. Assuming, of course you don't have a problem. As seems to be common these days there is no section on trouble shooting. However since the game runs under Windows there is unlikely to be any difficulty getting it going. If though you do need help there is a freephone number . Actually there are 5 freephone numbers, one each for England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Congo is a nice game but nothing spectacular. I enjoyed playing it but I must confess that had I not finished it I would not have worried about it. The graphics and game play are both good, but no better than most other games these days.