Jungle Rumble E3 2005 Hands-On Report

Morpheme shows us its latest mobile hero. What a croc!

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Morpheme Wireless has come up with some truly memorable characters over the years. Past examples include Balloon Headed Boy, master of cranial buoyancy, and Tom Carnacki, fearless scourge of evil. Interestingly, both were hilarious and compelling additions to the games they starred in. Morpheme's latest hero, Croc the crocodile, will platform his way through Jungle Rumble later this year. Morpheme gave us a quick look at the promising action adventure game on the E3 show floor, and we could smell what its croc was cooking.

Jungle Rumble is a pseudo-3D isometric platformer starring a bipedal crocodile who doesn't like water. Rather than slither through the swamp like any normal croc would, the reserved reptile has chosen instead to indulge his neurosis. Perhaps this has something to do with his adoptive upbringing by a race of furry creatures called gobbos. Croc must avoid contact with his natural habitat through 16 levels filled with collapsing bridges, jump puzzles, and assorted baddies, most of which can be bopped out of the way using a spin jump. However, the game's boss battles are going to take a little more brainpower to deal with, according to Morpheme.

If this sounds a lot like a generic platformer from the 16-bit era, you're right. Jungle Rumble looks like a game you might have played on your Sega Genesis back in 1992, right down to the cartoony sprites and simple color palette. Still, it seems like Morpheme's going the extra mile on this one. The level designs we witnessed were pretty complicated, featuring lots of twisting routes, hazardous jumps, and switches to engage. The company's trademark sense of humor was on display in the demo, too, as the cosmopolitan croc packs a mobile phone that guides him (and you) though the game's tutorial.

Jungle Rumble should arrive on US carriers by October. With any luck, its American introduction will herald the arrival of some of Morpheme's other, more esoteric games, which have seen European-only releases. We'll bring you the full review for this game in the fall.

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