Disney's Tarzan Untamed Review

This is a great game for children and perhaps for adults looking for a quick rental, but it's certainly not something you'd induct into your permanent collection.

Disney's Tarzan Untamed for the GameCube is a jungle adventure geared toward younger players. To save the jungle's baby apes from the clutches of the evil scientist, Oswald Gardner, you'll have to guide Tarzan through 15 levels of vine-swinging, bungee-diving, and surf-riding action. It's definitely not the GameCube's lengthiest or most visually appealing product, but Ubi Soft has certainly given Tarzan a rather unique platform for his talents.

Since he's an ape-man, tricks and showboating are the real fun of Tarzan Untamed. Each area, be it jungle or aquatic, has any number of slippery logs, death-defying leaps, and dangling vines from which to hurl end-over-end toward even greater risks. Using the right trigger and A button, you can have Tarzan perform all sorts of wild acrobatics. The game's stages are split into four significant gameplay styles--jungle, bungee jumping, surfing, and waterskiing--each of which has a different set of tricks to master. Gathering 5,000 stunt points in any level earns you an extra life, while high scores in Terk's level challenges unlock even more tricks to perform. Tricks aren't exactly crucial toward completing the game, but they're absolutely required to enjoy it.

Devoid of tricks, Disney's Tarzan Untamed boils down to a stereotypically standard 3D action-adventure. The A button lets you jump or bounce, allowing Tarzan to grab hold of vines or hop atop hippos, while the B and Y buttons let you punch or hurl spears at enemies. Once in a while, a large enemy or boss will smother you in its grasp, during which you'll have to rapidly press the B button to escape or key in a button combination to perform a jungle combo attack. There are three apes in each of the jungle levels to rescue and a grand total of 75 film reels hidden within the jungle, aquatic, and gorilla challenge areas of the game.

Jungle stages have sections that are unreachable without additional assistance. Luckily, there are gorillas in each level that will help Tarzan reach these distant spots, but you have to complete their bungee challenges first. Once you safely capture the film reel at the bottom of the pool in each bungee challenge, you can return to the levels visited previously to acquire the last few film reels. There's no real penalty for losing an entire stock of lives, so backtracking isn't a terrible pain--though it doesn't make the game any more difficult.

Unfortunately, the story mode in Tarzan Untamed is rather short. It only takes a couple of hours to finish the entire quest and a few more after that to collect all the film reels. Terk's speed challenges increase replay value a little, as they offer Tarzan the opportunity to learn new tricks, but the utility of revisiting all 15 stages time and time again is dubious at best. Amusingly, the GameCube version of the game has half the prestage load time of the PlayStation 2 version, an improvement that makes the story mode seem even shorter.

Video game players don't mind a shallow quest when a game's visuals are cutting edge, but this isn't the case here. While the game is well detailed and full of lush greenery, the texture quality and complexity of most objects are below those in other GameCube games. To be fair, the GameCube version of Tarzan Untamed has a brighter range of colors and better overall shrubbery than the PlayStation 2 version, but that does nothing to make the game comparable to titles such as Luigi's Mansion or Super Smash Bros. Melee. Lens flares, blowing leaves, wave motion, and other similar details are far too few for a game trying its best to make the jungle seem majestic.

All in all, this is a great game for children and perhaps for adults looking for a quick rental, but it's certainly not something you'd induct into your permanent collection. Ubi Soft has not made a bad game out of Disney's Tarzan Untamed, but it's not necessarily groundbreaking either.

The Good

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The Bad

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