For several generations now it seems that every one of them has grown up with some image of Tarzan in their minds from one comic, television show or a movie based on the child raised by apes who grows up to be lord of the jungle. He's even seen action on other game platforms before now, but none have borne the Disney label before this round of games popped out. Like most Disney game, you get a playable and entertaining game in the bargain as well.
While the game's essentially your basic 2D style platformer, the entire game has been given a polygonal face lift. Disney's Tarzan benefits from that shift by exhibiting smooth animation as well as the game's ability to intertwine hidden paths along with the main one seamlessly. Transitions to the favored sequences in the movie trailers like Tarzan's vine surfing also flows as smoothly as Disney's big screen animation efforts do. The Nintendo 64 cranks out a very nice looking world and the game keeps up a smooth framerate throughout even though the more graphically active stages like the frequent stampede levels.
If you're buying for a tot, be sure to have a memory pak handy. For a game aimed primarily at children, Tarzan can be a demanding game to master. I found myself getting frustrated on a few of the levels that demanded precision jumping, and any level like the one featuring the elephant stampede which plays like a forced footrace to outpace the rampaging piranha addled elephants to be especially brutal the first several tries. Without the save option, you'll be back at level one doing everything all over again once you run out of lives. The game also likes to line you up for several almost impossible to avoid cheap shots during the course of each level. While none of those are fatal most of the time, the obligatory hits start to wear on the nerves.
Keeping Tarzan on track's easy enough though. In a matter of seconds you'll have Tarzan leaping, running, and swinging from vines just like any accomplished feral child should. Your primary offense is chucking fruit at the more dangerous beasts although Tarzan also gains a knife for the closer in enemies. The control's responsive and there's a minimum of button hunting to do on the Nintendo 64 controller which can be a tricky feat for some programmers.
Levels do their best to accurately reflect the jungle world that Tarzan inhabits. Each one will offer its own set of challenges and more than its fair share of secrets for you to uncover as well. While a lot of that involves Tarzan's rather odd ability to bounce high into the air after jumping on an elephant or other large plant eating mammal, the extra exploration and quickie puzzle solving is an entertaining change of pace. Tarzan will also get to swan dive into rivers, surf foliage, and perform other suitable for legendary status things the further you get into the game. The variety of it all keeps things entertaining even if you find yourself stuck on a tricky part of a level.
The music draws strongly from the movie as well. The music reflects the jungle atmosphere with plenty of drums and beats evocative of the jungle's wild and carefree but dangerous mood. It'll also crank it up or turn the mood to calm depending on the situation. If you're fighting off a leopard, expect to hear a pulse pounding beat underscoring your efforts. There are a wide assortment of voices used in the game as well. Tarzan's friends will chat with him when you fine the right icons, and even the menus are backed up with characters from the movie giving verbal feedback on your choices.
Disney's Tarzan puts up a good, if challenging adventure. If you've been hankering for a trip to an impossibly lush jungle packed with wild and exotic dangers but weren't in the mood to battle swarms of mosquitoes and other nasty biting insects and animals, Tarzan's the tour guide for you. ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide
Smooth animation and lush jungle levels will entertain the eyes. The variety of point of view shifts also helps things keep lively. ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide
Once that jungle beat starts up, it never wants to stop. PLenty of voice action and good sound effects make for a strong sonic package all around. ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide
There's a lot to see and do in each level. The difficulty will insure you don't let your attention wander for long. ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide
There are plenty of secrets to find which will keep you occupied. ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide
The superbly detailed manual covers all aspects of the game. It is in black and white for some reason however. ~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide