The levels get longer and more difficult as you progress, and some rooms are pitch dark so you'll need to feel your way around. The characters and objects are plain looking (and small like the 2600 version) but the underground walls have a more realistic, granular texture. Unfortunately, the wobbly Atari 5200 proves to be a serious liability, preventing you from navigating the narrow mineshafts with precision, causing many undeserved deaths. H.E.R.O. isn't a bad game, but the 2600 version is more playable. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
As you wander through the house, you will encounter spiders, bats, skeletons, and ghosts. Their movements are unpredictable, but they don't pursue you from room to room. Sometimes one will appear from out of nowhere -- which is not fair at all. A sword is available for protection, but you can't collect items while holding it. So what is the "3D" all about? Actually, it's a bit of a stretch. Unlike the original Haunted House, each screen is a separate room (there's no scrolling) with pseudo-3D walls and doors in the background. But it's just eye candy - the gameplay is still completely 2D.
As a matter of fact, the "rendered" rooms are more confusing than anything else. Haunted House II is challenging, but it's not polished enough to merit an average grade. Graphical break-up, hit-and-miss collision detection, and inconsistent speed all hamper the action. One minute you're flying around the screen, then suddenly you've slowed to a crawl. Sound effects include footsteps and thunder, but these are sloppy. Haunted House II 3D does deliver in terms of challenge. There are two houses to complete, and just trying to finish the first one kept me playing for quite a while. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
The accompanying theme song is decent, but the visuals look positively half-assed. The intro is followed by a nausea-inducing first stage that perfectly embodies the game as a whole. Looking like a half-baked Moon Patrol knock-off, you jump over craters while shooting blue "diamonds" floating in the night sky. Bomb-dropping satellites fly just overhead, but inexplicably, you cannot shoot them!
Soon you find yourself moving over water while doing the same damn thing, except now you have to deal with shooting divers. If you're sadomasochistic enough to complete the stage, you can expect equally brain-dead gameplay in the stages to come. Each level is supposedly based on a different Bond film, but they all look and play pretty much the same - crappy! Did Parker Bros. really think the Bond license alone would justify this inexcusable tripe? I'm still waiting for them to issue a formal apology to the gamers of the world. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
There's not much to criticize about this version (which is identical to the Atari home computer version, by the way). It delivers all the sights and sounds of the arcade, plus four levels of difficulty as well. The hand of the lava troll only has three fingers, but now I'm nitpicking. The 5200 controller is the only drawback, with slow response and a fire button that's not conducive to constant tapping. Overall this is a rock-solid translation of an old arcade favorite. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
The scrolling is relatively smooth, and our little hero zips around with unabashed youthful exuberance. The graphic quality of the mazes and ghosts is comparable to Ms. Pac-Man, but these huge labyrinths are far more satisfying to clear! Instead of fruit bouncing around there are little toys, although they're often difficult to discern. The only thing missing are intermissions! © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
The second screen is the most impressive-looking as you swim in a crocodile-infested river with a pink coral seabed. You're armed with a knife and when you stab it sounds like a friggin' shotgun blast! The hit detection is suspect however so it's wise to avoid confrontation. I really hate those pink "bubbles" that immobilize you for several seconds. According to the manual they are "mysterious murk". In other words, even the manual writer didn't know what the [expletive] they were!
Your next challenge is to run up an inclined plane while jumping over small boulders and ducking under large ones. Ducking requires more skill yet only earns you half as many points. Use the joystick in conjunction with the button to increase the height of your jumps. It's pretty methodical until you encounter two boulders at once, which really throws off your timing.
On the final screen you must leap over a pair of politically-incorrect, spear-toting tribesmen with your captive girlfriend suspended over a boiling cauldron. You'll need to make contact with her on your second jump to save her, even if it means burying your head in her crotch. Then the stages restart but you get a new color scheme and now have to contend with a monkey on the vine stage. The imprecise 5200 joystick controls don't do you any favors in a twitch game like this, but Jungle Hunt is still a fun romp thanks to its bright arcade graphics and sheer variety. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age