Jambo! Safari – Sega – Wii – First Impressions

Years ago, probably in the Dreamcast era, there was an arcade game by Sega in an oversized Jeep cabinet called Jambo! Safari. You drove about and lassoo’d animals, all in a strict time limit, under those classic Sega blue blue skies. The game never made it to a home port – probably because half the fun was sitting in the big cabinet and using the arcade controls. However, with the Wii bringing in motion controls and a new generation of kids, Sega has resurrected Jambo Safari, but instead of a straight arcade port, have made it into a kid-friendly game about “nurturing” animals. Blah blah blah. So there’s some big mission structure. I haven’t started that yet. Its all free-roaming on the plains you see – with more areas apparently opened up with missions complete. But, when you lasso your first animal, it starts “arcade mode”. Here’s where the fun begins. You drive about as normal with the nunchuk for steering and then when you spot an animal, you twirl your Wii-mote around like a lasso and throw your arm forward to lob the lasso over the animal. Then you hold B to pull in the rope whilst still driving over the animal and when its close enough you lob (well, not actually lob, that’s why they invented the wrist-strap) your Wii-mote forward to throw a net over the animal. Rare endangered creature captured! Now it starts a timer like in the arcade and you have to go capture some other animal. Each one captured adds a little bit more to your timer. The goal in arcade mode is to catch 8 different specials of rare, endangered, animal, before the timer runs out. Its great fun, and a lot easier than the real arcade game. The graphics are delightfully low-poly, there’s cheerful music and its easier to spot animals in the bad graphics due to a mini-map and pointing your cursor over the screen highlights the name of an animal. Drive, lassoo, capture, repeat. Woo! Its great fun. I can see how it could get repetitive. But I’ve only completed arcade mode once, and yet to start any missions. For those who may have played the arcade game once or just love Sega arcade games, its worth checking out at the bargain basement price its on sale for now…

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