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PS2 Review - 'The Jungle Book Rhythm n’ Groove'

by Hank on March 17, 2003 @ 11:20 p.m. PST

Journey as Mowgli through the magical adventures of Walt Disney's The Jungle Book original animated film! Explore vivid worlds, encounter wild creatures, and challenge all the characters in the wild jungle like Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa, King Louie, Shere Khan, and more. Not your typical Worthplaying review, but we're open minded so we gave it a spin ..

Genre : Platform
Developer : UbiSoft
Publisher : UbiSoft
Release Date : Feb 4th 2003

"Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That bring the bare necessities of life .... "

If you have not heard of this song, you are surely missing out on one of Disney’s best animated movies. "Bare Necessities" is probably the most memorable song from the movie Jungle Book, and the instant I popped this game into my Playstation, I went directly to this song. Yes, I was a Disney fanatic and still am. When Squaresoft and Disney decided to work together on Kingdom Hearts, I was all over that. Unlike Kingdom Hearts, this game is not suited for the mature audience, and because of this, I will be providing two ratings for the game: one focused towards the mature audience, and another for the audience of pre-teens and young'ins.

Jungle book is a classic animated movie that contains several catchy tunes, a trait of almost every Disney movie. These songs had been transferred onto sing-along videos, which I would devoutly watch when I was of elementary school age. With the advent of next-generation consoles, Disney has now converted one of their famous series into a Rhythm n’ Groove dance game.

If you know the all-so-famous DDR game, Disney’s game The Jungle Book: Rhythm n’ Groove is of the same genre. The game consists of you hitting the correct arrow keys when passed through the two circles. There are a five difficulty levels, allowing for the players to choose how complicated the patterns the user desires: easy, normal, hard, expert, and crazy. There are also two modes of play: story and versus.

In story mode, you can play by yourself or play with a friend. In this mode, all you do is follow the opposing character's instructions, or, in other words, the arrows. To achieve this, you must beat the mission with a passable score. At certain points of the mission, there are “secret challenges” which test the player's true skill. I have not quite figured out what this unlocks, considering that I have only beaten one out of those nine challenges. These challenges are unimportant and can still allow the user to pass, but there are missions that you must meet a certain objective. These missions would be versus King Louie or Shere Khan. The objective is to hit the special weapons before the opponent does. The specials would be observable at the top of the screen, showing a sequence that must be pressed to activate these specials. There are two types of specials, one that helps you or gives the player a harder time, which can either boost your score or cause you to fail miserably. Even with this nifty addition, it is not even close to the best feature in the game. The best feature in this game is its storyline, the reason for this is because it completely follows the same story as the Jungle Book movie, showing only the important scenes before a song and after the song. These songs would be sung in chronological order, which is identical to the movie (the name behind the song is the character you play against):

The Jungle Is No Place for a Boy: Bagheera
Join the Ranks: Junior
The Bare Necessities: Baloo
Go Bananas in the Coconut Tree: Monkey
I Wanna Be Like You :King Louie
A Mood for Food: Kaa
We Are the Vultures: Buzzy
Run: Shere Khan
A Brand New Day: Shanti

Within these songs, you will see your character Mowgli as well as the enemy showing off their groove. The better you do, the better your character will dance, and respectively, he will dance wobbly and eventually trip if you miss too many keys. You can also have karaoke night and view the song lyrics, allowing you to sing along.

After beating the nine levels, it’s the perfect to play in the versus mode. With all the songs and characters unlocked, you can watch them dance to whatever songs you want. There are two modes for versus, power-up confrontation (first one to get the power-ups wins) and dance marathon (just a competition on how well you've dance throughout the entire song). This play mode gives the game a better replay value, especially for the young ones.

If you are tired of playing, you can just watch the computer bust its owm moves. Within the Jungle Gallery, you can watch any character dance to a certain song, watch the cut scenes between each dance, the karaoke hall, which allows you to sing along to the song with only the background music, and last, but not least, there is a Lou Bega’s bonus challenge, where you will unlock a new Jungle Book song. I believe it's from the Jungle Book 2, but I’m not certain.

Overall, this is a great children’s game, and having implemented the Jungle Book songs, is quite the treasure trove of long-forgotten songs. If this game were released when the Jungle Book movie came out, I would have definitely recommended it, but since it’s so far behind, I give this game an 8.2 / 10 suited for children ages 8-13. I would suggest picking it up for your child or for yourself if it's selling for $19.99 or less.

For the mature audience, I give this game a 6.8/10 and would definitely not suggest this game because it lacks a lot of things that DDR has. The controls are slightly lagged, making it easier to miss buttons, and the hardest mode isn’t even a challenge for DDR freaks. It also lacks upbeat songs that are found in DDR Max. If you’re looking for DDR clones, then I would suggest you try Tecmo’s Unison, Frequency, and Koei’s Gitaroo Man, which are less mainstream but are more fun for the more mature.

Children's Score : 8.2/10
Mature Score : 6.8/10

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