Kangaroo (video game)

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Kangaroo arcadeflyer.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Sun Electronics
Publisher(s) Sun Electronics
Atari, Inc.
Platform(s) Arcade (original)
Atari 8-bit, Atari 2600, Atari 5200
Release 1982
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright
CPU Z80 (@ 2.5 MHz)
Sound Sound CPU: Z80 (@ 2.5 MHz)
Sound Chip: AY8910 (@ 1.25 MHz)
Display Raster, 240 x 256 pixels (Vertical), 24 colors

Kangaroo (Japanese: カンガルー) is an arcade platform game that was released in 1982. It was manufactured by Sun Electronics and distributed by Atari. Kangaroo is one of the first arcade games similar in style to Donkey Kong without being a direct knock-off. The player takes the role of a boxing glove-wearing mother kangaroo who is trying to rescue her child from fruit-throwing monkeys.

Unusually for a game with jumping, there is no jump button. Instead, the player pushes up—or up and diagonally—to jump.


The mother kangaroo traverses the stage to rescue her son.

There are four different levels. Each of them consist of the mother kangaroo on the bottom floor trying to reach the top floor where her joey is being held captive by some monkeys. On each of the levels, there are monkeys who are throwing apples at the mother kangaroo. Sometimes the apples are thrown so that she must jump over them and sometimes they are thrown so that she must duck. If she gets face to face with one of the monkeys, she can punch the monkey with a boxing glove. She can also punch and destroy apples if they're thrown in level with her gloves. Also, there are pieces of fruit that she can jump up and get for points. Additionally, there is at least one bell on each level that she can hit so that more fruits will appear. She must be wary of the big Ape, who will occasionally appear and try to take her gloves away from her. The level must be completed before the time runs out, otherwise the player will lose a life.

Levels 1, 2 and 4 consist of different platforms that the mother kangaroo must jump onto or climb onto via a ladder. On the third level, the cage in which the kid kangaroo is imprisoned is held up by an entire troop of monkeys and there is a horde of apples that the monkey will unleash if five of them climb up there. On this level, the mother kangaroo must punch each monkey in the stack several times until the cage is lowered and when the cage has been lowered enough, the mother kangaroo must climb to the next floor to get to the kid kangaroo before the cage is raised again or before the monkeys have an avalanche of apple cores unleashed.

Kangaroo has a number of clearly visible glitches in the graphics, such as sprites briefly flickering.[1]

The game uses popular classical and folk songs for background music, including these: "American Patrol" by F. W. Meacham (used during regular gameplay), "Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Foster[2] (used as level completion fanfare), and "Westminster Quarters" (used when a bell is rung). Also, the music played during level intros is reminiscent of, if not directly inspired by, "Marcia Alla Turca" by Ludwig van Beethoven.


Kangaroo was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Atari 8-bit family. The Atari 8-bit version was published through the Atari Program Exchange,[3] which is unusual, as APX was created to publish user-designed software, not licensed ports.


The arcade version of Kangaroo was reviewed by Arcade Express, which scored it 8 out of 10 in November 1982.[4] Digital Press also scored it 8 out of 10.[5]

The Atari 5200 version of Kangaroo was later reviewed by Video magazine in its "Arcade Alley" column where it received mixed commentary. While describing the game as "an excellent piece of work", reviewers also admitted that it had "fail[ed] to bowl [them] over" and criticized the game's "animation-quality graphics" which appeared to be used primarily to "dress up rudimentary play-action".[6]:39

Four reviewers in Digital Press gave the Atari 5200 version 5, 7, 8, and 5 (all out of 10).[7]

The Atari 5200 version of Kangaroo was awarded "1984 Best Arcade-to-Home Video Game/Computer Game Translation" at the 5th annual Arkie Awards, where judges noted that "all aspects of the game look and play" as a "virtual duplicate" of the arcade version.[8]:29

Television adaptation[edit]

In 1984, Kangaroo and Space Ace replaced Pitfall Harry, Frogger, and Donkey Kong Jr. as segments on CBS's Saturday Supercade cartoon lineup. The basic plot-line involves kangaroos named Katy (voiced by Mea Martineau) and Joey (voiced by David Mendenhall), who lives in a zoo run by the zookeeper Mr. Friendly (voiced by Arthur Burghardt) and are good friends with Sidney the Squirrel (voiced by Marvin Kaplan). Katy and Joey would often thwart the plots of the mischievous Monkeybiz Gang (voiced by Pat Fraley and Frank Welker) consisting of Bingo, Bango, Bongo, and Fred. The Monkeybiz Gang cause trouble by trying to escape from the zoo and Katy would have to help keep them in line. The series has never been officially released on DVD or VHS in any form.[9]


  1. ^ Brundage, Darren (June 27, 2007). "Kangaroo". The Atari Times.
  2. ^ "Kangaroo - Videogame by Sun Electronics". Arcade-museum.com. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  3. ^ Reichert, Matt. "Kangaroo". AtariProtos.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  4. ^ http://www.digitpress.com/library/newsletters/arcadeexpress/arcade_express_v1n8.pdf#page=7
  5. ^ https://archive.org/stream/Digital_Press_Issue_48_2002-03_Santulli_Joe_US#page/n13/mode/2up
  6. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (November 1983). "Arcade Alley: Wintertime Winners". Video. Reese Communications. 7 (8): 38–39. ISSN 0147-8907.
  7. ^ https://archive.org/stream/Digital_Press_Issue_34_1997-11_Santulli_Joe_US#page/n7/mode/2up
  8. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (February 1984). "Arcade Alley: The 1984 Arcade Awards, Part II". Video. Reese Communications. 7 (11): 28–29. ISSN 0147-8907.
  9. ^ comicwatch (November 12, 2005). "Saturday Supercade (TV Series 1983–1985)". IMDb. Retrieved December 6, 2015.

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