Congo Bongo: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


After Nintendo released the smash hit arcade game Donkey Kong, Sega was quick to answer with Congo Bongo in 1983. Although the games are closely related in theme and layout, Congo Bongo follows the adventures of angry hunter who searches the jungle for a practical jokester called Bongo. Coincidentally, Bongo is an ape. There are so many similarities between Congo Bongo and Donkey Kong, which came out two years beforehand.

Congo Bongo was one of the very first arcade games that was made available for every major home video game console out during that period. The original Congo Bongo was revised and released for the PlayStation 2 as part of a collection in 2005. Sega created, developed and produced both the original and subsequent updates of Congo Bongo.


Game Play Overview

Playing as an adventure seeking explorer, gamers have to navigate four different levels and avoid countless enemies. There are only four levels in Congo Bongo, but players are able to increase the level of difficulty on this game to suit their specific tastes. Points are collected by walking, jumping and progressing further. Enemies cannot be destroyed or impaired in anyway, so the main character must jump or sidestep all approaching opponents.

You can play Congo Bongo with one or two players. The up, down, left and right directional arrows are used to move the main character. The action button is used to jump. This control button can also be used to scale small walls.

Different enemies are seen throughout this classic arcade game, with new opponents popping up on each stage. On level one, you will only encounter monkeys. They can either be green or brown. Green monkeys can inhibit your progress, but brown monkeys can cause you to lose a life. Be wary of groups of three or more brown monkeys. Moles do not attack directly, but they can cause the main character to be vulnerable by essentially ‘filling in’ his hiding spot with dirt.

Piranhas do not appear until the fourth stage. This enemy can be used to get over bodies of water, but remember that they can cause the explorer harm. Rhinos are the largest, and arguably, the most dangerous opponents in Congo Bongo. Hippos serve more as decoration than anything else – they are not able to attack. Red and blue snakes can be seen on land and on sea. Scorpions will chase and sting the main character, forcing players to restart level two.

Special Features

Bonus points are earned in Congo Bongo by finishing each stage as quickly as you can. The amount of time that remains on the clock will be added to your total score. No special powers, attacks or other bonus features are available in this game.


Explorer – The protagonist doesn’t have a name, but he is easily identifiable by his safari themed attire and red colored nose.

Bongo – This non playable character is the inspiration behind the game. Bongo sits atop a platform to the far right of the screen. He also has a red nose.

Coconuts – Bongo attacks the explorer with coconuts as he gets further along in each stage.

Mole holes – Since the explorer has no weapons, he has to use different parts of the jungle as a defense. You can leap into a mole hole to avoid oncoming enemies, but moles can also push you out if they decide to fill in your hiding place with soil.

Walls – You will have to scale plenty of walls in Congo Bongo. Use them to keep enemies at bay whenever you can.

Lily pads – Hop on the lily pads to get across streams, waterfalls and ponds, but don’t wait too long. Lily pads bounce up and down in the water. When the explorer gets wet, he loses a man.

How to Play Congo Bongo

The explorer always starts each stage off at the furthest point to the right of the screen. He needs to go screen the screen, jumping and climbing until he gets to Bongo. For the first three stages, Bongo will exit stage right until you make it to the final mission.

Level 1 – Primate Peak
In this stage, the explorer must make it up eight steep ledges to get to his destination. Besides Bongo, the only enemies you will see on this level are the monkeys, both green and brown and a small number of snakes. Time your movement to avoid being hit by the coconuts thrown by Bongo. There are two different ways to get to Bongo, so you can always backtrack if your path is blocked by too many opponents.

If you are touched by an enemy or thrown by the brown enemies, a life will be lost. Brown monkeys are the only enemies that can touch the explorer and not cause him to immediately die. Having one or two monkeys on your back with significantly slow you down and make jumping less effective.

Start by going up the ledges on the left-hand side of the screen. Run across the bridge while avoiding the snake. There will be a steep downward slope at the end of the bridge. You will need to use the directional keys in order to keep from falling off of the mountain.

Traverse the next series of ledges to the right. A small stream will come up directly ahead. You can use the jump key to get over it. There will only be two more ledges for you to climb up, but Bongo will be waiting with more coconuts. When you get to the top, level one will be complete.

Level 2 – Snake Lake
The explorer begins this level on a grassy knoll, with two red scorpions at his side. You will need to move fast if you want to avoid being attacked. This level is comprised of a series of rectangular lakes and narrow paths. When the explorer leaps onto one of the small brown paths while fleeing the scorpions, he will almost immediately be confronted with blue snakes. A good way to deal with the snake issue is to stay in one place for a while so that more of the brown paths will clear up. After a number of blue snakes have begun to close in on you, use the jump key to leap over them.

In the last lake separating you from Bongo, there will be one large, sleeping hippo. Use his back as a jumping off point. When you get to the platform that Bongo stands on, he will run away.

Level 3 – Rhino Ridge
There aren’t many ledges to climb on level three, but there are plenty of rhinos waiting and ready to attack. Because most of this stage is completely flat, you will have to make use of the numerous mole holes that are scattered around. Rhinos can also be avoided with well-timed jumps.

Yellow horned rhinos do not attack as accurately as their red horned counterparts, but they can surprise you on occasion. Prevent this from happening by steering clear of them at all times. You may need to dart left and right to keep all of the rhinos away, but ultimately, you want to stay to the right of the screen. This is where the two ledges you need to climb are. Make your way up these two platforms to bring a close to stage three.

Level 4 – Lazy Lagoon
This stage is somewhat similar to level two. Again, the explorer starts the level while standing on a small grassy bank. In front of him are dozens of enemies floating in a huge lake. Nearest to you will be three lily pads. You can take your pick, and then jump on while taking care to stay in the middle. You may need to jump onto a neighboring lily pad to make it to one of the two small rocks that sits in the middle of the lake.

Several large red and orange piranhas will swim by. You can jump on their backs, but they do attack. Your safest bet will be to target the hippos as they do not pose a threat at all. However, take note of the fact that hippos do occasionally go underwater. Make sure that you have an exit strategy figured out prior to taking a ride on a hippo.

When you get close enough to the lake’s edge, you should be able to jump to the bank easily. The very last set of enemies consists of a few angry rhinos. They will attack on sight. Scramble up the ledge and you will find a very vulnerable Bongo. There will be nothing left to do as a short animation sequence will start, showing the explorer as he gets his ultimate revenge.

Completing stage four does not signal the end. The game reverts to level one, repeating all four stages at a higher level until the player is out of extra lives.

Hints and Tips
- Because there are no bonus features or opportunities to receive extra lives, you will need to be very careful on the more difficult stages. It is best to go to the final round with at least one extra life.

- Besides enemies, the explorer is also vulnerable to water. The closer that you get to the edge of a lily pad, the easier it will be for you to lose.

- Almost all enemy groups come in two varieties, defined by color. One variety will always be more dangerous than the other.


We hope you enjoyed the video and the information shared on this classic arcade game.

Order Your Very Own Authentic Classic Arcade Machine Here

Check Out Other Classic Arcade Game Videos Here

For over 30 years Arcade Classics continues to bring the classics to life!