Adventure Island


Review by Charles Reneke



Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: ?

Have you ever noticed how much cooler things seemed when you were a kid? Candy, cartoons, or, in this case, Adventure Island. For some darn reason, I remembered this game as a classic, must own title for the NES. It’s pretty safe to say that my opinion has drastically changed.

 First, the basics. Adventure Island is pretty much an exact clone of Wonder Boy by Sega. There are a few minor differences, but the Wonder Boy engine is intact. You take control of a little goofy guy in a baseball cap and set out to save your girlfriend from an evil witch doctor. You can use axes, fireballs, and skateboards to navigate the 32 levels (eight worlds). You will encounter the SAME BOSS at the end of every forth level, and once you’ve figured out how to beat one, you should have no problem beating the finals bosses - assuming you can actually get to them... but I’m getting ahead of myself. Along the way, you will encounter such deadly creatures as snails, spiders, octopuses, and frogs. Oh sure, it sounds like a real hoot, but let’s scratch past the surface.

 I’ll just say this quickly: The graphics, sound, and music are OK. The control is not. Master Higgins seems to have a problem landing a jump without skidding to his untimely death. The entire jumping scheme is seriously flawed, and the amount of lift you get from jumping will leave you in a cursing rage at times.

 But the real problem with this game is level design. I guess the idea was to create a game so frustratingly hard that it would have people coming back for more. It must have worked, because the game did well enough to spawn several sequels, but for this title alone, many will likely give up after reaching the third world. Without a Game Genie, this game is damn near impossible to beat. With such a limited number of lives, it’s a wonder anyone could beat it. After four hours worth of gaming over, I decided to use a Game Genie to finish the game so I could complete this review. I STILL COULDN’T DO IT! I spent over one hour trying to complete level 8-2 before giving up, taking a sledge hammer, and smashing my copy of Adventure Island into little tiny chunks of plastic and silicon. For the record, I have previously completed the game when I was young, and I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out how the hell I did it.

 Picture this: You have to complete a very long jump between two enemies and then land and slide underneath a third enemy and then jump over a forth enemy moving in your direction. Now, you’ve got THREE tries at it, and then you have to start over from the beginning of the game (unless you can find the ULTRA SECRET BEE that allows you to continue. It’s located in level 1-1). Do you think you can do it? I couldn’t. I used over four-hundred lives and I couldn’t do it. And even if you do pull it off, you have to accomplish something harder then that right away. The trial-and-error theme works for some games, but with such a limited amount of lives and only one way to gain more (scoring 50,000 points), it’s just painful frustration. And the whole “There’s no way I could have avoided that!” situation comes up nearly every level later in the game. Are you a fan of cheap deaths? This is the game FOR YOU!

 Bottom Line: Well, to the best of my knowledge, the sequels are much more fun then this, but my memory failed me on this one. Adventure Island is not rare, not fun, and not worth anyone’s time. If you see it, buy it and destroy it so that nobody will ever get fooled in to actually playing it.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:15 PM