Review by Bentone

Reviewed: 10/03/01 | Updated: 01/15/02

Classic fun with an unhealthy dose of difficulty

Adventure Island. This is what classic gaming is all about. Despite some flaws in its design, the game still manages to shine in full 8-bit glory.

This game was truly a showpiece title for the Nintendo back in the day. Large, colorful graphics really stood out compared to the competition. Even by todays standards, the game is nice to look at. If I have any complaints at all its just how big the graphics are, and how occasionally its really difficult to time a jump when the moving platforms are mostly off screen. Likewise, the music is kinda catchy in an old school fashion, but it does become repetitive quickly. The sound effects are nice too, very distinct and pleasant to the ear.

Although a bit too reliant on the B button, the game controls almost perfectly. Sometimes, though, when you make a running jump, it’s very difficult to make Higgins stop his forward momentum, causing more than a few deaths. And speaking of deaths…This game has difficulty in spades. There are some good reasons why it’s so incredibly difficult –

*First, unlike many other platformers, you start off with no weapons when you respawn. It looks like a standard platformer, where it’s normal to kill enemies by jumping on their heads, but not in this game, no sir
*Second, there are tons of traps that must be jumped, more than you’d probably expect.
*Third, one hit and you dead.
*Fourth, 1-ups are ridiculously hard to obtain.
*Fifth, there are four stages per world. There are eight worlds. Sounds about as long as Super Mario Bros., right? WRONG. The stages are long, and unfortunately they recycle the same basic levels repeatedly. Therefore, you need a LARGE amount of patience before attempting this game.
*Finally, this might possibly be the first video game to have a flat out ‘negative powerup’. The Eggplant item just makes a difficult game that much harder. And unless you enjoy missing all the hidden items & dying, don’t pick up the skateboard…..

The gameplay is awesome, if you’re up to a challenge. Finding the secrets/hidden powerups can be a bit of a chore, and some of the bonus challenges in the game are really involving (such as letting a Coyote run past you, then killing it before it exits the screen for 2x points). Unfortunately, if you ever want to complete this game without using a game genie or investing more time than the average rpg, you’d best be picking up the hidden Hudson Bee item at the end of the first stage.

Bottom Line? Adventure Island is a fun, engagingly difficult platformer that becomes dead boring by about stage 4-1. Well worth picking up for about $5.

Fun: 8.0
Graphics: 8.0
Sound: 7.0
Replay: 7.0

Annoyance:
Either getting near the end of another long, long level and losing the last life in stock, or accidentally starting up a new game when using the ‘continue cheat’.
Great Moment: After a lot of practice, nothing matches the feeling of blasting through earlier stages that previously gave me fits.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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