Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 12/06/01 | Updated: 12/06/01

Whizzing Tomahawks....and grass skirts. Yep...gotta be Hudson Soft.

Hudson Soft has a history of creating games that are so mindless that they are actually plenty of fun to play and will bring you back each and every time. Adventure Island is a game that set off on the Nintendo Entertainment System and created several sequels that were both good and bad, yet addictive and fun to play all at the same time! Taking control of a hero by the name of Billy, you must venture through several stages of side scrolling action and save the Princess, who has been kidnapped by evil forces, you will come into contact with some crazy enemies and pick up some strange items. Like most Nintendo games of its time, you’ll immediately see the story line as a generic plot in order to get the gamer interested. While the game itself is nothing more than a long and rather fun action game, you’ll find that the simplicity of the game is compounded by the easy to learn control and the simple visuals that accompany it!

The game play is relatively simple to get into and doesn’t require you to do much thinking other than where to throw the tomahawks and just where to jump. Side scrolling gaming at its best, you’ll find that the easy to use weapons and the different enemies that you encounter are both fun and challenging at the same time! Billy will be able to upgrade his weapons through the discovery of eggs which hold small power ups that will add small attributes to your main weapon. Something that comes across as a novel idea, is that the game also features the use of dinosaurs as a secondary weapon! These small features change the challenge and the game play slightly, but are well worth the effort of finding if you really want to get into the game. Another instance of simplicity is that the game does not revolve around killing everything in sight, but more or less avoiding what you can and taking out what you have to. In later stages, you’ll find this to be both a game of strategy and increasing difficulty as you’ll need to know just what to do and when to do it. What makes Adventure Island so fun is the fact that it really is a pick up and go game that anyone of any skill level can fall into and enjoy. Even though the game is repetitive in how it plays, the sheer amount of addictiveness really shines through and will make the replay value high depending on your preference in side scrolling games!

The control could use a little work, in which some of the attacks and jumps take precision timing in order to accomplish without error. As with most NES action games, there are problems with unresponsive controls and various instances of sticky directional movement! Learning to fire off your weapon and jumping around can take a little practice and in the later stages, you may find that patience is a virtue, especially when you fall off of a ledge that you know you landed. The skateboard is something else that will require timing, in which you’ll have to know when to jump and when not to jump so that you’re not taking damage and getting killed after picking it up. In a small way, this also adds challenge and difficulty to the game play, but is easily learned and anyone can learn how to control the game!

Visuals in Adventure Island are just what you would expect them to be, with the overall feeling of the game having a truly tropical feel. The environments, while not the most detailed or flashy by any means, are still enough to put feeling to the mood of the game but do tend to repeat themselves after a few stages! The enemies also have that simple look to them, but they also follow the theme of the game, and watching Billy on a skateboard is something that has to be seen to be believed. Other than that, there really isn’t much in the game that would be considered special effects, even by the standards then. You’re pretty much locked into a situation of seeing everything that the game has to offer in just a few short stages, and that may throw off some NES gamers, but it really doesn’t surprise me. Besides, it’s not about the visuals, it’s all about the game play!

The audio of Adventure Island instills some interesting themes and will keep the pace of the game going in different areas. While Hudson Soft isn’t exactly a powerhouse company anymore, it did do a relatively good job in creating the perfect mood for the game and the tropical theme with the action tone really comes through! The sound effects are rather droll though, and it creates something akin to a whizzing sound when you throw a tomahawk at a nearby enemy. With the stage music repeating so much and sound effects that really don’t come off as blending together, you may want to turn the sound off entirely and listen to something on the radio instead. All in all, it’s about par for course in the NES way and you’ll find that there is nothing here that will impress or be memorable twenty minutes after you shut the game off.

Adventure Island is a Hudson Soft achievement that really makes a good stand in action gaming for the NES. While not the most scientific of games, nor the most visually appealing, it does have plenty of game play and otherwise that will keep you coming back for more! With two other sequels on the NES that I was able to find, and more instances of addictive game play, this title is one that started a rather interesting series and didn’t stop. NES owners would do well to start here with this series and watch how the game progresses, while action fans will have a blast playing this game. Either way, you’ll find that the money spent on this Hudson Soft title is worth it, even if it does seem a little outrageous spending ten bucks on the cart!

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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