Review by Dalton Of Zeal

Reviewed: 06/05/02 | Updated: 06/05/02

A classic game, but a little too tough!

Adventure Island was a good old sidescroller back in the early days of Sunsoft (circa 1986). It combined normal side-scrolling elements like running and jumping across various obstacles with a ''stamina meter'' which would drain every few seconds. The only way to keep your stamina up was to collect the various fruit items strewn across each stage. You also had two weapons to take out the enemies with: a stone hammer or a fireball, as well as other items.

This game was the beginning of the long-running Adventure Island series (spawned Adventure Island 2,3, and 4 for NES, as well as some Game Boy and SNES ones), and the gameplay has remained the same pretty much the whole way through. Get to the end of the stage before your life runs out, and if you die and lose your weapon, you might as well give up.

Gameplay: 8/10

For the most part, Adventure Island is a blast to play. You can't really speed through the stages, but you can't inch your way through either. There are a lot of obstacles in the way (rocks, fires, spikes, etc) as well as enemies like snails, bats, octopi and giant fish. To hold out against these monsters, you find giant power up eggs and crack them open, some containing weapons, some containing the skateboard which allows you to skate through the level nonstop, which really messes you up. You'll have to make some tough jumps to collect some of the fruit, and you only get 1 hit, so completing some of the levels in this game is no easy task. The levels are well designed, and the game starts off easy but then really heats up.

If I have 1 gripe about the gameplay, it would have to be the fact that if you die in some of the stages (especially the ones with the spider enemies), and you can't find a weapon, then you might as well turn the game off and start over. Without a weapon, Higgins has no attacks without a weapon, and some of the jumps over enemies will make you pull your hair out (it's happened before!) The only other feature that detracts from the fun of the game is the fact that your character doesn't always jump as high as he should, and you may end up missing some jumps because of this. Other than that, the game is still a lot of fun for any side scrolling fan.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are great, aside from the aforementioned jump problem. Press B to shoot, A to jump. Easy.

Story: 5/10

Nothing special here, but that's good. You control Master Higgins, a little island boy who is travelling the islands trying to find his girlfriend. Not Xenosaga quality, but this game was released in 1986, so what do you expect?

Graphics: 7/10

Good for the NES. The characters and items are easy to see and easy on the eyes.

Audio: 8/10

Call me crazy, but I liked the music in this game. The tunes are kind of catchy, especially the cave music.

Replayability: 9/10

Unlike a linear RPG or FMV game, this is one of those games you're gonna keep playing until you beat. Unfortunately, I still haven't beaten it...

Buy or Rent: If you can find it, and you have an NES, buy it for sure. It only cost me 10 dollars Canadian, and it was worth every penny. This game was one of those ones that kept me entertained throughout my childhood years, and I still enjoy it even today.

Overall, this is a good start to the series, except for the few problems explained above. They don't really make the game unplayable though. So what are you waiting for? Go island hopping with Higgins today, and bring a hammer! Those fire-breathing snakes are deadly!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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