Review by Vegita

Reviewed: 11/22/00 | Updated: 11/22/00

Well, smack me with a ball-peen hammer!

Ranking:

Graphics: 6/10
Sound Effects: 4/10
Music: 4/10
Originality: 8/10
Play Control: 4/10
Group Enjoyment: 3/10
Individual Enjoyment: 5/10
Challenge: 8/10
Ending: 5/10
Overall: 4/10

Back in the early Nintendo Console wars, the games produced certainly were...interesting. The concepts behind these games were often kept secret, making the public wonder ''Just what inspired this game?'' One such game was from Hudson Software, entitled ''Adventure Island.''

How is this game confusing and weird in its originality? You’re a little kid named “Master Higgins”, and you wear a loincloth while chucking axes at animals. Not only is that pretty weird, but you are traveling along a set of islands in the tropics, trying to save your girlfriend from aliens. How confused can you get, programmers? Why does a toddler have a girlfriend? How did he get onto these islands, with no parental supervision? Did he make those axes himself? And finally, does this game deliver a true “Adventure”, or is it merely set on an “Island”?

Good Points:
The graphics, for an earlier Nintendo game, are quite nice. The Backgrounds have a nice island-feel to them, which although is exactly what we were expecting, is still pleasant to look at. The challenge also ranks high here, as the progression from level to level is rather simple, with increasing difficulty. There are no real jumps in the challenge, so it's a steady climb to the final battle. Another good point is the originality, which is almost perfect. We've seen platformers like this before, so the Originality score is taken down a notch. Other than that, how often have you seen infants taking on evil beings to save loved ones, using home-made axes and skateboards? Huh? HUH?

Bad Points:
Well, the controls, the graphics, the sound, and the music all suck. These bring down the enjoyment, while jacking up the challenge, giving you the final equation “Game = Not Very Good.” I hope this clarifies things. If not, allow me to explain further in the individual categories.

General Ratings:

Graphics:
Let’s face it, it’s not the cream of the crop. You have the same few backgrounds, the same obstacles, and the same ol’ special items to get you by. Even the bosses look the same! Well, except for their heads...some of the backgrounds have colorful palm trees (as colorful as palm trees can be), while others take place in caves or in forests. These areas are drawn with lots of color, but unfortunately there isn't much variety to them. What's even worse is these stages are reused, ad nauseam, without any real changes except for monster and item locations! That's not a good thing to do...

Master Higgins certainly could have used more animation. The concept of a 3-year-old baby walking around in his diaper and a baseball cap, chucking axes at who-knows-what, is pretty funny. Add in the slight belly that a toddler would have and large, curious eyes, and you've got a downright loveable character; however, having only 2 frames of animation for him walking just doesn't do him justice. I think it would be funny to see Master Higgins flail his arms about whenever he jumped, or maybe cry every time he got hit. Either way, they simply didn't expand on the character enough.

Sound Effects:
Not much to write home about here. There are some sound effects for things getting hit, or Master Higgins picking up items, or ol' Higgy falling to his premature doom off of a cliff or cloud. But upon looking back, the game didn't have sounds that were very good (I was expecting, for an adventure as ludicrous as this, to have more humourous sounds), nor did it have that many. Since the sounds weren't that good, it is my thinking that not having many was a good thing.

Now, you're probably wondering what I meant by ''Humourous Sounds.'' It's simple - remember the sound heard when Wily Coyote fell over the cliff, time and time again? The high whistle, slowly dropping down, replaced by a loud crunch when he hit rock bottom? Why couldn't they do that for Higgins? Or perhaps some silly bouncing sounds whenever he jumped? Or maybe a silly bonk sound or car horn when he clubs an enemy? If you think about it, a random sound like a car horn would have been just perfect for enemies getting hit.

Master Higgins is approaching the enemy.
Enemy: GRRRRR!!!
Higgins lets loose with a homemade axe.
Enemy: Eek!
The enemy gets hit by the axe squarely on the head, dropping it to the ground.
Axe: HONK!
The crowd erupts in laughter and applause. Master Higgins takes a bow.

See, wouldn't that have been GREAT?

Music:
Not much here, either. I tell ya, this game just isn’t much in sound OR graphics! The music you do hear is repetitive and not very memorable. And in the sense of memorable, I mean that songs that are catchy can be heard a couple of times and be remembered, while annoying ones can be heard again and again and unless you make the conscious effort to remember them, you won't. This game, while actually containing music, does not have much GOOD music to speak of.

Originality:
Ah, a winner here. Sure, it’s a side scroller, but this was really early when the only other side scroller was Super Mario Bros.! Now, let's look at the other defining points of the game:

The Hero: As I've said several times now, having a toddler as the hero is insane and innovative at the same time. Who says the hero of a game has to be some big, overly-masculine man who has bulging muscles and sunglasses? Master Higgins laughs at you! HA!

The Landscape: There aren't many platform side-scrollers that take place on islands (unless you count ''Amagon'' or ''Startropics,'' but Startropics isn't a Side-Scroller), which this game obviously does. The oceanic views and palm trees give a nice tropical feel, while the evil voodoo alien bosses just scream of Central America and James Bond's ''Live and Let Die''.

The Story: A toddler goes off to save his girlfriend from evil voodoo-alien-thingies, using axes and skateboards and dumb luck and oversized bees and fruit. As I said with Super Mario Bros., looks like the programmers have been doin' the wacky weed while workin' again!

Play Control:
Again, not so much here. Sluggish response doesn’t bade too well with me. Then there's the perpetual feeling that you are walking on ice, and the all-too-easy deaths at monsters because you either couldn't time a jump right, or you didn't have a weapon because you died seven times trying to clear one single jump, until you want to take your controller and spin it around your head and slam it into the ground like Spiderman does in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and it's just really really irritating, and I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE, WHERE'S MY HOWITZER???

Enjoyment:
Let me see, hammer to the forehead vs. playing this game…how big was the hammer again? Seriously, this game was used to condition people’s nerves, and that’s about it. Repetitive stages with repetitive music and poor controls don't make the game. People watching watch only to see if you actually CAN beat this game without losing your cool and making obscure references to other video games and religion while cursing the game.

Challenge:
Sluggish controls + difficult, tricky gameplay = big fat load of crap! I swear (frequently), games should NOT be hard because the controls suck! Then again, did we really expect a child with homemade weaponry to succeed against aliens this easily? I don't care how many times you've played Commander Keen, it's not that easy!

Ending:
Woo hoo. I beat the bad guy. I’m going to go play Chrono Trigger again. Blech...since I can't give any spoilers to the ending, I will say this - play the game to see if you can beat it, don't play the game so you can get the ending. You'll be in for a major let-down.

Overall:
Overall, the game is good for a quick play, but don't expect any major replay value to come from this. Secrets in this game are few and far between, and awfully easy to find, so you won't need to go through twice to find any. As for the gameplay itself, it doesn't deem another play either. Games like Super Mario Bros. or Final Fantasy have unique points to them that make you want to play them again, but this one is a one-time deal for most people. It's just not worth that much more.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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