Review by DarkSaiyan20

Reviewed: 09/29/04

I still have nightmares about the difficulty.

When talking to a collector about the NES and it's army of great classics the Adventure Island series is usually mentioned a time or two. They will always recommend the second or third game of the series but never the first. Here's why.

It all seems innocent enough. Tina has been kidnapped by the evil Witch Doctor and it's up to Master Higgins to save the day. Sounds alot like Super Mario Bros. doesn't it? It sure does. The first game owes alot to that beloved classic. In fact it came out a whole 2 years after SMB's release. You would think by borrowing from that formula Hudson Soft would've come out with a winner. They were dead wrong. Let's get on with this review shall we.

Graphics/Sound - 5/10
The backgrounds are nice and a little on the detailed side for 1987. Unfortunately Master Higgins turns out to be a splotch of colors on the screen. The enemies and bosses suffer from the same problem. As for sound it's standard for NES games from this time so I'm not really gonna go into a whole lot of detail.

Gameplay/Control - 3/10
Here's where the whole game really starts to go downhill. The game is divided into 8 worlds. Each world has four stages each. The fourth stage always contains the boss. To get through each of these stages you go to the right dodging or killing enemies while collecting fruit. The fruit you collect gives you points and helps refill your depleting energy bar at the top of the screen below your score. Sounds pretty simple. Now keep in mind that your energy bar allows you to stay alive provided that you don't run into an enemy, hit a trap, or fall into a pit. That's right folks one hit kills you. There are no magic fruits to give you that extra hit. There is a fairy thing and once you find one you are temporarily invincible, but believe me they are few and far between in the later levels. Unfortunately there is also a fairy like eggplant that follows you and rapidly depletes your energy bar until you have two tallies left. You see them more often than the fairies. Both of these items are found in eggs which are scattered throughout the whole game giving you a few other power-ups such as the skateboard (an extra hit but hard to control) and the axe/fireball (this is your best friend here). So you play through the first world, kill the insanely easy boss, and now in your in world 2-1. While your playing your seeing some of the previous stages over again just with more enemies and fewer powerups. Okay well that's fine SMB was the same way. Then at some point you get to a later stage and it's taking you 2 or 3 hours just to clear it for the first time. What I'm trying to say is this game is hard. And very unfairly so at that. I love a challenge but I like them when there is plenty of balance. The only way to progress through some of the later worlds is with some trick and alot of luck. Now despite the fact the control layout is real simple controlling Master Higgins isn't. In order to reach his maximum jump height he must be moving or the B button must be held down. At first this may not seem so bad but some areas of the game are just brutal where you'll have to be running fast, jumping, and throwing axes at the same time only to land on some small platform where you won't have enough ground to stop and you'll have to just jump to the next one. That's when some ill-placed enemy swoops in and kills you. ARRGH!!!! Now repeat all this process a few more thousand times and hours later your in the next stage. Just wonderful. There are no warp zones to help you out nor stage select codes. The only thing to save you from the fact you have no continues is the Hudson Bee found in world 1-1. By collecting this item and entering a code at the game over screen you can start at the world you died in. This already next to impossible game would be more so without it.

Fun Factor - 3/10
I give this a 3 instead of a 1 because the first few areas are pretty fun to play through but beyond that it's just not worth it. I could only make it up to world 8-3 and I drove myself nuts getting there. Playing this passively isnt bad if you don't have the sequels but I'd steer clear from this one.

To buy or not to buy?
If you're a collector and love the others get to complete the series. If you're not a collector stay as far away from this one as possible. Go for Adventure Island II or III instead

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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