Review by KasketDarkfyre

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

Higgins...for some reason, I think of Magnum P.I.

Hudson Soft just kept the series rolling with the introduction of Adventure Island 2. However, what happened was there was a character switch that caught me off-guard and really didn’t effect how the game played, other than it was a slightly different character with the same story line! This time around, you’re introduced to Master Higgins and you’re out to save your girl from the clutches of an evil doer. You’re pretty much looking at the same story, but without the beach and the island as your only place of exploring because another major addition to the game is the introduction of a World Map. This map allows you to go from place to place in really cranks up the challenge in some stages if you’re not prepared for the challenge that may wait when you get there! Something else that comes through is the improved visuals and overall sound that the game has to offer. When you look at the game, you’ll be looking at a theme similar to the first, but with better detail that plays virtually the same as the original version.

The game play pits you back in the skirt of new hero, Master Higgins and you’ll be taken through eight different areas of side scrolling action. Something that has changed is the fact that you are no longer left to fight the forces of evil with just your trusty tomahawk, but the addition of improved dinosaurs to help you in your quest across the map! You’ll find that collecting your items and the eggs as well as using the skateboard isn’t as easy as it was in the first one, but the overall challenge of the game is limited to just how fast you can whip out a tomahawk. Other changes to the game come in the form of the different stages that you’ll encounter, which is limited to swimming stages, and requires a completely different strategy to play. Enemies can either come across as hard or easy depending on your skill to avoid them, and with the addition of your new dino friends, you’ll find that the game has a degree of challenge that varies from gamer to gamer! A downfall to some of these additions is that you’re not always doing what it is that you’re looking to do, and in some cases, you’ll find that the game will screw you simply because your timing is off in the slightest. You come to expect that from a NES game, so be prepared to expect it here.

The game suffers from a control problem that I like to call Ghost Control. In some cases, you’ll find that the game doesn’t do what it is that you want it to do, even though you’ve pressed, hammered or stomped on the button in question! These problems come up more with the jumping of the game than they do anywhere else, and you’ll find that the game is more difficult when you have to use the skateboard than it is anywhere else in the game. Different control sets really aren’t an option here, and all it takes is a little practice with your timing in order to get everything down correctly. Veterans of the action gaming genre will have no problem picking this up and even beginning gamers will find that the control is easy enough to pick up and go with after just a few short minutes!

Visually, Adventure Island is a hell of a game that has the most improvements. You have much more detail with your character and even that of the enemies that you face off against. Different enemies take on a life of their own in how they move, attack and otherwise, although getting rid of them is still bumping them off the bottom of the screen ala Super Mario Brothers 2! You’ll find that the game visuals are different for every stage and area on the map, so you’re never really looking at the same stage layout twice. Brighter backgrounds and better-detailed enemies shows that improvements can be made, even on a game as old as this and really puts faith in the fact the NES can’t screw every sequel up.

The audio in Adventure Island 2 is decent, but sounds more like the original with a slightly lighter tone put to it! The music of the stages really doesn’t change much, and you’ll have a somewhat adventurous tone throughout the game that will haunt you in your sleep if you listen to it too much. When you throw this in with the sound effects that you’ve heard before in the original and other games for that matter, you’ll find that the improvements really haven’t gone further than the visuals of the game. This is both a good and bad thing in which you’ll find that the slight changes in the audio is a disappointment while the fact that the NES didn't have a chance to butcher the hell out of a game with crappy MIDI music is a good thing!

Adventure Island 2 is a decent sequel that brings back the mindless action that the first one offered to the table. While the game play really hasn’t changed much outside of the dinosaur addition and the new map feature, you’ll find that the game is still fun to play whether you’re eight to eighteen. Visually, this game has the most improvements, where as the sound and everything else really hasn’t changed much since the previous game! If you’re a Hudson Soft fan, then you’ll find that this game is right up your alley without enough depth to truly make this a hard action game. NES owners and otherwise might want to pick up this title to play simply because it has several instances of improvement, even though some of those improvements can’t be seen outside of the visuals. Let the adventure continue, Adventure Island doesn’t stop here and only seems to get better as it moves into more sequels, and creates something of a cash cow series for the ancient Hudson Soft company!

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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