NES – #29 – Adventure Island

I think I’ve heard this game come up in conversation a few times, but I’ve never actually played it, nor do I remember it from my childhood.

I’ve read that it’s basically the NES’ answer to Wonder Boy for the SMS, but since I only remember playing two or three SMS games growing up, and this wasn’t one of them, I don’t really know what that means. I’m just hoping for a decent platforming experience after the frustration that was Double Dragon II.

Night 1:

It was very late, but I really wanted to get at least a few minutes of this game in.

First impressions were great, actually! It was like Super Mario Bros. but with a fat nekkid guy. The game handled really well and I had a lot of fun. I was only able to make it to 1-3 before forcing myself to turn it off and head to bed. Planning on giving it a lot more time tomorrow.

Night 2:

Okay, time to get serious…


So the game gets pretty nuts. Master Higgins is a bit more “floaty” than Mario ever was but not so much that you feel out of control, just enough that you really need to mind your momentum. Despite dying over, and over, and over, I’m finding the challenge of the first few levels really enjoyable, learning each new section.


The level tilesets change frequently. I had to traverse everything from tropical islands, to ancient ruins, to icy caverns, to archipelagos to murky swamps. Each stage felt unique, even when tilesets were reused.


I’m also loving the power-ups in the game, like the skateboard and whatever the hell the invincibility thing is. What I found I don’t actually like is the hatchet. It almost feels mandatory, and if you ever lose it you’re punished harshly as the game suddenly becomes a thousand times more difficult. Areas that would be trivial with a bit of fire power suddenly become nearly impossible.


The bosses, while nightmare fuel, were ironically the most anticlimactic thing about each area. Every boss follows the exact same pattern, and you really have to be asleep at the controller to even possibly die at them.


And right about here is where the game started going from fun and challenging to frustrating and sadistic…


I wonder how many Americans back then knew they were looking at a Famicom controller.


Yep, @#$% this game. The music, oh god that music! I think the music is going to give me a seizure!!! It’s at this point I realized the only reason I’m continuing to play this game is out of spite, and for the fact that if I turn it off I’ll lose my continue point and have to start all the way back at the beginning. Seriously, those damn birds! After the birds it’s the snakes, then the boulders, more snakes, pits, rocks, snails… @#%!


…we’re done.

The style of the game, while simple and silly, was pretty great. The controls were above average, while not my preferable type of handling. I definitely got a sense of satisfaction getting through the trickier parts of the stages, though I think the fun in this game, for me, comes from playing it more like an arcade game. Playing with a group of people and seeing how far you can make it on one continue.

The music… I mean it was fun at first, but after playing through stages so many times I thought my ears were going to start bleeding. The game gets obscenely hard at the halfway mark, almost to the point of feeling unfair. It’s not unfair, and with practice I could eventually make it through, but I feel like I would end up hating the game at the end of it all.

NES-Adventure Island

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