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Adventure Island (NES) artwork

Adventure Island (NES) review


"Please note that half of this review is going to be nearly identical to my review of Wonder Boy. Why you ask? Because they're the same game. That's right. Hudson Soft obtained the rights from developer Escape, now known as Westone Bit Entertainment, and changed the main character Tom Tom to Master Higgins and changed the graphics, music, and difficulty, resulting in Adventure Island. I bought it for the Wii Virtual Console. "



Please note that half of this review is going to be nearly identical to my review of Wonder Boy. Why you ask? Because they're the same game. That's right. Hudson Soft obtained the rights from developer Escape, now known as Westone Bit Entertainment, and changed the main character Tom Tom to Master Higgins and changed the graphics, music, and difficulty, resulting in Adventure Island. I bought it for the Wii Virtual Console.

Unlike Wonder Boy though which turned into an action RPG, the series continued the same platforming formula with its 2nd and 3rd installments just like the Super Mario Bros series did. I have mixed reactions about this game being just a copy of the original Wonder Boy and don't know how to completely feel about it. It's a total ripoff of Wonder Boy on one hand because it's simply just a clone, and if the 2nd and 3rd games were different while still being platformers, then the 1st one should have also been different. Seriously why couldn't they have done that? The original Adventure Island could have been a different style platformer like the 2nd and 3rd ones are so that the worlds and levels would be different and it would be a completely different game under the same genre. That way Wonder Boy would have been its own separate game and Adventure Island would have not been a ripoff but rather a new fresh start of its own game and game series like Super Mario Bros. But ripping off Wonder Boy is like another platformer series ripping off Super Mario Bros with its first game by cloning the first Super Mario Bros and changing the graphics and music also. People wouldn't like that very much would they? But on the other hand, the remade game was still really cool the way it was even if it did just copy Wonder Boy, which I will explain when I get to the graphics.

The story is the same as Wonder Boy with characters changed. Master Higgins is trying to rescue his girlfriend Tonya from the evil Witch Doctor. Thatís it. Pretty uninspired with no cutscenes at all, but this is exactly what I was expecting because itís basically a copy of the Super Mario Bros theme. Adventure Island is good old classic side scrolling jump and run formula while collecting fruit, dodging obstacles including rocks and boulders, and dodging and attacking enemies including snakes, bats, skulls, spiders, birds, frogs, and whales across 8 worlds with 4 levels each including caves, forests, skies, icelands, and a couple more. With a stone ax. There is 1 vase to collect in each level and collecting them earns you extra points. I'm glad it didn't unlock extra levels like in Wonder Boy because this game is too hard so ironically that's not at all what I want.

You have to collect fruit that randomly appears to stay alive because if you don't, your vitality will decrease rapidly and you'll die. So it's a game of speed and you constantly have to keep moving forward. You also collect it to gain a high score, but the problem with this is that if you lose all lives and continue, your score will reset and you'd have to try and beat it again. I think it should save and restore every time you continue, but I understand why it makes sense not to, so I guess I can't complain much about that.

I kind of wish there had been more different environments, but hey, the game still looks and plays great the way the backgrounds already are, and changing the placement of enemies and obstacles in each round makes it forgivable. They still managed to create a whole game out of it, so again I canít complain much about that because it would require the game to be and look completely different. This game requires patience, timing, and top notch mastery reflexes and platforming skills. You can run so quickly on many of the levels and then die because the placement of enemies or obstacles was thrown way off of and encountered too fast for your reaction time capacity. But if you go too slow and you don't have an ax, you will either lose vitality or even if you're ok, you could still accidentally hit a boulder or some creature, especially frogs. So the game requires you to memorize the pattern of oncoming enemies and obstacles so that you will learn and remember exactly what to expect and when exactly it will come across your path and what the correct speed to go at will be. This takes lots of practice with trial and error and consistency.

There are also eggs on the ground that you will open if you run right into them that either contain an ax, a skateboard, fireballs, or a bad insect that will eat away your vitality. Unfortunately unlike Wonder Boy, there's no way of telling which eggs are bad. So you're going to have to run into every egg in sight and that's taking a risk which just makes the game even harder and more unpredictable than it already is.

Skateboards are used to run through the game faster. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Going faster by riding can be good if you have sharp quick and accurate reflexes to the stimuli because you'll be flying through the level at high speed in a breeze. But if you don't, then you will probably easily fall off if you go fast because you can't stop on it, and you'll have to hold back the arrow to ride at a slower speed, which really to me doesn't seem any or much different than running without the skateboard.

Some of the frogs that move require you to just run straight through without stopping so that they can jump right over you. If you don't, it will hit you unless you learn how to jump over it, but in my opinion this is fortunately and surprisingly a lot easier to do than in Wonder Boy. So you don't always have to run straight through if you're running pretty slow. You can easily learn to jump over them. If you're running fast though, forget it. Just run straight through. Unfortunately though, Adventure Island is a lot more difficult than Wonder Boy. I don't know why. They said Adventure Island was a port of Wonder Boy in regard to gameplay, but that seems to me to be a big fat lie. There are a lot more enemies and obstacles thrown into Wonder Boy than in Adventure Island. This game took me like 8 hours, whereas Wonder Boy only took me like 3.

This game is a brutal punishment and I felt like I was playing a game brought to me from hell designed by Satan himself. If you find the hidden egg with the Hudson Bee at the end of 1-1 by jumping up and down right at the very left of the last ledge you jump on before the G sign, you will get unlimited continues when you lose all lives if you just hold any arrow and the start button at the game over screen. I found this out as a cheat code online, but if there were no cheat codes online, how is anyone supposed to figure that out by themselves? You won't unless you have some kind of psychic mind powers. So why put the player through all that in the first place? The game should have just had unlimited continues to begin with. Wonder Boy did, so this game should not an exception since it IS the same game. That's just crazy. And if you don't have the Hudson Bee, the game will be impossible and unplayable for anyone because you will only have 3 lives throughout the whole game and will be unable to continue at all.

However, even with the Hudson Bee, the game is still feels nearly impossible because you have lives and have to restart at the very beginning of the level and replay it over and over again if you die just because of that one seemingly impossible part near the end only to fail many more times until you finally manage to beat it. This just becomes too stressful, boring, and monotonous and makes the game feel like a chore or piece of work because it wastes so much time and you could have been finished with each level and the game had there not been lives.

It's ludicrous. Especially if you don't have or lose your ax. Then you'll have to carefully maneuver around the enemies with caution and you may die even more than you would with the ax. The simple solution to this is for Hudson Soft(or any company with any video game really) to get rid of lives and just allow the player to restart at the last checkpoint every time they die. Why companies don't realize this (in this particular case Hudson Soft) and understand that it's not worth it to punish the player because they will lose their fanbase and sales by doing so is beyond my comprehension.

The music in this game is delightful. There are a variety of catchy and memorable tunes unlike Wonder Boy that suit the game perfectly. They are soothing and pleasing to your ears, and the composers of Hudson Soft really have a creative mind of their own that is worthy of praise in this game.

The graphics however are much lower quality than and and look ugly compared to Wonder Boy. What you are really seeing is a darker, lighter, and faded sprite alteration of bright colors. But they are still acceptable and likable by themselves without comparison. They are neither good nor bad but pretty average and standard. However, the purpose of the game was to give it different graphics (and music) whether better or not and make it a much harder game so that it will make it another port of an original game worth checking out. Otherwise the game would be pointless and wouldn't have even been released or existed. So in a way I praise these graphics for having their own unique look and feel that gives the game its purpose. But on the other hand, I would have preferred it if the original Adventure Island were a different style platformer like the 2nd and 3rd ones are, still with the better music and downgraded graphics that it has, so that the worlds and levels would be different and it would be a completely different game under the same genre, not a ripoff. Like I mentioned at the start of the review.

The bosses are fun and somewhat harder than Wonder Boy (surprise surprise). You'll have to find just the right pace to go at to defeat him. If you're a novice player, you will have to go pretty slow. If you're an intermediate, you can't go too slow but can't go too fast. If you're an expert, you will probably be able to go pretty fast. Thereís no weapons that the boss throws that you then use back against the boss to defeat him, which is a key vital element in any boss battle. Instead he throws fireballs and you have to dodge them and use your stone ax to defeat his head. While Iíd like to say I wish they were bigger, complex, and more challenging, I guess that would be unfair considering the fact that itís a solid old school 2D game and touching anything results in death. So you canít really expect them to be detailed. Unlike Wonder Boy however, the heads looked the same on every single boss, and this was upsetting because I wanted the heads to look all different.

Overall, gameplay 6, graphics 6, music 10, story 2, total score 7. So to wrap it all up, I just can't believe that Adventure Island ripped off Wonder Boy. I find it unacceptable in a way because it's an exact port, when they could have started it out as a different game. I mean it's only logical and makes sense that because it continued the platforming genre in a series with 3 games like Super Mario Bros, that the 1st game just have been a different game to completely match up with Super Mario Bros. Not ripoff another game with the exact same levels. But on the other hand, it still turned out to be a great game overall mostly because they made it harder, but as I mentioned previously, you still have to restart the level even with the Hudson Bee. It takes forever to clear and will make you stressed out, scream, and shut the game off, so it still just didn't work out... Had they simply taken away lives and allowed you to restart at the checkpoint every time you die, then maybe I'd change my mind about being upset that it's just a ripoff port of Wonder Boy.

So in conclusion, I guess it depends on the person. If you don't care about ripoffs and actually enjoy them, then play the game. If you do care and don't like them, then don't play the game. Also, if you have strong skills and high patience and are a fan of platformers, then this is a definite must own. But if you have weak skills and not so hot in video game performance and you can't handle the frustration, stress, boredom, and monotony of dying and replaying levels, then avoid this one at all costs. If you get mad easily and don't want your blood pressure to skyrocket to the boiling point, SKIP THIS GAME. Stay away or you'll be sorry.

Rating: 7/10

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Community review by Smiley_Face123 (November 30, 2013)

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Wonder Boy (Sega Master System) artwork
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