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Doug and Lily (PC) artwork

Doug and Lily (PC) review


"A cheap Adventure Island clone that... well, it's a cheap Adventure Island clone."


Doug and Lily cost me 50 cents. And so: tread carefully.

Doug and Lily are a cave couple whose nameless son has been abducted by a nameless wizard. The Steam store page describes Doug as a "brave warrior," and Lily? His "lovely wife." Apparently, nothing will stop the pair (you choose to play as either), because, and I'm paraphrasing, they have dinosaurs, a pile of rocks and us!

That sounds like a recipe for success. And from the basic kidnapping premise on out, Doug and Lily doesn't even try to hide the fact that it's a straight up Adventure Island clone. In all ways that are important, the clone is inferior to the 1986 original, and I'm talking about the Nintendo version starring Master Higgins and I'm also talking about the Sega Master System title, Wonderboy, which came before it.

This game has a modern countenance, and so it sports bright, pleasing pastel backdrops and your progress is instantly saved from level-to-level, but that’s all the updating of the blueprint that has been done. And yet, the old pixel graphics have more charm, and while the progress-saving prevents hair-tearing repetition, it also facilitates an experience that is over in less than an hour.



Almost immediately, I took stock of the breadth of Doug and Lily's failure to live up to a 30-year-old archetype, and in spite of that, I still gave it the time of day. I played it for the 45 minutes or so it took to beat it once. I'm not sure if that says more about me than it does the game.

There are over 40 levels to beat, and a handful of bosses ranging from belligerent tree spirit to animated dinosaur fossil. When the game most closely resembles its source material, it's at its best, so we'll start there: your avatar is a cutesy prehistoric hero or heroine, who chucks projectiles at creepy crawlies, and dodges ill-placed giant rocks and campfires alike. There are swooping birds and spiders that drop in, and they look decent, but there are also an odd group of coloured shapes with faces that look like they just bounced out of an Angry Birds game to be here.

And the enemies aren't just an inconsistent and unimpressive bunch -- they're also easily dispatched and not as cleverly situated as you would hope. So yes, Doug and Lily is short and easy. And the decision to include the little ride-on dinosaurs right out of Adventure Island II, continues that trend. After all, from atop our mounts we can take one more hit before dying, since the first hit of course, loses you the dinosaur. And despite having only one heart container throughout the game, it's difficult to die. The dinos also allow you to walk on lava, removing any potential challenge the 'fire cave' levels might have had.



Furthermore, the emphasis on speed from the original games is lost here. There is no holding the B button down to run, there is no skateboard to further ramp up that speed. Similarly, there is no vitality meter. In Adventure Island, time itself was against you, as your energy bar would run down simply with the passage of time. This would compel you to grab as many vitality replenishing fruit hung about the environs as you possibly could to stay alive. Doug and Lily dispenses with the running, with the skateboard, with the vitality meter, and with the fruit.

All you need to do is hurl stones at fairly static and often lonely critters, hop over those pesky rocks and campfires, and collect stars for points. (Or don't collect them, it doesn't really matter.) While there are still crumbling and rising platforms to keep you honest, there are none of the usual side-to-side affairs for you to time, that you would've become accustomed to navigating in a game like this.

What we're left with is a very stripped-down, barebones ode to Master Higgins that looks like it was made with Flash in a very short time. The music, I'm ashamed to say is somewhat catchy despite the fact that the tunes are completely incongruent and thematically inconsistent, which makes sense since it seems they were composed by a handful of different people -- I can see where each person was tasked with making a different track, and then they were all thrown together in the end. Despite all this, I enjoyed this game and the extremely fleeting experience and extremely light impression it made, because I enjoy Adventure Island type games. If that's you you'll enjoy it too, but understand that there's a strict limit to the enjoyment you can have with Doug and Lily.

About 50 cents worth.

2/5

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (April 15, 2018)

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honestgamer posted April 15, 2018:

You make this game sound like 50 cents well spent, because 45 minutes of entertainment for 50 cents is pretty cheap entertainment! The lack of the mechanics that made Adventure Island such a nail biter sound like a problem, but I always felt that series was a little too difficult for its own good. It all but had to be, so you would spend a bunch of hours finally beating that $60 game. Anyway, your criticisms all seem like they would apply to me, and it's not like I'm short on games to play (if anything, I'm short on time), so I definitely can see why you wouldn't have awarded the game a higher score despite the value it apparently provides. Yours was a better review than the game itself probably deserves: fun to follow along, quick to make convincing points, and then done before I had time to start wondering how much longer I would need to keep reading. Great stuff!

Side note: your review's tagline/summary really worked well for me, too!
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Masters posted April 16, 2018:

Thanks, Jason. I know you like your retro games on the easier side, but even you might be bored by this rote, nearly challengeless retread. Glad you liked the review though!

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