Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | AND | IOS | PC | PS4 | NS | VITA | WIIU | XB1 | All

Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure (NES) artwork

Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure (NES) review

"Because of the way things are organized, most of the game is spent fetching items and dodging the hazards that get in your way. Suppose you're after that salad dressing I mentioned. When you first enter a stage, you'll have no idea where it is located. If you talk to the locals, they might give you general clues about its location, but even then you have to do a lot of searching because the prize is never on the roadway."

Bill & Ted's Excellent Videogame Adventure is a bad game. There's no question about that. Yet somehow, in spite of everything, there are times when it's an engrossing experience like few others on the NES or any other system of the time. Playing it, you can feel things almost working at every corner. You start to feel like you're really hopping through time and seeking out exciting people from ages long gone. Then the game, much like the titular protagonist, stumbles and falls.

Each session begins with you flipping through a phone book. Some famous person has gone missing, and the world will never be the same again unless you head back in time to find the historic figure, then convince him or her to return to the appropriate period and do that which people expect of important dudes and dudettes.

Once you find the phone number for the desired individual, you jump into the circuits of time, which is basically a mini-game that serves as your gate to an actual stage. Here you'll find bubbles placed along a grid with numbers inside. You can launch your whirling phone booth along to save some time and coins, or you can follow the circuits on their set path, spending one of your precious quarters at each juncture. There are risks both way, since the booth spins quickly and it can be difficult to determine just when to press the button. Worse, skull bubbles line the path and will not only steal a coin but send you backward. It's rough and at times it can feel downright cheap.

If you manage to get through the circuits of time, then the game begins in earnest. You're dropped within the appropriate period and left to explore.

Your real goal here is twofold: you need to find your quarry and you need to locate the bribe that will convince him or her to return with you. Each stage contains four (deviously hidden) key items. In one area, you might pick up some salad dressing when you're trying to talk to Robin Hood. That's no good. Only Caesar cares about seasoning his lettuce. The legendary thief you're seeking is all about the bling-bling. So you have to keep searching until you find that special something that will do the talking for you. Then it's back to the circuits of time, and perhaps the end of a level if you don't run out of coins on the return trip.

Because of the way things are organized, most of the game is spent fetching items and dodging the hazards that get in your way. Suppose you're after that salad dressing I mentioned. When you first enter a stage, you'll have no idea where it is located. If you talk to the locals, they might give you general clues about its location, but even then you have to do a lot of searching because the prize is never on the roadway. Instead, it's often hiding in some brush or behind a boulder along the side of the road.

That's where things get really frustrating. If you jump off a path to grab an item, you have to wait as your character lands flat on his back, then stands up. By taking that leap of faith, you may find the treasure you seek, or some pudding cups or a stereo. Alternatively--and more frequently--you may find absolutely nothing. Then you have to hop back onto the path and search some more. Once you've narrowed the hiding place of your historical object down to a small area, you have to repeat this process at length until you finally secure the trinket.

Even when you're just trying to get across the map, you'll wind up flat on your butt more times than you'd like. Sometimes you have to jump over a fence and you don't realize it but the place where you're about to land (despite a lack of visual cues) isn't suitable for walking. Other times a crazed jailer dude is chasing you so that he can throw you in jail (a place you can leave quite freely, but a place you generally want to avoid because it's not often located in an ideal sector of the map). You can toss pudding or boom boxes his way to serve as distractions, but sometimes you don't have any in your inventory and instead must flee. Whether because you're being chased or you're just in a hurry and looking for goodies, you'll spend a lot of time dropping to the ground for reasons that aren't immediately clear.

Along the way, you might also take a ride down a raging river in a canoe, or hop on the back of a horse and ride through an obstacle course to grab some coins at the end. Either of those diversions can be enjoyable despite clunky controls, but finding them often means traipsing across a map while angry citizens hunt you down. If they catch you, you'll either have to part with a precious coin you want to save for the return trip through the circuits of time or you'll be tossed back in the slammer.

The whole game plays out like that, with you jumping and stumbling your way through hours of treasure hunting. Once you complete one stage, it's on to the next. Many of the locales are repeated several times throughout the game. By the time you reach the end, there are so many people out for your blood that you can hardly take a step without running into a jailer. Certainly, such challenging moments can prove exhilarating, but that's only when you're not cursing at the television screen because you dropped to the ground yet again. Like I said, Bill & Ted's Excellent Videogame Adventure is occasionally engrossing, but the plodding pace means you'll mostly find it to be a waste of your valuable time. Sorry, dude!

Rating: 4/10

honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (Date unavailable)

Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.

More Reviews by Jason Venter [+]
Scribblenauts: Showdown (Switch) artwork
Scribblenauts: Showdown (Switch)

Scribblenauts Showdown is a remarkably good party game for you and friends, but single-player feels restrictive.
Arcade Archives: Moon Patrol (Switch) artwork
Arcade Archives: Moon Patrol (Switch)

Moon Patrol is the all too rare classic that was fun back in the day and still has plenty to offer modern gamers.
Arcade Archives: Double Dragon (Switch) artwork
Arcade Archives: Double Dragon (Switch)

For a game that helped launch such a terrific genre, Double Dragon should play a lot better than it does.


If you enjoyed this Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Policies/Ethics | Contact | Advertise | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2018 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.