In 1988, platformers were all the rage with Mario-type clones. Hudson Soft began to develop its own port of Sega’s arcade game “Wonder Boy” starring Master Higgins in the game “Adventure Island” released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Master Higgins would go on to star in a few sequels for the Adventure Island series. Let’s take a look at the game that kicked off the series in this Adventure Island review.
Adventure Island Plot:
Hanging out on a tropical island in the South Pacific sounds nice right? Too bad the islands in Adventure Island are filled with dangerous monsters and an evil witch doctor. This witch doctor has kidnapped Princess Leilani and it’s up to Master Higgins, a beach bum, to rescue her. Will his rescue effort earn love in this Adventure Island review?
Adventure Island Gameplay:
The main character of Adventure Island is a guy that looks like a caveman called Master Higgins. Higgins is in the South Pacific looking for a Princess named Leilani who was captured by a witch doctor. The entire game definitely has the feel of islands and caves located in the South Pacific. I’m not sure what Master Higgins’ relationship with Princess Leilani was before he heard she was captured, but if I was him, I’d say fuck that bitch. I’m not going on some wild goose chase to find you and go through 32 levels of deadly animals, fish, magic, and cliffs to find a complete stranger who may or may not be hot. Poor Master Higgins can’t even Google her to see what she looks like. But either way, Master Higgins, goes out of his way to save the Princess and so did I during this Adventure Island review.
Traveling through 32 levels was not easy at all during my Adventure Island review. There are eight worlds, that vary to some degree but each world continues to climb in difficulty. Once I reached world five, things for Master Higgins went downhill quickly. World eight was a nightmare as it took me close to 30 tries to beat just one level. That’s a lot of tries at 30. Think about it! I found out I was focused best after taking a 15-minute break to calm myself down when I returned to the game I usually could beat whatever was troubling me on my first try back. One of the weirdest things about this game was your power-ups. Giant eggs would appear and you would crack them open to reveal a tomahawk, and throwing balls attached to strings that are on fire? There was also a skateboard which makes perfect sense complete with a helmet that helped you speed your way through the level. Adventure Island is a one hit and you’re dead game so the skateboard added an extra hit that you can take which was nice. You also had to fight against time. The more fruit you eat the more time you got, so if you cracked open an egg to reveal a bottle of milk, that was the holy grail because you got full time back. There was also a little angel that made you invincible for a short period. Eggs were great but you had to be careful because there was one bad thing that could come out of the egg. That item? An evil eggplant? Apparently, a developer didn’t like eggplants so if you cracked an egg and it had one, the eggplant would follow you around and eat your time bar.
The boss battles are the easiest, and most boring during my Adventure Island review. I never died once facing any of the bosses. They are just stone statues that come alive and throw fire at you while you easily dodge and throw your tomahawk at them. Each boss has a different head, but the person you never fight is the witch doctor who started this entire thing. After rescuing the princess she gives you a hug and hearts soar above Master Higgins. How precious.
In the summer of seventh grade, my house was the place to be. I would usually have four to five friends at a time either playing sports or video games with me. Seventh grade was also the time that my friends and I started to hang out with girls. That became more complicated as I didn’t want to invite them over to my house with my dad around in fear of him embarrassing me. Occasionally, my guy friends and I would play basketball at my church that was just a couple of blocks down the road from our house. The church was almost always open, and we soon discovered that we could explore it. We headed down into the basement where my Sunday school classes used to be held to find that the basement had changed quite a bit. Instead of little tables and chairs, we found a gold mine! By gold mine, I mean a few beat-up couches around an old television, a Nintendo hooked up to it and towers and towers of free Mountain Dew Code Red stacked around the place. It was heaven, well heaven for seventh graders. So whenever we wanted to hang out with the girls, we took them to our secret hangout place. Nicknamed “the hangout” (original, I know). One of these times in “the hangout”, we decided to play the Nintendo and the game that was in it was a strange one that featured a caveman-like guy running across the screen jumping over obstacles and eating fruit. We never got too far into the game, dying usually in the second or third level but it was enough entertainment for us even when hopped up on Mountain Dew. That game? Turns out it was Adventure Island.
Adventure Island Review Score:
Adventure Island offers another run at platformers from the 80s. It’s more difficult than Mario but the suffers from boring bosses during my Adventure Island review. Master Higgins falls into the pit of lost platforming mascots from yesteryear. I’d only play this game if you love retro platformers because the game offers little to others.
Adventure Island scores a 6.5 out of 10.
What would you write in your Adventure Island review? Do you remember when Adventure Island first came out? What did you think of the weird power-ups and evil eggplant? Did you have a video game hangout growing up? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!