Monday, October 8, 2012

NES Replay: Adventure Island

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Released: 1987
Is This The Best Game Featuring a
Half-Naked Fat Guy: Almost
In NES Replay, we go through each NES game from A-Z to see if they're any good. Today: Adventure Island.

One of my pet peeves with "hardcore" gamers is when they grouse about the difficulty of the current generation of games. You'll hear them complain that games are too easy now, and gamers should have to play just like we did when we were young, doggone it!

"We had ONE quarter to spend at the arcade, and if you died within the first minute of playing that was your own fault, and everything was trying to kill you, and the slightest touch of a stray bullet would do it! And if that didn't kill you, there was a timer ticking down in the corner, and when that ran out you would die too! And we liked it, because that's how we had it!"

News flash: The only reason games were that hard is because developers didn't know any better. Most developers got their start in the arcade era, and in the arcades of yore, the only goal was to separate you from your hard-earned cash by any means necessary. If that meant the difficulty needed to be cranked up, that was your problem. When those developers moved over to the NES, they carried those principles with them, which meant that most NES games bore the stamp of excessive difficulty. QED.

I have nothing to add to this picture.
Adventure Island is one of those kind of games. If you get hit once, you die. You can get a skateboard that gives you two hits, but makes you rocket through the level at a breakneck speed, so it doesn't really help. If you die, you lose your weapon and have to hope that you get another one soon, since you can't kill anything without it and are basically a sitting duck. You have three lives, and when you lose those, then the game drops you back to the very beginning without even a kiss on the mouth.

In the wrong hands, this type of difficulty is an incredible chore. With Adventure Island, though, it's not that bad. The levels are still fun enough that you're not throwing the controller down, and the music is bouncy and varied enough to keep you bopping along.

Still, you can't get over this nagging feeling that the game would have been that much better if they would have eased up a little bit. If they had, it may have been a classic. As it is, it's almost there, but not quite.

Final Rating:

Next week: Adventure Island II

Looking for more NES games? Click here for more!

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