Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nerdicus NES Review #15 : Adventure Island II

Title : Adventure Island II

Publisher : Hudson Soft

Release Date : 1991

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$20

Well, Master Higgins is at it again. Another group of islands filled with adventure (see, what I did there) and another princess to be rescued. Princess Tina has a real trust issue. She obviously was not taught as a child to yell "STRANGER, DANGER!". Then again, it's my guess that she has Stockholm Syndrome (same goes for every other princess that gets kidnapped in video games)

Adventure Island II takes all the quirks from the original Adventure Island and adds a sprinkling of Super Mario Brothers 3 to the mix. And I guess a little bit of Super Mario World too if you consider the fact that you are riding dinosaurs throughout half the game. Why they left the skateboard in here when you have DINOSAURS, I have no idea.

The question is though, does the mix of SMB3 and Adventure Island work? Most times, yes. Other times, not so much.

Is that a giant mutant pineapple!?
One giant iceberg next to two volcanoes.

The first thing you come to notice is the use of an "over world" map. It doesn't serve much purpose besides acting as a separator between Map levels. It doesn't have the variation that SMB3 where you can go back and forth. It's pretty much just for visuals here. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I do like the imagery of island hopping, even if I can't control where I'm going.

Glub Glub
*shudders* Ice levels...why

Level design throws a curve ball in this game compared to its predecsssor. There's no more check points, so if you die you're finding yourself back at the start. While this may seem like a cheap shot, the levels are also much shorter than the first game. You don't really have to rush your way through each level in fear of dying of lack of food to diminish your health meter. Take your time, and you shouldn't have a problem. Certain areas are "gamer rage" areas, but nothing that makes you want to body slam your NES.

And of course this game just HAD to introduce water levels. WHY? Why do games insist on making water levels that aren't even difficult in the sense of game play, but the fact that the design and mechanics are absolutely horrendous. I don't know what's worse - Water levels or Ice Levels.

Since when do Octopus have four eyes

Enemies in this game are a lot like the first one, and a bunch of them make a return. Snails, snakes, coconut bikini wearing pigs, and weird looking monkeys that chase after you from the opposite side of the screen. At least I think they are monkeys.

But the best addition are the new bosses at the end of each map. You're no longer fighting the same "mini-boss" as you were in Adventure Island, but instead fighting unique bosses appropriate for each map. Desert map has a giant ant lion, underwater ice map has a giant octopus. It gives you something to look forward to at the end of each map.

Look at dat wittle cutey!
There he goes, pooping on villains

But now on to the greatest addition to the Adventure Island series; DINOSAURS! Come on, who can resist riding on dinosaurs? Everyone loved it in Super Mario World with Yoshi. Unfortunately, this just isn't as good. Sure the dinosaurs are a lot better than the skateboard, and give you abilities such as flying and hurling poop projectiles at your enemies (seriously, the pterodactyl poops on enemies). The thing is, you don't really need the dinosaurs to beat the game. I used them more as "damage fodder" than anything else since they remove the one hit kill mechanic.

Everyone's a winner!
Meh, just give me my damn axe

There were a few other concepts borrowed from SMB3 that are pretty obvious. For one there is an option to select "stored" items before each level to help you. It's the same as when you can use a fire flower or a leaf before you start a stage in SMB3. Also at the end of each level there's a bonus round where you can break open a Price is Right Wheel Egg and find a 1-up for a few bonus points. Just like the roulette styled box at the end of a SMB3 stage. I'm not going to complain about it, but it just didn't feel as smoothly integrated as SMB3. But whatever, it still works a little bit.

Adventure Island II does an excellent job of feeding of the success of the first game and doing just enough to keep the series interesting. Hudson Soft may have added a bit too many ingredients to this recipe, but it wasn't enough to make it a bad game. It still has the great platforming elements and fast paced action as the first one to make it stand out among the crowd.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time! Keep on gaming!



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