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Adventure Island (Nintendo Game Boy) Review
Review by 
8.5/10 from one rating
First things first, Adventure Island on the Game Boy is a port not of the first NES Adventure Island game, with which I have a love-hate relationship, but rather its sequel.

This is absolutely a good thing.

This sequel, then, is essentially the same as the first game, with one key difference: its level designer doesn't hate you and isn't out to make your life miserable. Gone are the impossible jumps between too incredibly close spiders, gone are the enemies placed exactly where only a complete asshole would place them. You can absolutely run through these levels, spamming your tomahawk at dancing pigs and snakes spitting out unidentified flying objects, and if you run or jump into a hazard, it will usually have been your own fault.

The only problem is that this game seems to err a little bit too far on the side of Easy. There really isn't much to impede your progress, when all is said and done. You still have a timer/hunger meter, but it seems way more generous than last time: you are never in any real danger of running out. What's more, you can now stock up on power-ups and save them for later, harder levels. It's an interesting evolution for this series, for sure, but in this case it only manages to make an already easy game, easier.

Speaking of power-ups, you now have more than tomahawks and skateboards at your disposal: you can also enlist the help of 4 dinosaur friends who can swim better, shoot more powerful fireballs, jump higher, etc. They are quite cute, but they do not actually change up the game much. Certainly not on the scale that Yoshi did in Super Mario World, bringing with him his own new gameplay mechanics. No, these guys are mostly just another hit point added to your life bar.

The bosses are more imaginative and varied this time around, but that only means you are not always fighting the same guy sporting a different head. No, they come in many forms... yet they still manage to feel the same. A lot of them simply teleport from place to place on the screen, waiting for your tomahawks to hit them. ALL of them shoot very, very slow, easy to avoid, fireballs.

The lack of color unfortunately makes the game's levels feel more samey than they already are. There are water levels, desert levels, magma levels, but you would be forgiven if you hadn't noticed. And they do end up repeating quite a lot in the end, anyway, as they did in the NES original.

There are some more issues to watch out for. The collision detection in the game seems erratic, as sometimes parts of you can go through enemies and obstacles, and other times you will die without quite making contact. And the framerate slows down as soon as 4 sprites, including Master Higgins, are on screen. Thankfully, none of the flicker that plagued the first NES game can be found here.

In spite of that, the game can be fun to mindlessly run through. As far as the classic run-and-jump platformers on the eShop go, it stands above the first Super Mario Land title. It is quite a bit prettier, if also quite a bit safer. Ultimately, my recommendation hinges entirely on how much you crave an Adventure Island experience on the 3DS. If it sounds like it would hit the spot, go for it. For those waiting for the right game to discover this series, I would wait for the TurboExpress library to be added to the eShop service, as Nintendo promised at the 2011 Games Developers Conference. There is a high probability New Adventure Island will be one of the first games released.

You may have to wait quite a while, however.

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12/12/11, 08:22   Edited:  12/12/11, 08:45
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I'm loving how this love-hate relationship you have with Adventure Island translates so well into this review.

Posted by 
 on: 12/12/11, 08:36
I always enjoy reading your thoughts on this series. I remember getting into AI2 and 3 as a kid, although I haven't played them since. But hopefully they'll hit the VC (a VC?) soon because I imagine the colors and larger playing field will alleviate a few of your problems with the GB AI2. I don't remember much about the difficulty though.

But I did like the dinosaurs.

Posted by 
 on: 12/12/11, 17:48   Edited:  01/22/12, 21:24
No score, no idea how to process any of this. Head explodes.

Nah but really, do you know if this is a straight port of Adventure Island II or something modified like a lot of Gameboy versions of NES games were? If it's basically just the same game I'd probably rather wait for a shot at getting it on the consoles in color and all of that jazz.

Posted by 
 on: 12/12/11, 18:11
The review I've been waiting for!

Is this game on the VC yet? It's so hard to keep track.

Also, I would back having text descriptors next to the number scale.

I review games the same way. If it's something I feel passionately about or that no one else has/will covered, I review it. Otherwise, meh.

Posted by 
 on: 12/12/11, 18:12

I've never played the NES version, so I don't know. I think it's safe to assume that any change they made for this version was for the worse. But, it's portable!


What do you mean, is this game on the VC? Are you asking if this version is on the eShop (it is), or if AI2 is on the Wii's VC (it's not)?

Posted by 
 on: 12/12/11, 18:19   Edited:  12/13/11, 16:56
Better than Super Mario Land? Interesting, as I really enjoy Mario's game.

Kind of strange how the Adventure Island series strays too far to either the left or the right of the difficulty curve. Would you say your favorite so far is New Adventure Island?

I forgot about TurboExpress coming to 3DS. Very cool, but yeah, who knows when it will come out.

Posted by 
 on: 12/14/11, 00:44
I just beat this the other night! It's pretty solid, through and through, IMO. That last stage was more difficult than either final stage in the two Super Mario Land games. Good stuff.

Posted by 
 on: 04/15/14, 19:15
HEY! This isn't a new review! I got all excited..but its new to me, to thats cool.

In any event, I enjoyed it. I liked Gui's use of the phrase "doesn't hate you" and execution of a well placed "asshole" for comedic effect. Thumbs up.

NOW, is this game basically Adventure Island II (NES)??
How is it different, besides the duochrome and smaller screen?

I guess I should ask if you've played the NES one first..

EDIT- *bonk*, Zero asked you the same thing up there. These eyes..
I guess its been long enough -- since 2011 when you hadn't, have you gotten around to Adventure Island II yet?

Posted by 
 on: 04/16/14, 00:40   Edited:  04/16/14, 00:41
So an update: the NES version is much longer, and is a lot more difficult!

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/14, 18:20
Guillaume said:
So an update: the NES version is much longer, and is a lot more difficult!

You picked up AI2? Me too! It's simpler than I remember, but I'm still enjoying it. The dino-riding elements were some of my favorite aspects of this series, and the bosses have actually been pretty fun as well.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/14, 19:07
How far in are you? After the 6th or so island, I started using save states, and on the last two islands, I abused them.

I guess I don't have as much of an appetite for punishment as I did a couple of years ago.

Posted by 
 on: 05/06/14, 19:13

The stages seem SO short though, don't they? I guess it balances out because you aren't doing 4 stages in each "World." I like Adventure Island II a LOT more than Adventure Island though.

Have either of you guys played Adventure Island III?

Posted by 
 on: 05/07/14, 00:56

I think I'm on the 4th or 5th island, and the difficulty's starting to ramp up. I'm trying to make smart choices as to when to store my axes and dinos. No save states yet though!


I played AI3 back when I was 8 or so. They have a new green dinosaur in it that does rolling attacks. I remember enjoying it, and it definitely felt more like AI2 than AI1.

Posted by 
 on: 05/07/14, 01:12

Well, some islands seem to have more than 4 stages. And I've noticed there are branching paths, and I've got no idea what determines where you go next: sometimes stage, say, 2-3 will be a cave, sometimes it will branch to a regular outside level instead.

I've never played AI3. I'm hoping it will find its way to Virtual Console.

Posted by 
 on: 05/07/14, 05:38   Edited:  05/07/14, 05:38

Secret Exit via Hidden Platform stuff?

Posted by 
 on: 05/08/14, 01:23
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