Search This Blog

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Adventure Island

There's a certain routine that comes from going into a supermarket to do everyday grocery shopping.  And in a lot of cases, it's painfully boring.

Whenever I go to the supermarket, I tend to hit the produce section first (which makes sense as it's in the front of the store in 99% of the grocery stores I've ever shopped at), then I peruse the bread and baked goods section.  I take a glance at the meat and seafood area, go down the dry grocery section aisle by aisle, and my last spot of the trip is dairy and frozen foods (after all, you do not want melted ice cream). 

But the idea of grocery shopping bores me to tears.  On one hand, you have to do it because if you don't buy groceries, your body will eventually shut down and you will die.  On the other hand, I think grocery shopping should be a lot more fun.

Like, what if grocery stores followed the route of bowling alleys, and had laser shopping where the store is illuminated in black light and the aisles glowed in bright neon colours!  That would be so surreal!

Or, how about they have a store that is designed just like the game show "Supermarket Sweep", where you are given a time limit to get all of your shopping done!  It would be a riot (provided that you had proper protective equipment, that is).

Or how about if you go to a deserted island, scatter all sorts of yummy produce, cartons of milk, and chicken legs all over the island at random spots, and you have to grab it while maneuvering a Wipeout like course where octopi shoot ink at you, poisonous frogs try to jump on your face, and where you throw hammers at the wildlife creatures while riding on a skateboard through a course?

(Wow, was that a run-on sentence or what?  That's just bad writing style.  Sorry about that.)

But seriously.  Can you imagine it?  It would be like "Survivor" on steroids!  Trying to stay nourished while being attacked on all sides by a variety of nasty creatures.  Not to mention the rough terrain with having to find food on beaches, underwater, in caves, and even in volcanoes!  It would certainly make grocery shopping very challenging.  Could such a thing possibly happen?

Actually, yes.  It can.  Well, in a pixel filled world, that is.

Yes, today, I've decided to write about one of my favourite series of video games in which the aim of the game is to try and rescue your kidnapped girlfriend from the clutches of some nasty baddies.  The catch is that you have to do it while you keep fueled up by eating delicious apples, bananas, grapes, and bottles of milk.  Because in this game...if you stay on your diet too long, it will be GAME OVER.

The game that I am talking about, of course, is "Adventure Island".

I find it hard to believe that this game is almost thirty years old.  It was one of the first video games I remember playing when I got my Nintendo.  That makes me feel painfully old.  Good thing I have the game downloaded onto my 3DS, so I can play it whenever I want!

Released in 1986 in Japan by Hudson Soft (1987 in North America), you play as Master Higgins, a man who apparently thinks that matching grass skirts with baseball caps is a very good look.  He is madly in love with Princess Leilani (why are all the damsels in distress in Nintendo games always princesses?), and he wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with her in their little grass hut.  But an evil witch doctor has decided that Princess Leilani is too good for our foliage wearing hero, and he comes to take her away. 

Unfortunately, his oo-ee-oo-ah-ahs, and his ting-ting-walla-walla-bing-bangs do nothing to keep Master Higgins away.  He wants his girlfriend back, and he is determined to find her, even if he has to go through land, sea, snow caps, mountains, caverns, volcanoes, jungles, clouds, coves, and deserts to do it.

(Seriously, the Adventure Island game series has more terrain in it than a Final Fantasy world.)

The original "Adventure Island" game (there were four released for the Nintendo, and two more for the Super Nintendo between 1986 and 1994) had Higgins making his way through eight different worlds, each with four stages a piece, and each world had a different theme.  For instance, world one was jungle themed, while world four is ice themed.  In later games, the worlds would be larger, and Higgins may have to play as many as seven different stages before he got to each world's final boss. 

And, as mentioned before, the enemies in the worlds can be deadly.  Some are fairly easy to take care of like the immobile snails that just sit there to take up space.  But there are also birds that can suddenly swoop down towards you, frogs that can jump without warning, and pointy sea urchins that can cause underwater levels to be difficult. 

In some levels, there are even quick coyotes that appear out of nowhere from behind waiting to ambush you unless you know the right moment to jump.

(I still hate those coyotes some 25 years later.)

But the enemies are the least of your concern.  You also have to make it through each level before time runs out.  And as mentioned before, the amount of time you have to complete a level depends on the food you eat.

See those little bars on top of the screenshot?  That's your health meter/time gauge.  In order to keep playing, you have to have bars showing at all time.  If you lose all your bars, not only will you have no connection with your cell phone, but you will also lose a life, and have to redo the whole level over again.

Fortunately, 99% of the foods that show up on screen will help you out.  Fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and pineapples will restore between one and three bars on your food meter, and will give you the energy to keep going.  If you're lucky enough to find a bottle of milk or a chicken drumstick, it will fill your food meter to the maximum amount.  Mind you, the milk and meat only appear in a level once, and they're usually hidden in eggs, or are in hard to reach areas.

Oh, and do stay away from eggplant.  While eggplant isn't everyone's favourite food item, for Master Higgins, it's deadly.  He'll actually LOSE bars from the food meter if he eats any.  So if you see a purple piece of fruit - DON'T EAT IT!

Of course, Master Higgins isn't completely left to his own devices.  I mentioned earlier that there are eggs scattered throughout each level.  Eggs are excellent things.  Not only are they packed with protein, but they also contain tools needed for Higgins to make his journey easier.

Sometimes they contain weapons like a throwing axe or a boomerang, which can make slaying pesky enemies very easy.  Sometimes they contain skateboards, which can help Higgins speed through levels much easier (unless you hit a monster or wall, that is).  Sometimes they contain a little sprite that can grant you temporary invincibility for fifteen seconds or so.  Believe me, this is a great asset in the later levels.

And beginning with "Adventure Island II" (which was released in 1991), eggs contained keys (which allowed you to go to a bonus stage that let Higgins skip most of the level), and playing cards (which summoned one of four different dinosaur buddies that would make the game easier to get through).

All in all, the "Adventure Island" series of games were fun to play, and were extremely challenging.  I managed to beat the first game, but the second and third games of the series were extremely difficult.  I think I made it to world five in both before I gave up on them. 

So, if you're looking for a challenging retro game to play, and have either a Nintendo Wii or 3DS (or even the original NES), definitely try this game out.  You won't regret it.

No comments:

Post a Comment