Adventure Island II – a classic platform game of the Nintendo. I actually played this game first with my twin brother at King Cone on an arcade machine back in the early 90s. I couldn’t get past the few major boss in the first world. Little did I know it also came out for Nintendo – and later that year I received it for Christmas!
In this game you take control of master Higgins on his quest to save his girlfriend Tina from the evil witch doctor who has taken her! You must travel through 8 islands full of levitating fruit, skateboards, and monsters (both friendly and not). The perfect setting for a fun and engaging platform adventure!
You start each stage without the ability to defeat enemies, but as you run and jump your way through the level, you find hatchets, skateboards, and dinosaur friends to help. The addition of these dinosaur friends is the greatest upgrade over the original g game. Each of the four dinosaurs (lava, ice, water, and air-type friends) all have unique abilities that can assist in completing levels! My favourite is the Pterodactyl as you can fly! Master Higgins must be careful though as one hit with either dinosaur friends or skateboard and they disappear.
You are going to want to keep these dinosaur friends (along with hatchets) too as they can be safely stored for later use of you make it out of the level with them still intact! Later levels can be very difficult if you do not have a proper supply of friends for support! Each island has 4-5 stages, across varying settings from beach, forest, caves, and underwater levels. I really enjoyed the variety of these stages – kept the game very fresh from start to finish.
In terms of major design decisions, the developers opted for a “fruit bar” instead of traditional timer! This bar continuously depletes as Master Higgins makes his way through levels, encouraging him to move forward. If the bar fully depletes, Master Higgins dies. The bar can be temporarily replenished however if fruit and meat are found! I really enjoyed this mechanic as it provided a nice sense of tension between moving quickly to get to the end of the level and exploring the level to find secrets like dinosaur friends and one ups that could be used for later use.
In terms of controls, the game feels great. The controls are responsive and quick – and when you die – and you will – it feels like your own fault! Each dinosaur also has a unique feel, and actually improves the controls in certain situations. For instance, if you are running on ice with the blue dinosaur, you don’t slide! Graphics are fantastic and crisp in each of the levels – though I definitely disliked the cave levels the most though as they all looked the same. Master Higgins’ sprite looks good, but I was though he had a bit of a funny overbite. Enemies come in a variety of forms, including cool looking bosses (one for each island)! Sound is also superb, with it having one of the most iconic intro music themes, with the quality continuing throughout the game.
Overall, this is am A+ platform game on the Nintendo. It is fun, challenging, and exciting with nice tension between exploration and progression. The added dinosaurs makes it one of the best in the series. I give this game a 9/10!
FINAL SCORE: 9/10