One thing I remember a lot of people talking about online over the years is how Americans were not as good at video games as Japanese players. Games like Super Mario Bros. 2 weren’t released in North America because they were too hard, and replaced with easier titles. Games like Final Fantasy II were completely dumbed down to an almost infantile level because gamers here just “didn’t get” RPGs.
But then there were games that got harder when they released in the West, like Double Dragon III, Ninja Gaiden III, and the topic of this article, Adventures of Bayou Billy.
In Japan, renting video games was illegal, but of course back in the day of the NES, it was booming business here in the States. So in some cases, to prevent kids from renting a game, finishing it in one night, then never wanting to rent it again or even purchase it, some game developers increased the difficulty of their games. Sometimes that just made the games less fun, or just plain unbeatable by mere humans. In Bayou Billy’s case, enemies were given superhuman pain thresholds, meaning you had to punch then forever before they died. Other changes were made to make the game tougher as well.
I own this game because when I started collecting, my wife got her games from her parents’ house and let me add them to my collection. Which was awesome, because I got to include games like Castlevania 1 and 2, Metal Gear, and Donkey Kong Country. But I also got some games that I otherwise wouldn’t have even bothered with, like Bayou Billy, Deadly Towers, and Desert Commander. When I wanted to start playing through my NES games to see if I wanted to attempt to beat them all, I came across Bayou Billy and threw it in my NES.
Bayou Billy is a side scrolling beat em up, that also includes first person shooter levels that you can take on with your NES Zapper if you want, and a few driving stages. The controls aren’t too bad, the graphics are good, and the music is pretty cool too. But the problem lies in the fact that it takes FOREVER to beat down ONE enemy, and by the time you’ve taken a few down, your health is damn near depleted. Luckily there are quite a few health drops, and some of the weapons you can pick up off downed enemies help quite a bit.
Also you get to beat up alligators, which are a lot less imposing than I first thought they’d be. They take awhile to kill, but if you position yourself right, they aren’t too bad.
Once you get through the lengthy first level, you get to shoot waves of enemies. Now, I didn’t really feel like digging out my zapper, so I didn’t try the game with that, but I did have a good amount of fun with the controller aiming the crosshairs around the screen, taking out bad dudes and helicopters. But then you get dumped into a short stage with an end boss. And he’s not fucking around.
I didn’t get passed this point, but as far as I know, the game has unlimited continues, so if I try again in the future, and I may, I’ll be able to get through him eventually.
The problem with Bayou Billy is just the stupid amount of difficulty that Konami added to sell the game…I don’t understand how that worked, but judging by the endless amounts of copies I see floating around in the wild, I guess it sold pretty well.
Now, the Japanese version of the game, Mad City, actually looks pretty good in comparison. Konami DID upgrade some graphical elements in the North American version, like added colors to cutscenes and removing clothing from Billy’s damsel in distress…if you count that as an upgrade. Ha.
Honestly, I may come back to the game. The slog to put each enemy down is a bit tiring, but not so bad that I would shelf this game indefinitely. Definitely not a game that I would suggest you run out and find a copy of though.
Now to end my severely lacking recap of the game, I give you a link to someone who goes into way more detail, and compares the Japanese version with the version we got.