Games That Just Aren’t Worth Finishing or A Night with Adventure Island

For the last year or so I’ve wanted to go through my entire game collection and beat every single game I own that I haven’t finished. Unfortunately that means like over a hundred games. And as most people who play games know, you never stop buying games, especially in today’s day and age where things like Steam Sales are a thing.

While it seems impossible to keep up with that ever expanding game backlog, I still wanted to give it a try, and a few months back, I started with the first game alphabetically in my NES library: Adventure Island.

I streamed Adventure Island for a few nights. I got several worlds in and just gave up. Why? Well, because the game just isn’t really worth finishing.

A little backstory: Adventure Island was one of the first games I got with my NES. I remember getting it for Christmas alongside Double Dragon 2. I’ve played this game a TON over the years but I never beat it. I’d get to about world 3 at the furthest and then hit that game over.

It’s a fun enough game to pop in every once in awhile but I just never got to that point of being able to beat it. When I got older, I started revisiting a lot of old games that I never beat, like Castlevania and some other shit I can’t remember right now. (Go watch my YouTube channel, I’ve done plenty of that beating games nonsense there and I’m much too busy writing this article to go and check for another good example) But Adventure Island. Man. It’s just…too OKAY.

You play as Master Higgins, a little cap wearing cave man islander dude who is searching for his captured girlfriend. You know, the standard NES game story. You initially can run and jump, and that’s it. You start with no way to attack because jumping on enemies means instant death. Lucky for you, if you run into an egg, you get a stone hammer, and other eggs have stuff like a skateboard which makes you faster but also means you can’t stop, and fireballs or rocks or something, that is just a more powerful weapon.

Master Higgins controls super slippery, but after some practice, it’s not too tough to get used to. Until you actually have to deal with slippery floors and incredibly long jumps. The jumping mechanics are a bit wonky too. It’s like you have to be running at top speed to make any distance. Otherwise you’ll fall well short of your target and die. That happens a lot. And then you’ll game over.

There IS a hidden egg that contains the Hudson Honey Bee that will allow you to have unlimited continues provided you press a certain button combo on the title screen after a game over. (Again, too busy writing this to actually look up the combo. I’m sure GameFaqs can help you out.) But…it just gets boring.

After the first world, the second world starts showing you the same level types over and over. The lack of variety of the stages you travel through just get tired. At some point, the level designs are actually exactly the same as earlier stages, just with some tougher enemy placement. And other levels just get stupid difficult with the acrobatic platforming you are expected to do despite Master Higgins’ wonky feet flailing slipperiness and inability to properly jump.

I mean, it’s a fun game to pop in for awhile, but it just seems too long and drawn out. After about three or four worlds, each with the same end boss just with a different looking head, it just feels like you’ve seen all there is to see. So I haven’t finished, it, and probably never will. Just doesn’t feel worth the trouble when the stages get too difficult. It’s not particularly rewarding like other difficult games. Ninja Gaiden is super tough, but you are rewarded with excellent cut scenes, new enemy types in each new level, good tight controlling gameplay and masterfully evil enemy placement the further you go in. You keep coming back for more. Adventure Island get tough and it’s just like…yeah I’m done…just like I’m done writing this because I’m bored talking about it.

Sorry Adventure Island. I still like you. But I don’t like you, like you.

Aaaand if you want, check out this video where I pretty much say the same thing, but only a lot more concise.



One response to “Games That Just Aren’t Worth Finishing or A Night with Adventure Island

  1. Way back when I started the Nintendo Legend blog, I reviewed Adventure Island at 2/5 stars. I was on a little podcast and they asked about that — at the time, I struggled to explain why, exactly, I felt this was such a ‘meh’ game… so reading this now gives me a strange vindication, haha. Good stuff.


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