In the summer of seventh grade, (2003) my house was the place to be. I would usually have four to five friends at a time there either playing sports or video games with me. Seventh grade was also the time that my friends and I started to hang out with girls. That became more complicated as I didn’t want to invite them over to my house with my dad around in fear of him embarrassing me. Occasionally, my guy friends and I would play basketball at my church that was just a couple of blocks down the road from me. The church was almost always open, and we soon discovered that we could explore it. We headed down into the basement where my Sunday school classes used to be held, to find that the basement had changed quite a bit. Instead of little tables and chairs, we found a gold mine. By gold mine, I mean a few beat up couches around an old television, a Nintendo hooked up to it and towers and towers of free Mountain Dew Code Red stacked around the place. It was heaven, well heaven for seventh graders. So whenever we wanted to hang out with the girls, we took them to our secret hangout place. Nicknamed “the hangout” (original, I know). One of these times in “the hangout”, we decided to play the Nintendo and the game that was in it was a strange one that featured a caveman like guy running across the screen jumping over obstacles and eating fruit. We never got too far into the game, dying usually in the second or third level but it was enough entertainment for us even when hopped up on Mountain Dew. That game? Years later I discovered it was called Adventure Island.
Now, Adventure Island was released in 1988, after Mario so undoubtedly you will see similarities between the two games. The main character of Adventure Island is a guy that looks like a caveman called Master Higgins. Higgins is in the South Pacific looking for a Princess named Leilani who was captured by a witch doctor. The entire game definitely has the feel of islands and caves located in the South Pacific. So I’m not sure what Master Higgins’ relationship with Princess Leilani before he heard she was captured, but if I was him, I’d say fuck that bitch. I’m not going on some wild goose egg hunt to find you and go through 32 levels of deadly animals, fish, magic and cliffs to find a complete stranger who may or may not be hot. Poor Master Higgins can’t even google her to see what she looks like. But either way, Master Higgins, goes out of his way to save the Princess.
So traveling through 32 levels was not easy at all. There are eight worlds, that vary to some degree but one thing that is for sure is that each world gets a lot tougher. Once I reached world five, things for Master Higgins went downhill quick. World eight was a nightmare as it took me close to 30 tries to beat just one level. That’s a lot of tries. 30. Think about it. I found out I was focused best after taking a 15 minute break to calm myself down, when I returned to the game I usually could be whatever was troubling me my first try. One of the weirdest things about this game was your power ups. Giant eggs would appear and you would crack them open to reveal a tomahawk, throwing balls attached to strings that are on fire? There was also a skateboard, which makes perfect sense complete with a helmet that helped you speed your way through the level. Adventure Island is a one hit and you’re dead game so the skateboard actually added another hit which was nice. You also had to fight against time, the more fruit you eat the more time you got, so if you cracked open an egg to reveal a bottle of milk, that was the holy grail because you got full time back. There was also a little angel that made you invincible for a short period of time. Eggs, were great but you had to be careful because there was one bad thing that could come out of the egg. That item? An evil eggplant? Apparently, a developer didn’t like eggplants so if you cracked an egg and it had one, the eggplant would follow you around and eat your time bar. Can you imagine how disturbing this game is for seventh graders?
The boss battles are the easiest, and most boring. I never died once facing any of the bosses. They are just stone statues that come alive and throw fire at you while you easily dodge and throw your tomahawk at them. Each boss has a different head, but the person you never fight is the witch doctor who started this entire thing. After rescuing the princess she gives you a hug and hearts soar above Master Higgins. How precious.
The game was tough, but overall not as fun as I would of hoped. There is a reason this is a forgotten game on the Nintendo. It’s average, meaning I give it a 6.8/10.