The game had the straightforward appeal of a Mario game, but with a more aggressive play style.
In most Mario games, precision platforming was the order of the day, as most of level designs, and indeed the enemies in the game, were maneuvered around and dispatched using carefully placed jumps.
Outside of the occasional power-up, Mario did most of his fighting with his ass.
Oh yeah, he also had skateboards and dinosaurs to help him too.
In fact, fighting in Adventure Island, while hardly required to make your way through most of the stages, was an element of the gameplay that was heavily emphasized.
Enemies were numerous throughout the games’, mostly consisting of pissed off animals of the tropical variety.
This, coupled with the fact that Master Higgins handled like a meatloaf on wheels, lead to the player typically relying on their weapon to clear the screen of enemies, rather than risk one-touch death as a result of trying to hurdle a snake with one very fat, baseball cap wearing Polynesian.
This, combined with the games’ strict time limit, lead to a platforming experience that felt more like a mad dash through an obstacle course as opposed to the more hazard based, methodical nature of most other platformers.
The “time limit” in Adventure Island games, was represented by a series of white tally marks across the top of the screen indicating Master Higgins’ level of hunger.
Throughout the game, players would have to constantly grab fruits and vegetables that would appear before them, thusly keeping Master Fatty McFat-Pants Higgins from dieing of starvation.
For whatever reason, accidentally grabbing an eggplant would cause the angry vegetable (I’m serious, just look at it’s “face”) to follow Higgins around, blare ominous music, and eat away at his time limit.
Either eggplant gives Higgins the shits, or someone on the Hudson development team truly hated that vegetable, because to this day I just don’t get it.
Anyway, the main plot of virtually all of the Adventure Island games is typical “rescue the damsel in distress” fare.
You see, Master Higgins, obese island chief that he is, just happens to have a seriously hot lady named Tina living with him on his so-called “Island of Adventure.”
In fact, his woman is so hot, that wild animals, strange man-animal hybrids, and even aliens want to make off with her.
Well, as you may have guessed, at the start of every game, one of the above goes ahead and snatches Higgins’ lady, thusly forcing the player to guide ‘ole Fat Body across the island to save her.
Adventure Island 2 was my favorite game in the series, largely because 3 was always checked out at the rental place.
The first game, in my opinion, was kind of rubbish; with lame graphics, the weakest music in the series, and a seriously limited color palette.
Adventure Island 2 kicked ass because it was Mario, but with dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs that breathed FIRE.
All of the Adventure Island games had great soundtracks with a great island flair to them.
Most of the tracks were uppity and fun, fitting the colorful graphical style of game about as well as one could hope.
In example, here’s one of the most famous tracks from the series, the Map Screen Theme:
Despite the “island” sound of that particular track, Adventure Island games were by no means one-trick ponies in the audio department.
Like most platformers throughout gaming history, Adventure Island games typically saw the player traverse a wide-range of environments I.E. ice stage, fire stage, air stage, etc.
In Adventure Island 2’s case, the game just happened to have a pretty spankin’ Desert Theme:
As you have probably figured by now, the Boss Theme for Adventure Island 2 was awesome.
So awesome in fact, that they recycled it for the third game.
Check it out:
Adventure Island 2 is one of my favorite platformers of all time.
And while I know that the entire series is basically a carbon copy of the Wonder Boy games, and that the series has since deviated from it’s traditional gameplay in favor of a more Zelda-like style as of Adventure Island 4 on the Famicom, none of that will change the fact that Adventure Island 2 is a kick-ass game.
Master Higgins is still a fatty though.