Adventure Island (video game)

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For the Game Boy version of Adventure Island, see Adventure Island II. For the PC Engine game of the same name, see Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. For other uses, see Adventure Island (disambiguation).
Adventure Island
NES box art
Cover art of Adventure Island (North American NES version)
Developer(s) Escape/Hudson Soft
Publisher(s) Hudson Soft
Artist(s) Susumu Matsushita
Composer(s) Jun Chikuma
Engine Proprietary
Platform(s) NES, MSX, Game Boy, Gamate, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Virtual Console
Release date(s)
  • JP September 12, 1986 (FC, MSX)
  • NA September 1988
  • EU 1992
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution 3-megabit cartridge

Hudson's Adventure Island (高橋名人の冒険島 Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima?, "Master Takahashi's Adventure Island"), also known simply as Adventure Island, is a side-scrolling platform game produced by Hudson Soft that was first released in Japan for the Famicom and MSX on September 12, 1986. It was later released in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System on September 1988 and in the PAL region in 1992 under the title of Adventure Island Classic.

Adventure Island is an adaptation of the arcade game Wonder Boy, originally published by Sega for developer Escape (now known as Westone Bit Entertainment). Adventure Island was followed by a series of sequels that were independently developed by Hudson Soft.

Plot[edit]

The player controls Master Higgins, a young man who ventured to Adventure Island in the South Pacific after hearing that the Evil Witch Doctor kidnapped Princess Leilani.[1] To rescue her, Higgins must survive a series of 32 stages. There are eight worlds called "areas", which are divided four stages or "rounds" each, which are further divided into four checkpoints. When the player reaches the fourth round of each area, he must confront a boss at the end to continue to the next area. The game is completed when the player saves the girl after defeating the eighth and final form of the evil lord.

Game system[edit]

The first stage in the NES version.

Master Higgins (the player character) loses a life whenever he touches an enemy, an enemy's attack or a fire roast, or when he falls into a pitfall or a body of water. Moreover, the player also has a health gauge that starts out with 11 points, which gradually depletes over time or whenever Higgins trips on a rock in his path. When Higgins' health gauge reaches zero, he will lose a life as well. If Higgins still has extra lives left, he will revive at the last checkpoint he passed through. The game ends when all of Higgins' lives runs out. To replenish his health, Higgins can pick up numerous fruits (or a milk bottle) on his path (his maximum health reaches up to 13 points). When the player's score reaches 50,000 points, 100,000 points, and 200,000 points, Higgins will receive an extra life. Finding a bee-like fairy known as Honey Girl will grant Higgins invincibility for fifteen seconds and allow him to kill enemies with a single touch.

Higgins starts off each life without the ability to attack and can only gain the ability to attack by picking up a stone axe, which can be found in specific spots in each stage. When Higgins is wielding the stone axe, he can trade it for magical fireballs that have longer range and are capable of destroying rocks and rolling stones (which are invulnerable to the stone axe).

To break an egg, the player must touch it or hit with a weapon twice. In addition to weapons, there are numerous bonus items stuck inside. There is also a negative item, the "eggplant", which drains Higgins' life meter. Some of the eggs are not immediately visible in plain sight. The locations of these "hidden eggs" are usually indicated when a weapon thrown by a player disappears before falling to the ground and are uncovered by jumping at the indicated spot. Some of these hidden spots don't contain hidden eggs, but instead a cloud that will warp the player to a bonus stage, which is instead uncovered by standing still for a short period of time. At the bonus stages, the player can collect a series of fruits (each worth 500 points regardless of the type) until Higgins falls into a pitfall. However, instead of losing a life, he will return to the regular stage at the next checkpoint.

At the fourth round of each area, Higgins will confront a different form of the Evil Witch Doctor, the game's boss character. He has the ability to change his head by up to eight different types. Higgins must defeat him by striking his head a specific amount of times with his weapon. The number of hits required to defeat him increases with each area (his first form requires eight hits and every subsequent form requires two additional hits until the eighth and final form, which requires 22 hits). When the Evil Witch Doctor is defeated, he will change his head and escape to the next area. He uses the same attack in each form, with the only thing that changes besides his durability are his mobility speed and the speed of his fireball attacks. When Higgins defeats his final form, the Evil Witch Doctor will fall into a pit and the girl will be rescued.

Development[edit]

Relation to Wonder Boy[edit]

Adventure Island began development as a direct port of the Sega arcade game Wonder Boy, which Hudson Soft obtained the rights from developer Escape (now known as Westone Bit Entertainment). During the development of the port, the decision was made to change the character design of the protagonist, modeling him and naming him after Hudson Soft's spokesman Takahashi Meijin.[2] In the western version of Adventure Island, the Takahashi Meijin character was renamed Master Higgins.

While the Wonder Boy series adapted an action RPG system for its sequels (beginning with Wonder Boy in Monster Land), most of the Adventure Island sequels stuck to the game system of the original Wonder Boy. Moreover, Hudson Soft also obtained the rights to port all of the Wonder Boy sequels to the TurboGrafx-16, changing the title and character designs of each game (with the exception of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair). Incidentally, the Japanese version of Dragon's Curse (the TurboGrafx-16 adaptation of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap) was titled Adventure Island.

The rights to the Adventure Island series are currently owned by Konami, who absorbed Hudson Soft in 2012.

Re-releases[edit]

The NES version of Adventure Island was re-released in Japan for the Game Boy Advance as a Famicom Mini title on May 21, 2004. It was later re-released internationally for the Virtual Console service in 2008 for the Wii and in 2014 for the Wii U.

A remake was also developed for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube titled Hudson Selection Volume 4: Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima, which was released exclusively in Japan on December 18, 2003.

Sequels[edit]

Two sequels were produced for the NES, Adventure Island II and Adventure Island 3, as well as a fourth game for the Famicom that was released exclusively in Japan titled Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima IV. In addition to the standalone Famicom Mini re-release of the first game, all four games were re-released in a compilation for the Game Boy Advance titled Hudson Best Collection Vol 6: Bōken Jima Collection, released in Japan on January 19, 2006.

Sequels were also released on other platforms, such as Adventure Island and Adventure Island II for the Game Boy (which were based on the second and third NES game respectively), Kiki Inland for the Gamate, Super Adventure Island and Super Adventure Island II for the Super NES, New Adventure Island for the TurboGrafx-16, Adventure Island: The Beginning for the Wii, Gacha wa shi Meijin no Bōken Jima in 2007 for mobile, and Adventure Island Quest by Takahashi Meijin in 2010 for mobile.

Appearances in other games[edit]

Takahashi Meijin appears as a playable character in the crossover fighting game DreamMix TV World Fighters, released in Japan for GameCube on December 13, 2003.

Anime[edit]

Honey Bee in Toycomland
Bugってハニー
(Bug-tte Honey)
Genre Adventure
Anime television series
Studio TMS Entertainment
Original run October 3, 1986September 25, 1987
Episodes 51
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Adventure Island also inspired an animated television series titled Honey Bee in Toycomland (Bugってハニー Bug-tte Honey?),[3] which was produced by TMS Entertainment and aired in Japan from October 3, 1986 to September 25, 1987, lasting 51 episodes and a theatrical film. The series also inspired its own Famicom game titled Takahashi Meijin no Bug-tte Honey (高橋名人のBUGってハニー?), released on June 5, 1987. The TV series featured Honey Girl (the bee-like fairy who grants Higgins temporary invincibility in the original game) as a major character. The plot involved the kidnapping of Takahashi (Master Higgins) and his lady friend Honey Girl's mission to rescue him by enlisting the help of One-Up, Dal, and Midori, three Earth children who also happen to be video game aces. The series featured Dragon Ball's Minoru Maeda as character designer, and featured storylines incorporating elements of various popular video games of the day. Another Hudson character, Bomberman, makes a cameo in the second episode.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 3/5 stars[4]
The Video Game Critic C+ [5]
GameSpot 6.5/10[6]

Adventure Island has received positive to mixed reviews from critics. GameSpot awarded the game 6.5 out of 10, calling it a "fast-paced, challenging platformer".[7] GamesRadar ranked it the 23rd best NES game ever made. The staff praised it for the fact that its challenge comes from quality level design and not low quality.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Although she is referred as Princess Leilani in the English version's manual, the character is identified at the end of the game and both in the Japanese version and the original Wonder Boy as Tina. The Evil Witch Doctor may also be alternatively known as King Quiller, although this is not made clear in the game manual which lists it as a separate mystery enemy. Their names would be largely standardized in later localizations.
  2. ^ "Master Higgins Speaks from 1UP.com". "Around 1986, there was an arcade game called Wonder Boy that we at Hudson all liked, and there was a suggestion within the company to turn that into a Famicom game. So the vice president and I went to take a look at the development of the character and the game, and as we were looking at the character being built, the character already somewhat resembled me. The vice president was looking at it and went, "Y'know, that character sort of looks like you, and you are a celebrity – it doesn't make any sense for us not to make this game about you." So they decided to turn me into that character, and that's how Adventure Island was born." 
  3. ^ "Honey Bee in Toycomland / TMS Entertainment". 
  4. ^ Smith, Geoffrey Douglas. "Adventure Island – Review". Allgame. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Video Game Critic's NES Reviews". videogamecritic.net. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Provo, Frank. "Adventure Island Review". GameSpot. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ Provo, Frank. "Adventure Island Review". GameSpot. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Best NES Games of all time". GamesRadar. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  • Adventure Island Operation Manual. Japan: Hudson Soft. 1986. 

External links[edit]