Adventure Island

      In 1985, Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers established the 2D sideview platform game as a viable genre. After that, about 8 million other sidescrollers were released for the NES. Some of them, such as Bandai's Dick Tracy or Bandai's Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, were terrible. Fun Fact: Bandai sucks. The genre turned out to be versatile enough to spawn many interesting variants on the Mario model, games such as Mega Man and Castlevania. The post-NES generation of consoles continued to develop the genre, giving us great games such as Earthworm Jim, Donkey Kong Country, and Sonic The Hedgehog. Things were good.

      One of the more memorable titles from the early days was Hudson's Adventure Island. In this game, you control a character named Master Higgins who looks a lot like your fat lazy Uncle Lou. Much like Uncle Lou, Master Higgins generally only wears two articles of clothing. The first is his Marlboro hat, which he never ever takes off. He smoked 200 cartons of cigarettes to earn that thing, so he thinks it's a fucking trophy or something. The only other thing he usually wears are his green shorts, which probably haven't been washed in a long, long time. Neither one generally wears a shirt, because they don't realize how rude it is to walk around with their digusting man tits hanging out. But that's where the similarities stop. Master Higgins doesn't sit around all day drinking scotch and watching professional bowling, nor does he have a wife who runs a hair salon. At the end of the day, Master Higgins doesn't break into tears when he catches his reflection in the mirror.


      Just because Master Higgins isn't a self-pitying alcoholic doesn't mean he doesn't have his fair share of problems. Higgins has a serious eating problem. How serious? Well, if he doesn't eat something every minute or so, HE WILL DIE. I wonder if this is where Stephen King got the idea for Thinner. The Master's need to feed is denoted by a life gauge right underneath his score: every few seconds, a bar disappears. Eating replenishes bars though, so you'll keep that tubby bastard alive as long as you keep grabbing food. This generally isn't too difficult, but there a few levels later in the game where it's pretty friggin' hard to find the food necessary to keep fatty going. Don't expect the energy gauge to be of any help in combat. If an enemy on the island touches you, you'll pop like the flesh balloon you are.

      But binge eating is only one of the super fun reasons that Master Higgins has come to Adventure Island; he must also save his girlfriend. Here is the game's plot, as told by the Hudson's Adventure Island Operation Manual:

      The Evil Witch Doctor has kidnapped Princess Leilani from Master Higgins and taken her to Adventure Island in the South Pacific. It is your mission to help Master Higgins save Princess Leilani, but it's not going to be easy. On the island, there are forests, mountains, caves, many enemy characters, and traps waiting for you. Can Master Higgins save Princess Leilani from the Evil Witch Doctor?

      I just sort of assume that Princess Leilani is Master Higgins' girlfriend. The relationship between the two is never directly stated. You're not Prince Higgins, so it's safe to say that they're not married. The way that the storyline is worded, it is implied that neither Princess Leilani or Master Higgins are from the South Pacific. After all, if they were already in the South Pacific, there'd be no need to state that the island that the princess was taken to is in the South Pacific. Leilani sounds like it could be Hawaiian. Hawaii is the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, so that makes it a solid guess. Master Higgins looks Samoan, but his name is either English or Irish. Who is this Evil Witch Doctor? What's his motivation for kidnapping Princess Leilani? Why isn't Adventure Island on any maps of the South Pacific? There aren't any answers.

      The game is set up very much like Super Mario Brothers, there are 8 areas each with 4 rounds, for a total of 32 levels. You confront the Evil Witch Doctor at the end of each area and you rescue the princess at the end of the last level. Also like SMB is the fact that there's not much level diversity. You fight your way through endless forests, ocean fronts, and underground areas. Occasionally, there's a mountain level and there's usually some random ice in the underground areas. That's the only real variation. Other than that, you pretty much just play the same levels over and over with more enemies and harder jumps each time. By the last couple levels, it's pretty intense. Instead of going through all the levels, I'll just show you the enemies, power-ups, and other miscellaneous items.



Checkpoints. Each round has five checkpoints. You start at the S and the level ends when you make it to the G. If you die during the course of the level, you start at the last checkpoint you made it to. None of the levels are truly long, but this feature comes in very useful in later levels with hard jumping sequences.


Food. The stuff that keeps your fat ass alive. There's bananas, an apple, a carrot, and two other things. I think they're supposed to be a tomato and a pineapple, but I'm not 100% sure. They're worth different point values and they restore varying amounts of energy. Bananas and apples gives you the least, the pineapple gives you the most.


Spring. It's a spring. If you don't understand how it works, too bad. The game manual doesn't even acknowledge that they exist.


Rock. The only hazard in the game that won't kill you. You should avoid it anyway since tripping on a rock will drain some of your energy and send you moving in a direction that you didn't necessarily want to go. Sometimes they will send you flying directly into an enemy or pit.


Boulder. A big fucking rock. It will crush you, your friends, and then capitalism.


Pot. There's a pot somewhere in each of the game's 32 levels. Sometimes it's out in the open, other times it's hidden in a rock. At the end of every level, you get a round bonus based on how much energy you finished the round with. If you found the pot in that level, that bonus is effectively doubled.


Egg. Random eggs are scattered throughout the game. For some unknown reason, they contain power-ups. If Hudson really wanted to get an island theme going, they should have hid the power-ups in coconuts or monkey skulls.


Stone Axe. This is your primary weapon and you are totally useless without it. You find one shortly after the starting the game. If you die, you better hope you find a new one quickly. You usually will.


Skateboard. Oh crap, I probably should have mentioned this earlier: you get a skateboard.

      Although Master Higgins is massively overweight and even mild physical activities such as walking quickly drain his energy, he loves to skateboard. If Master Higgins happens to find one of the dozens of naturally occurring skateboards on Adventure Island, he will immediately don his safety helmet and jump on. Unfortunately, he isn't very good. Although our bloated friend has no problem going forward, he is unable to go backwards or stop. This can prove quite problematic in levels where you must make carefully timed jumps between moving platforms. If you get hit while riding the skateboard, you trip and the skateboard breaks. You don't die, however. If your mother were here right now, she'd probably tell you to thank your helmet for that. Why is Master Higgins so fucking concerned about skateboard safety? He spends most of time walking around a dangerous island half-naked. Maybe he should invest in some fucking armor.


Flower. If you find one of these, it doubles the amount of points that each fruit is worth for the rest of the level. The games gives these out like candy. That's a good thing, since you get an extra life for every 50,000 points you earn. They are not cumulative, but I don't think you can find multiple flowers in a level anyway.


Milk. Completely restores your energy. Let's review some of the lessons we've learned so far: flowers = good, safety helmets = good, milk = good. Sometimes I wonder if my grandmother designed this game.


Honeygirl. Adventure Island is home to magical winged females just waiting to fellate you. While Master Higgins is being serviced, he's also invincible. I might have made some of that up. The invunerablity part is definitely true though.


Eggplant. The eggplant is totally not a power-up. As the instruction manual clearly states, it is "Master Higgins' most unfavorite food." If you open an egg containing the eggplant, it will chase you even if you don't physically touch it. While the eggplant is stalking you, your life quickly drains. When your energy gets down to two or three bars, the eggplant leaves. If you somehow make it to the end of a level with the eggplant, you get a 5000 point bonus. And no, I have absolutely no idea why the eggplant has a face. But between Kid Icarus and this game, the eggplant seems to be the most maligned video game vegetable. The message is clear: eat your eggplant or it will burn your life and everyone in it.


Bee. It's a bee. It's also the Hudson Soft logo. If you find it, you will unlock the continue option until you shut the game off. There's only one in the game and conveniently enough it's in the first level. I had no idea that this item existed back when I was younger. It is mentioned in the instruction booklet, but I never owned this game and when you rented a game the store generally didn't trust you with the manual. I never found it accidentally either. For anyone that cares, it's in a hidden egg at the edge of the last cliff before the goal.


What untold dangers lie ahead?

How much food can one man eat?

Is Honeygirl single?


For enemies, secret items, and the game's breathtaking ending, click here!