Saturday, March 25, 2017

Game 29: The Adventures of Star Saver

I'm sick of adventures. Can't I just stay home with a nice cup of tea, a terrible show on the television, and a snuggy? Apparently not. As far as I can tell, there are an infinite amount of games starting with "Adventure." It's endless.

Anyway, here are the Adventures of Star Saver, one of the least fun games I've ever played for this damned project. It's just so...ugh.

But we'll get to that, I suppose.

The Adventures of Star Saver was published (and developed?) in 1992 by Taito, known for such arcade hits as Space Invaders and Violence Fight. A company called "A Wave" was also involved, which is nearly impossible to google thanks to there being many articles with sentences like "a wave of destruction" or "a wave of delicious burning molasses." I guess they made a wrestling game called Astral Bout for the Super Famicom and I'm not sure I could care any less.

Star Saver is not a wrestling game, although it's equally baffling and meaningless. Here, look at this intro:
Why do they both have guns?
From what I can tell, two people are abducted by aliens. One of them is converted into a mech, and the other is beamed inexplicably onto the ring of a planet. The two people meet back up and chase after the aliens, possibly to convert the person back from being a mech.

What's unsettling here is that gun bro leaps into the mech which is, I guess, also a person??? Like, hey, if some sort of magic converts me into a living refrigerator, do not put food in me! Likewise, if I get converted into a sentient mech, I really don't want you to pilot me! I will pilot myself, thank you very much, you can hang back if you need to.

Rectangular bullets - an ever popular choice
Right, so the game. It's a platformer, but you can also shoot, and sometimes you can fly just a little bit, but once you fly a certain amount of times you can't anymore. Also if you jump into a bit and you have a bow and arrow, you'll get grappling-hooked back onto the nearest platform. Sometimes your gun shoots three ways instead of just one. The first boss is a big mushy brain metroid

Squish
It's a really miserable experience, honestly. The mech has the incredible power of "slowing the game down really badly when it shoots," and often times enemies will literally appear from nowhere to kill you. There's a neat conceit when you take damage - your mech disappears but the little dude gets to keep going. Of course, he's much weaker and slower to shoot so it just makes the game that much more miserable.

There were some bright spots, like this nice dog:

Good puppy
...who attacked me once I turned my back:

i still love u pup
Weirdly, most of the platforms look like glitch art.

Oh, right, also there are evil music notes?
But god it's just so ponderous and random and very very mean. Once you run out of lives, that's it! Game over, start from the beginning. Screwwww youuuuuuu

What the hell is even going on here?
I wish I had something funny to say about this game! It's honestly just too boring to exist. I hope it stops existing.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Game 28: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

I like Rocky and Bullwinkle. I really do. I have fond memories of it growing up, it was the sort of cartoon that a 10 year old could get behind. Bad puns, funny accents, talking animals, rabbits being pulled out of hats. It was pretty alright!

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, however, is another story.

Let's examine the title screen first. Bullwinkle (he's the moose) is buried halfway into the ground. Rocky is...shorter than I remember.

Also, there's a bee just floating around aimlessly. What does this have to do with anything? Does its random walk give us any information about the game at hand? Or is it just a warning to not lead an aimless life, to find something truly worth pursuing and use all of our energy to grasp at it?

And Bullwinkle looks so tired. He's so tired, and he's seen something that haunts him. Look at his eyes. Bullwinkle is ready to get on with the game because, if nothing else, it will distract him from the terrors of reality.

Bullwinkle has some messed up nightmares is what I'm saying.

I like the narrator in this game actually
I don't blame Rocky for wanting to get on with it, because the song on the title screen is really annoying, and it plays during the whole intro as well.

Oh, yes, story: Rocky and Bullwinkle are opening a museum dedicated to themselves. Boris Badenov, who happens to be named after a 16th century Russian Tsar, and Natasha Fatale, steal a bunch of priceless things from the museum. Three priceless things, actually. Bullwinkle descends into the filth of the city to root out the source of the crime, and retrieve the rare trinkets.

So right, let's get into the game, so I don't have to hear this annoying 12 second loop anymore:


Oh god this is the level music too??? This...this can't be right.

(I encourage you to play the song above while you read this whole thing, for the full experience.)

Okay so we're going to play this same song the entire time. That's fine, I'm strong-willed. What kind of game is this, then? A platformer, eh? Okay. I expected that, to be honest. What's the jump like?

Oh nice and tight, alright
Okay so we're gonna play this floaty-ass platformer with a 12 second song playing over and over again. I guess this is what I asked for when I started this blog.

Look, I'm not pulling any punches on this game. It is one of the worst games I've ever played. We're talking Bubsy levels of bad here. Trashcan-rolling bomb-throwing blind-jumping awful.

Frostbite Falls consists mostly of clones of Boris Badenov throwing bombs from rooftops far above, vicious poodles, clones of Natasha Fatale throwing knives, and bottomless pits. This would certainly explain the haggard look Bullwinkle has going on.

Bullwinkle's tools for dealing with this morass of garbage are two-fold: jumping up and down, and doing a really short-range headbutt that only seems to affect Boris Badenov and nothing else. Luckily, the city is built in such a way that the windows are valid platforms...

Oh, it's that kind of game
...as are the door frames...

Yes, this is normal
...and even the electric poles...
I buy this, actually
...but none of that helps because bombs are constantly raining down from the sky, and my patience is quickly wearing thin.

After about 10 deaths and 300 loops of the single song that plays, I make it to the next section. And by next section, I mean a sewer. A sewer that has the exact same music as above ground. 

It's like a dream come true
The sewer is no more forgiving than the city. Everything hurts Bullwinkle: rats, water drops, lamps. Everything. The world is a hostile and unforgiving place, apparently, and not even the platforms will save Bullwinkle (because they are inconsistent and really easy to miss and fall into an endless abyss of death)

Even better, if Bullwinkle loses all his lives, GAME OVER! Start from the beginning, sucker. And listen to the same song 423590 more times.

But Bullwinkle and I are strong! We push through and get through the sewers! There we get a cut-scene and find that Rocky is being dangled over the city streets, and we have to climb a building to save him. It's really important stuff! 

But first, a baffling minigame.

This is a perfect encapsulation of my weirdest dreams
Yes, that's a football field, and yes Rocky is the football, and yes I am trying to catch him but these other bastards are getting in my way. Does this torturous life never end???

Anyway, I fail to catch Rocky (splat) and finally (finally (FINALLY)) get to the next level, which, thankfully, is playing exactly the same music.

Wait, what?!

Does this game legitimately only have one song??

What even is that falling thing
Well, I lose both my lives by accidentally walking into the pit and THAT IS IT I AM DONE WITH THIS GAME

A little background: apparently this is a remake of an NES game, and apparently it DOES have other songs. They are just buried in the 2nd and 3rd levels, which are impossible to get to without completely losing hope in the rest of your life. 

Oh, and here's an interesting tid-bit from Wikipedia:

"The Game Boy version's level design is the same as The Ren & Stimpy Show: Space Cadet Adventures (also developed by Imagineering)."

Sometimes when I play these games, I like to imagine that there was one kid out there whose only game was whatever I am playing. 

It's their birthday, and their first game for the Game Boy was The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. To a 10 year old, quality isn't so important: this is their game. And they will play it and like it and eventually finish it.

In this case, I like to imagine some poor kid whose SECOND game was The Ren & Stimpy Show: Space Cadet Adventures. The car ride home is almost unbearable: the box is on the floor, discarded; the manual smells fresh; the cartridge is gray and weighty. The car door is open, run up to grab the Game Boy, plug in the cartridge. Rocky and Bullwinkle was so good, maybe this will be even better!!

Oh wait no it's the same exact game with different graphics. It's no wonder they look as haggard as Bullwinkle. Ever seen a haggard 10 year old?

But there's always a good side to things. Some kid, some lucky kid, got both of these games in a row and decided that there were many better hobbies than video games. 

Lucky.

Next week: The penultimate "Adventure" game! Exciting!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Game 27: The Adventures of Pinocchio

Another exciting adventure awaits us here at No Batteries. Pinocchio, the very difficult to spell hero of such classics as "Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night" and "Pinocchio's Revenge," is a favorite for companies trying to cash in on a Disney classic without actually paying for the license. I'm all for this sort of appropriation, but it doesn't typically bode well for the quality of the actual product. Semi-underhanded attempts at cashing in on more famous media aren't usually known for their quality.

So I didn't have high hopes when I booted this game up, especially considering the wide array of mismatching fonts on the title screen.

But in a way, we've stumbled across a lost treasure of the Game Boy. The game itself is awful, but the story behind the game is very interesting.

Which is why we're saving it for last. Foreshadowing and all that.

Oh god
The Adventures of Pinocchio is an isometric action platformer slash puzzler. Kind of like Equinox but with only a little of the charm, and none of the polish. The reason for this lack of polish will become apparent at some point in the future (foreshadowing).

Actually, let's get the charming parts out of the way here. The title music is pretty good! I suggest playing the song below and reading the rest of this, because the song is very long and just keeps changing.



The rest of the music is also pretty good.

Aaand that's the charming part of this game. It is otherwise an ugly, messy, inconsistent game that asks the player to perform acrobatic feats while staring at tiny characters and landscapes that are about as legible as a prescription written by a doctor who is pressed for time because there's an earthquake and about as easy to understand as this sentence.

The primary goal is to take the tiny little Pinocchio sprite and guide him to the exit arrow. The obstacles placed between Pinocchio and the arrow of freedom vary, from terrifying serial-killer-esque hooded monsters who chase Pinocchio at an unnatural speed, to simple spikes. But even the spikes aren't very simple when determining Pinocchio's position in space is very, very difficult.

And then stuff like this happens anyway
The idea of putting an isometric game requiring near-perfect input onto the tiny, 4 color Game Boy borders on sadistic. It's pretty neat tech to be sure, but the actual end result of it, especially with these tiny graphics, is practically unplayable.

But play it I did! Until this nightmare:

I actually said "OH GOD" out loud when I saw this
You may be able to (barely) see that this is a room covered almost entirely in spikes, requiring 5 pixel perfect jumps in a row. And one of them is a diagonal jump, which is just cruel.

So cruel.

After about 25 attempts on this I gave up, I'm sorry to say. This level defeated me.

Then I did some research. Here's where it gets interesting (for nerds (like me)).

Adventures of Pinocchio was a game made by the uninspiringly named Bit Managers. Bit Managers was a Spanish game development company that mostly made games based on European cartoons and comics. Also Smurfs. Lots of Smurfs.

However, Pinocchio never saw the light of day - they shopped it to Infogrames but Infogrames wouldn't release a game that didn't have an existing license on it. Adventures of Pinocchio was later released as an entirely different game, Otto's Ottifanten - Baby Bruno's Nightmare. But it has the same music and many of the same levels. In fact, it almost looks playable.

(If you're interested in more information, I'm paraphrasing a translation of an interview in Spanish, which you can find here.)

This explains the lack of polish on Pinocchio's Pterrifying Padventure - it's essentially a Prototype! The engine is there, it just needs a couple (thousand) revisions to be a good game.

With this in mind, I decided to finish the game (by cheating and getting a password for level 96). I can definitely be a lot more forgiving of a game that was never actually finished.

Looks easy enough
And I actually did it!

Levels 96-99 were not so hard. Level 100 was a waking nightmare.

It involved standing on a platform that would follow me only while I was in mid-air, then jumping and moving 1-2 pixels to work through a maze of spikes. If I ever moved 1 pixel farther than I should, I died. If I was 1 pixel short and tried to turn a corner, I died. It was unforgiving and took me a solid 30 minutes of trial and error.

I did it for you. And you know what? You're worth it.

Touching

So there you have it! An unreleased game for a Japanese hand-held about an Italian story designed by a Spanish company rejected by a French publisher and now played by an American idiot. Pretty sure this was an international adventure that Bond would be jealous of.

Next week (ha): Another adventurous game, but this time with a real license.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Game 26: Adventures of Lolo

Look at that avant-garde title screen, my friend. Those blues and pinks and weird modern design. Like so many title screens, it is not at all representative of the actual game, Adventures of Lolo, AKA Lolo, AKA That Game With The Little Blue Fella Who Was Also In Kirby A Bunch Of Times.

But it is a beautiful title screen, no?

I really can't get over this amazing cubist interpretation of Lolo. The blues and pinks especially - the whole thing is really quite beautiful. I really could just stop writing now so we could all stare at the Lolo title screen forever and ever. But, you know me, I'll be pressing on until this horse is as dead as they come.

Adventures of Lolo was a game released on the NES in 1989 by HAL Laboratories, better known for creating Kirby. As alluded to above, Lolo (and his compatriot in arms, Lala) are better known for cameo-ing in many Kirby games as bosses, usually renamed to Lololo and Lalala.

(I actualy think Lololo and Lalala are Lolo and Lala's children, and they couldn't come up with names so they just threw an extra L syllable on there, but to explain the detailed connection between the Lolo and Kirby universes I'd have to draw you a diagram and nobody has time for that.)

Look at this precious animation while you contemplate the ramifications of a Lolo and Lala legacy
My parents were both in love with the original Lolo game on the NES, which if I remember correctly had exactly one irritating song. Coincidentally, I was whistling this song to myself about 2 days ago. I was never that impressed with the game, to be honest, but I understand the appeal. Apparently enough people fell in love for it to get 2 sequels.

The Lolo games are essentially Sokoban-likes, in which you push blocks and collect things. The twist is that there are also a lot of action-oriented things going on as well, so not only is Lolo solving puzzles, he's managing timing and the motion of baddies. I always find this combination to be slightly tedious - usually I will see a solution to a puzzle but be unable to carry it out because (a) I'm impatient and (b) I'm bad at video games.

The Game Boy release of Adventures of Lolo is not a port of the NES game - it's actually a sequel. And it does exactly one interesting thing...but we'll get to that later.

This is not the interesting thing
Otherwise, the game is exactly the same as the NES ones - push some blocks, turn enemies into eggs, and get all the hearts.

Oh, did I mention that Lolo can turn enemies into eggs?

That used to be a snake. Now it's an egg (again)
Yes, one of Lolo's special powers is that he can turn enemies into eggs, then shoot them off the screen. Some hearts will grant him 2 shots of...whatever you shoot to turn things into eggs. It's a key part of the game, and it can get pretty complicated. For example, in this puzzle:


Lolo has to trap those demon buddies using the snakes as eggs. The demon buddies will shoot Lolo if he lines up with them in any of the four cardinal directions, and he will definitely super die. The eggs will block the shots, as well as the boulders, but the trees won't. It's not super hard but honestly it took me way too many tries to figure out (the left one has to be trapped in the very bottom corner (duh))

You can also use the eggs as temporary bridges, weirdly enough, although they sink into the water very quickly. There are other powers doled out in some levels, such as a hammer that Lolo can use to break blocks, and a baby that he can feed to the snakes to make them gigantic and crush all the other bad guys, then recite a Shakespearean soliloquy (I made up one of those powerups).

It's all...fine, I guess. I don't have any real love for the series because I just don't have the patience to play the games. I guess the Game Boy game is slightly more interesting, because instead of the typical Save the Princess plot of the first one, you are, uh, convincing Lolo and Lala to play music by solving puzzles??? No, I'm not sure either. But check out this amazing intro:
And finally, Drum and Bass!!!
I love that whoever translated this to English saw the Koto and decided to translate it to the genre of "Oriental." Amazing.

Anyway, here's the flow of the game: Lolo solves some puzzles, I take a drink, Lolo solves some more puzzles, I drink some more, I eventually pass out and drool on my desk. Lolo doesn't solve any more puzzles, my wife leaves me for Lolo who is honestly much more effective than I am, I drink some more, and then I die.

Right. Not much different than any other Sokoban game.

But the game does do one very interesting thing: The music is (sort of) procedurally generated.

I only noticed it when I was writing some notes and the same 2 seconds of music kept playing over and over. At first I thought it was the emulator, but then I noticed that the music will stay the same whenever Lolo is standing in the same spot. It appears that there are a number of pre-composed bits of a song, a la Peggle, and it only changes to other bits when Lolo moves. Pretty interesting! I recorded a video of it in action for you:




So that's kind of neat! 

But otherwise it's very much not-my-kind-of-game, and I don't have anything else to say about it. I played about 15 levels and turned it off. In lieu of saying anything else, here's a gif.

I love these animated screenshots.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Game 25: Adventure Island II

I did a quick calculation before writing this, and if I keep up this pace, it will take me approximately 201 years to play and write about every game released for the Game Boy. I just thought you'd be interested in knowing this.

Look, it's Adventure Island 2! Who would have thought that the game that everyone knew had a sequel would be next? Who could have fathomed this??

So here we are again on Adventure Island, and judging from the title screen it's quite a small island. It makes me wonder how many adventures one could even have on an island of such stature. I mean, sure, getting abducted by aliens, but that's pretty routine.

As you can tell from the GIF above, the story to Adventure Island 2 is the classic three act structure that's used in most modern media. In Act I, our hero loses his best friend to aliens. That's the conflict. In Act II, he struggles, running back on forth on the tiny adventure island. That's the lowest moment. In Act III, he finds solace in a passing Loch Ness monster, and rides off into the distance. That's the resolution.

Alright, I think we're done here! Don't have to worry about playing this game at all, no-sir-ee, this is all wrapped up in a little bow. Yep. Just going to turn it off n-

Oh, wait, there's a whole game. Got it.
So I guess after finding his wonderful Loch Ness companion, Diaper Man is off to find a more fulfilling relationship. Will it be with a rock? A dinosaur that shoots fire? A vulture? Let's find out!

But first, the changes from Diaper Man 1. You may have noticed that the main menu now features not only a Start button, but also a Continue button AND a Password button! What is this malarkey? Password and continue at the same time? That makes no sense!

But it does! See, Continue does what Passwordon't. If you lose all of your lives, you can hit Continue and it'll take you right back to where you left off, items and all! Password only saves your progress in the world at large. The catch here is that when you turn off the Game Boy, the Continue option doesn't do anything but take you to the first level. That's why you have both, see?

Okay so honestly they could have just moved the Continue button to the Game Over screen and it would have made literally no difference, but I think it's more of a marketing thing. It makes people feel like the game is saving their progress, even though it's no different from having infinite continues. 

Menu nitpickage aside, there's also a ton of new items and companions, and a neat system where picking up duplicate items will actually save them to the inventory. It makes managing the inventory less of a trial and error thing. If you go into a level with a hammer, then immediately find another hammer, it's not lost. It just gets saved for next time.

Also, boomerangs and star blocks??
Alright, let's get started for real now. I'm obviously an expert at this game having played the original for 35 minutes and change. Let's get to beating this thing.

Okay, first level, no big deal. Just some snails and birds, and I already have a hammer. This is a breeze!

Is that...is my face under the ground? Christ
So I just walked into a snail. This is my life. All the confidence in the world does me no good when I can't even dodge a (very large) snail. I mean, dodge is really a strong word for "hit the jump button before I walk straight into it." That's like calling it juggling when you toss a single apple in the air a couple of times before dropping it.

Okay, so the next attempt goes much better. Adventure Island 2 has the same problems from the last game, inasmuch as it's boring and the ground is mostly just flat, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. It even features the return of the skateboard, which is great fun, even if they gave it to me about 5 seconds before taking it away at the end of the level. 

I go through the treacherous Coastal Clash and end up in a Bottomless Pit. It's actually pretty grim looking, with skulls and bats, but it definitely has a bottom. Heck, it even has little water pits. Not exactly an accurate name but hey, could be worse.

Could've been called "Cheery Sunshine Lane with No Obstacles or Danger"
I even meet up with my old dino friend from Diaper Man 1! She shoots fire and apparently can swim, so that's nice.

Next up is the Oak Forest, which has some strange looking trees, spiders, and not much else. Then we get to In the Abyss, which is a water level, hooray. Swimming is a huge pain, because the main character is about as slow as I've ever seen in a game, and the enemies are very quick. Luckily, there's a nice Loch Ness monster waiting for us, straight from the title screen.
Hey Lochy. It's been a while, and I know things ended abruptly but...I was hoping we could swim together one last time.
She swiftly brings me to the next level, titled...Coastal Clash? That was the name of the first level, right? Yeah I just checked, that was the name of the first level.

Well, alright, whatever.

It's much harder than the first level though, with big lobsters and hermit crabs and flying octopus. It's starting to get (a little) harder. Of course, it could just be that I'm awful at games, because the one time I die on this level, it's to a little, immobile hermit crab. What is it with me and shelled animals?

Also this seems somewhat unlikely for an octopus to do. 
Welp, things are going smoothly for me. Let's see, what's this next level called?

Yay! The Desolation! Hooray!
These level names are sort of terrifying taken as a whole. The Abyss. The Desolation. The Bottomless Pit. Who names these things? The tourism board must have a hell of a time getting anyone to visit. Other than aliens.

Anyway, in case the name did not tip you off, this level is a holy nightmare. This game went from "intro world of Super Mario Bros." difficulty straight to "World 8 in the Lost Levels." Everything has bizarre movement patterns, including hopping scorpions and swooping vultures. There's quicksand everywhere. There are no powerups except one dino in the middle of the level.

This also happens
I lose all my lives trying to take this on without any powerups, the last of which is in a pit of quicksand which I didn't actually know would harm me.

Two words: diaper sand.
I decide to use all of my items to beat this level. It's really a no win situation if I end up dying, but I'm determined. 

And I actually get to the end of the level! I use almost everything I have over about 4 attempts but hey, whatever it takes. This is journalism after all.
Pictured: journalism
But that's not really the end of the level. There's a boss here, if you didn't take a clue from the world map. And it's a doozy. First of all, I think you have to have a powerup to defeat it, so god forbid you got there with no hammer. Second of all, it takes a lot of hits. And third of all, our hero's jumps barely clear the full height of the boss.
Also it's really unclear on what it wants to be. Is it a stag beetle? An antlion? Who knows.
Anyway, it kills me. And that sends me back to the beginning of the level...plus I have no items at all now. Except one boomerang. 

Okay that's it, I'm done with this. There was a time when I would have persevered, but no, I'm not going back to old levels to get new powerups. I'm not doing it without any powerups, that's for sure. I'm not wasting any more time on this game that I will almost assuredly forget in a month. 

Look, I liked these games alright. But there's a reason they don't make them anymore. They're forgettable, and they're really unforgivably hard in the most random spots. I'm done.

Goodbye, adventure island. I hope you find better exterminators

Next time, we'll be covering an NES classic with links to the Kirby series! Except it's on the Game Boy!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Game 24: Adventure Island

Adventure Island has a long and storied history, and is almost as synonymous with the name Hudson as Bomberman is.

I have no idea about any of that, of course. This is the first time I've played an Adventure Island game, although a source tells me that this won't be the last one I play.

To be clear, there's a sequel on the Game Boy, and my source is named Looking At A List Of Files.

In any case, I think that it's important that we look at Adventure Island as a historic game before we just jump in to me saying "oh look I played a game, blah blah blah"

Actually let's skip all that. I'm just going to tell you why this game is super, super weird.

The basics, first. Adventure Island is a platformer in the vein of Mario, i.e. run to the right and jump on baddies. There are a few important changes, though. First of all, instead of a timer you have what amounts to a hunger bar. Get too hungry and you die. Secondly, the main character is wearing a diaper. Third, seriously the main character is a full grown man wearing a diaper and I really don't understand that at all.

In any case, the hunger bar made a major difference in the way that I play the game. It drains really fast and so I either had to keep moving at a very fast clip, or die. Picking up food helps a little but it's definitely not enough for any dawdling.

But that's all pretty normal. Adventure Island is, in fact, not normal. Here's a series of interactions spanning approximately 3 seconds: I was riding a dinosaur and threw a star from the dinosaur's tail. The star hit an egg and from the egg hatched a spade playing card. I touched the spade playing card which changed how my dinosaur looked, plus it let the dino shoot fire.

Also, the main character is definitely wearing a diaper 
That pretty much sums up Adventure Island: it's a lot like Mario but absolutely baffling.

Here are some things that happened: I threw hammers that sometimes made tomatoes appear without any visible reason. I tripped on a rock. Once, I broke a rock with Flame-Dino's breath and it turned into milk. Milk is worth 1000 points and restores more hunger than a pizza.

(As an aside, has anyone else discovered the sublime pleasure that is eating pizza and drinking milk afterwards? The rich, spicy, greasiness of the pizza washed away in one cool gulp of milk? Perfection.)

There are some really cool idea in this game though! For instance, there's this weird screen that completely made no sense to me when I first saw it:
B: NO
Neither A nor B did anything except make a big ol' HONK sound to let me know that I screwed something up. Amazing.

But it turns out this is actually very nifty! It allows you to store any powerups you got in the last level, so you can use them on future levels. That includes your throwing hammers and the dinosaur/plesiosaur friends that you can ride, plus at least one thing I never saw. It's kind of like the item bar from Mario 3, except you have much more control over it. Pretty neat!

And there's also a skateboard:
Hey good lookin' with the helmet on
When you're on a skateboard, you can't stop. You can slow down, but that's all. At the same time, with the hunger meter constantly pushing you forward, the added speed bonus is nice. It's a risk/reward situation is what I'm saying, and I am a big fan of those.

In the end, Adventure Island is definitely A Game. The weirdness slowly fell away as I got used to the systems. I started throwing hammers at eggs like an Olympian, if the Olympics involved smashing groceries with projectiles. I rode dinosaurs and skateboarded into caves. I found a warp zone by throwing a hammer at a tree (I think), wherein a pterodactyl took me away to another land.

Also, stared at me with her glassy, soulless eyes

In fact, I got so good that I didn't even get hit once until the second boss, which is when I figured out this important fact: diaper man can only get hit once, and then he dies.

Not pictured: me getting hit immediately after and dying
See, I'd assumed that the hunger meter was also a life meter of sorts, and that getting hit would just take away time. Nope, every hit is an insta-kill. 

Well, except tripping on rocks which is actually does take a small chunk off the hunger meter, and nothing else.

Gosh.

Anyway, after this boss the game gets pretty merciless. Food is less and less present, enemies are everywhere, powerups are scarce.

And then there are the bats.

This is much more pleasant than Pugsley's death animation, at least
Screw the bats. I lost at least 3 lives to bats alone. They're fairly unpredictable and have a weird motion. They're placed at weird heights so you're either jumping just too low to bop them or just too high and hit your head.

They are evil.

Even choosing an egg is not going to make up for the bat-pain, okay?
And so that's basically where my game ended. I got to the third island, got killed a bunch by bats (and one coconut to the head) and got a Game Over. There was an option to Continue from the beginning of the island, which is more forgiving than I am used to. I started there and had a thought.

"Do I remember any of the levels I've played?" I said out loud to myself, except in my head with thoughts instead of words and without using my vocal cords.

Um.

Anyway, the answer was NO, I don't remember any of the levels I played in this game. It's actually really forgettable, which is the core paradox of this game. It's really weird, and really boring at the same time.

Except for this smug-ass snake that vomits fire.
I mean, it's fine. I don't have a problem with it, it just...didn't do anything for me, I guess. Just another game to throw on the pile of "things I experienced" and leave it at that.

And that's why I'm really looking forward to playing Adventure Island 2! I'm lying.

BYE