New Adventure Island
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • TurboGrafx-16
  • Developer:
    • Now Production
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 06/26/1992
    • US 1992
Score: 70%

This review was published on 04/08/2018.

New Adventure Island is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Now Production and published by Hudson Soft for the TurboGrafx-16. It was originally released in Japan on June 26, 1992, and North America in 1992. This is the fourth game in the Adventure Island series, following Super Adventure Island for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The first two games in the series, Adventure Island and Adventure Island II, were originally released on 8-bit platforms such as the Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Adventure Island and New Adventure Island both came out in the gap between Adventure Island II and Adventure Island III, the latter of which took the series back to the NES. Despite its title, New Adventure Island isn't terribly new. Like Super Adventure Island, New Adventure Island is very similar to the first game in the series, to the point where some might mistake it for a remake. This game is a little better than Super Adventure Island, but not quite as good as Adventure Island II.

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After having saved his lovely girlfriend Tina countless times, Master Higgins finally decided to tie the knot. New Adventure Island starts off with the two lovebirds getting married in the peaceful kingdom of Adventure Island. Everything was going swimmingly, as many of the island's inhabitants had gathered at the church to celebrate the wedding between Master Higgins and Tina, who has earned the title of "Miss Island." However, things soon took a turn for the worse when the evil Baron Bronsky appeared. Bronsky secretly yearned to marry Tina for years, and seeing her being wed to another man has made him furious. He barges in and carries Tina off to his domain, along with six innocent children from the wedding. The six children were taken to six islands occupied by his underlings, whereas Tina was whisked away to Bronsky's personal island. There, Bronsky plans hold his own wedding ceremony and make Tina his wife. Enraged, Master Higgins sets off on a new island adventure to rescue his bride.

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Being that the standard TurboGrafx-16 controller is similar to the NES pad, this game controls similarly to the Adventure Island titles on the NES. The directional pad moves Higgins, the "I" button makes him jump, and the "II" button causes him to attack with his weapon. The ability to duck and the Super Jump, both of which first appeared in Super Adventure Island, are absent here. However, holding the attack button allows you to move faster like it did in the older games, which is something Super Adventure Island lacked. Generally, the controls are a little tighter this time around, as Higgins doesn't slip around as much when landing onto platforms. That makes this game a lot more playable than its predecessors, especially the super slippery Super Adventure Island.

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Nearly every game in the Adventure Island series has a "vitality" meter at the top of the screen, and New Adventure Island is no different in this regard. This should not be confused with a health meter, as Higgins will die in one hit regardless of how full his meter is, unless he has a skateboard. The meter is more of a timer, as it's always draining and Higgins dies if it's completely void. That's where fruits come in: every time Higgins grabs a fruit, a segment of his meter is restored, delaying his demise. Some fruit restore different amounts, and milk fills up the whole meter. However, the eggplants from the first two games are back, and they sap your meter instead of replenishing it. Thankfully, they're not quite as potent as before, since you're usually able to survive even after getting one.

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Unlike Super Adventure Island, power-ups are once again found within eggs. Unfortunately, the dinosaurs you could ride in Adventure Island II, which were missing from Super Adventure Island, don't return here, either. Aside from the skateboard that's been with the series since the beginning, most power-ups arm Higgins with projectile based weaponry. The throwing axes are among them, which have become Higgins' signature weapon by this point. The fireballs from the first game also make an appearance here, and they're essentially the same as the axe, except stronger. The boomerang introduced in Super Adventure Island is available here, too, though it can't be thrown upwards or downwards like in that game. Additionally, this game introduces a single new weapon in the form of arrows. While the axe and fireball are thrown in an arc, the boomerang and arrows go straight, except arrows have more range and don't return to its sender. Arrows are the best weapon in the game by far, so they're cool.

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As hinted at earlier, there are seven worlds or "islands" for Higgins to venture through. Each island has a distinct theme to it, like a tropical island, a volcanic island, an icy island, a mountainous island, and a desert island. The actual stage design isn't too interesting, though, as everything is too flat and the platforming is too basic. The fourth stage of every island always consists of a castle with a boss at the end of it. The bosses feature overly simplistic attack patterns like the first game, but that's because you have to redo the whole blasted stage if you die. In between every island, Higgins and his animal pals will put on a unique show for your entertainment. It's pointless, but cute. While this game is longer than Super Adventure Island, it doesn't overstay its welcome like past titles. Like Adventure Island II, this game also lets you continue indefinitely, and you don't even need to find a hidden item to do so.

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While a perfectly solid game for the TurboGrafx-16, New Adventure Island won't be winning any awards. As far as the "normal" Adventure Island games go, this one is pretty okay. However, New Adventure Island is a bit basic when compared to classics of the time like Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog. If you're okay with its simplicity and go in with measured expectations, then New Adventure Island isn't such a bad way to spend an afternoon. Just know that there are much bigger fish to fry.

Word Count: 1,040

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