Octurbo: New Adventure Island

Rounding off a week of TG-16 staples we visit Hudson's big flagship series that has nothing to do with pyrotechnics: New Adventure Island. Oddly, considering how deeply involved Hudson was in the Turbografx-16 and much of its game library, this is the only outing of Master Higgins (or Meijin Takahashi, depending on your region) for the TG-16. It's a solid enough iteration in the series, releasing just after the first Super Nintendo game but before the last NES one, and largely sticks to its axe-flinging, fruit-eating roots. At least from what I played of it. But hey, we have a whole bunch of photographic evidence to support that:

The Name's a Misnomer; It's Actually More of an Adventure Peninsula

Welcome to Adventure Island! It's new, so don't track any dirt in.
So our cap-wearing grass-skirted hero is the same as ever, axe murdering the local wildlife.
He still has his skateboard too. Apparently, you get a huge bonus for finishing a stage on the skateboard, which is easier said than done.
Almost immediately I find something to replace the axes. Boomerangs have slightly better range but don't fall in an arc.
I also find this friendly fairy type who gives me the invincibility jitters. Having it with the skateboard, which had previously been quite vulnerable due to its speed, is a potent mix.
It's V for Victory as I stumble past the first goal. I obviously lost the skateboard somewhere.
Bucking the trend of its inspiration Super Mario Bros, the second stage goes underground.
So now I have arrows. Of all the weapons I've seen so far, they have the best range and fly for quite a while before gravity takes over.
New Adventure Island also has this run, which gives Higgins this little determined look. I honestly don't recall if Higgins could run in the first game, but I imagine he would've had to for some of those dropping platform sequences.
Yeah, I barely scraped through that one. Or I maybe I just made him run around too much.
I haven't shown off this map screen yet. It's just your typical Ghouls n' Ghosts "you're making progress, honest" linear path, but I like the idea that you appear to be watching all of this unfold from a neighboring island.
Even if I hadn't completely missed the egg with a weapon in it, I wouldn't have wanted to kill this pig and his awesome arm-swinging strut. Like many stars of internet image macros, he is clearly apathetic of haters.
This little asshole mouse is the only enemy so far to run in from the left instead of the right, and at quite a clip too. He managed to kill me more times than I'd care to mention.
In my mad dash to cap everything, I managed to snap what happens when you kill a bat. Seeing that tiny skeleton fly off the screen is rather macabre for a game this brightly colored.
In hot bunch of bullshit news, these Thwomp things and mole spike-machines defy any sort of sense, but still managed to kill me a lot. Who am I kidding? Everything kills me a lot.
I eventually make it to this foreboding lift, which automatically carries me to...
This incredibly ostentatious setting. Considering all the weapons that were lying around in an overt boss fountain manner, I'm going to guess that a big whoosit is going to walk in from the right.
I was right. Samurai Tony (not his real name, at least I'd hope) strongly resembles the bosses from the first game, which all shared a single tough body and simply switched various animal/demon heads each stage.
The guy does the standard boss thing of firing these shockwave fireballs across the ground. Other than that, he doesn't really do much but stroll around menacingly.
I had the mental wherewithal to pick up some arrows, though, so this boss's overall performance wasn't too grrrreat. Weird how the boss was pretty much the only enemy that didn't kill me at least once.
Master Higgins gives me the V sign whenever I manage to beat a stage without fucking up too much. He sure looks pleased with himself.
And then this happened.
Volcano zone looks like a riot, but I did say I'd only play to the end of the first world so I'll call it a day for now.

The Adventure Island games are, like Bonk, one of those early genre cornerstones that saw what Mario was doing and tried their own little angle on the same format. But just as was the case with the many variations of Tetris that never took off, there's no topping perfection. New Adventure Island is a solid platformer that, thankfully, does away with the strict life limit of its progenitor and basically lets you as continue as many times as you'd like, only ever losing your mid-stage checkpoint progress. The choice of new weapons with various abilities, a far cry from the first game's choices of crappy axes or slightly less crappy rocks, give it a neat Ghouls 'n Ghosts/Joe and Mac vibe too. It's an improvement on the first game in many ways, but doesn't sacrifice what made that game stand out beyond its unbearable difficulty. Still, it is odd that this is the only TG-16 game in the series. I guess being a TG-16 spin-off of a Nintendo series based on a Sega game is at least worthy of note.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

I haven't shown off this map screen yet. It's just your typical Ghouls n' Ghosts "you're making progress, honest" linear path, but I like the idea that you appear to be watching all of this unfold from a neighboring island.

What this screenshot doesn't show you is the camera slowly moving up and down, building up, and then suddenly stopping.

Posted by Brackynews

More needs to be written on the inside baseball backstory of Wonderboy versus Master Higgins.

Posted by Mento

@brackynews: I tried to cover the bare essentials on the Wonder Boy franchise page a while back, but yeah that whole thing is a complete mess. One of gaming's most convoluted backstories.