In this Evolution, we take a look at Hudson’s Adventure Island series. From Master Higgins’ first NES adventure in 1988 to his latest game, Adventure Island: The Beginning (released just this past month on the Nintendo WiiWare service), every major home console game the skateboard riding, fruit devouring island master appeared in is shown. But before we get to the video, here’s a brief recap of the series.

adventureisland_rev01.jpg adventure_island_nesbox01.jpg The original “Adventure Island was a “Million Seller” in Japan. Its’ release came in 1986 there but U.S. players didn’t see the game until September of ’88. It had a basic formula of high speed platforming while having to stabilize your always depleting lifebar by collecting fruit, scattered all over the games’ stages. It’s NES sequels featured the same basic gameplay but added an SMB3 type over-world map the player would travel through and creatures to ride on instead of only skateboards.

adventureisland_rev02.jpg adventure_island_tg16box.jpg A remake of sorts was released for the Turbo Grafx16 in 1992. Its not exactly the same game, but there are a few repeat stages from Higgins’ original adventure. The Graphics show quite an improvement over the NES however its’ sound is just, blah. 1992 was fairly late in the lifespan of the unpopular TG-16. Besides…

adventureisland_rev03.jpg adventure_island_snesbox.jpg …a much better looking, better sounding, and even “newer” Adventure Island had already been released earlier the same year for the “new” Super Nintendo Entertainment System.  “Super Adventure Island” was filled with coloring-book like backgrounds and big, nicely drawn sprites that really took advantage of Nintendos’ new system.  Obviously, the game also featured the best sound in the series up to that point.  In its’ SNES sequel,  SAI2, the series received it’s first major face-lift, switching to a complete RPG play style, you have to find and equip the hatchet. The game features the same awesome 2D graphics and sound as the series’s first SNES adventure.

Despite which system, Master Higgins has always seemed to receive some colorful graphics for his fruit-eating, princess saving adventures. Before I forget to mention it, Higgins is always searching for his “special lady friend”,  just so your informed.

In the series newest, Hudson chose Nintendo’s WiiWare service to deliver fans ”Adventure Island: The Beginning”.  A full play-through is still required for a final judgement on the title, but after about an hour, I can tell you my first opinion - I wish Nintendo kept the series fully 2D and gave it some gorgeous Wii-powered backgrounds. I’m just speaking about the style of the first few stages of the game here but a Muramasa art style in the tropical setting of Adventure Island would have been remarkable looking…I think. Anyway have a look at the video and see how each title looks and judge for yourself. Enjoy and don’t forget to eat your fruit, you’ll be dead if you don’t!