While the original Adventure Island spawned from Wonder Boy’s DNA, Adventure Island II hails directly from Super Mario Bros. 3. From the eight themed islands you visit – Ice, Cloud, Volcano, etc. – to the varied level design, Mario 3’s influence is everywhere. But does this blatant homage work with Master Higgins at the helm? Not really.
Adventure Island II tries to implement two separate platforming styles. The first is where you run fast, kill enemies, and never look back, like the original Adventure Island. The other is an action platformer where you take your time and explore the stage, like Mario 3. Neither portion works well. Master Higgins never runs as fast as he should, and the platforming isn’t well developed. Deaths are prominent in the game because of this identity crisis, yet the game never feels hard, just confused, like a young boy trying on his mother’s dress.
The themed worlds are colorful and Higgins new animal friends add some much-needed depth, but otherwise, Adventure Island II is a frustrating experience. Its desire to emulate Super Mario Bros. 3, and keep the run-and-chuck-hammers style of the original game is both ambitious, but ultimately makes the game a modest failure. Can’t have your fruit both ways, Higgins.
PUBLISHER: Hudson Soft DEVELOPER: Now Production
RELEASE DATE: 02/1991 – (US), 04/26/91 – (JP), 07/22/92 – (EU)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: GB, Virtual Console (Wii, 3DS)