Adventure Island is a platforming side-scroller developed famously by Hudson Soft and was actually never released for the arcades, but rather for the NES in 1988. The game follows the adventure (shocker!) of a kid called Master Higgins, something of a city boy who, for some reason, lives primitively on a prehistoric island with his girlfriend Tina, who has been captured by Master Quiller. Since he is apparently yet another hero who has to repeatedly rescue his girlfriend, Higgins ventures across 8 areas in order to reach Tina and defeat Quiller.
When I would see this around the web, I so was not interested in it, because I thought it was just about a pudgy yet, for some reason prehistoric, and bumbling average guy (because of the gas station hat) out to rescue some girl. Still, I thought I might as well at least try it, because it was clearly popular, and I found it to be a lot of fun.
The reason for that is: it's not really your average, Mario-type platformer. See, the idea of the game is to use your infinite hammer supply and power-up eggs to just coast through the levels as fast as you can, while still grabbing fruits and things to increase your amount of points as well as (and this is important) extend the time bar at the top of the screen that kills you if it runs out (and you hardly ever get extra lives). This makes it less a goofy game and more a test of reflexes, because you have to grab those fruits as they pop up and throw your hammers at just the right time to keep away from one-hit deaths (which I hate, as you well know).
So what I thought was going to be a broken-controlled, ridiculous game completely turned my attitude around and ended up being exciting and, most importantly, challenging.
I actually don't really have any problems with this game. I just wish that Higgins didn't have that horrible hat. That would have made the game perfect, because it would have made him seem much more heroic, as opposed to a peculiar, fish-out-of-water character.
I would recommend that you try this game online first to see what you think of it, and then if you enjoy it, go ahead and buy it on the VC, because it's been on there for a good while now.
Stay tuned for my reviews of Adventure Islands 2 and 3 coming tommorrow and the next day (at least as I write this)!