Adventure Island III

The NES box art for Adventure Island III (you can even see the enemies and characters and stuff)!

Adventure Island III is the third and final title in the Adventure Island series that was published for the NES in 1992, with a few noted changes (some of them noted improvements) from the last title, Adventure Island II. The graphics of this game, of course, continue to improve, with better music and better-developed designs (character and level). The game, logically takes the same save-the-girlfriend-from-evil plot of the last two games.

One thing that isn't quite relevant to the review but something I thought I'd mention is that I'm pretty surprised this game was moved along to the SNES. I mean, the SNES was fully released by 1993, and this game was released only one year before, so I had completely imagined that this would be ported before publication. Almost seems like a bad business move.

Anyway, I'm losing my proper train of thought here. How is this game?

It's pretty good; you can definitely tell that it's real 16-bit graphics, because the lag is somewhat bad when playing it online (just so you know, instantly playable online games tend to be a bit sluggish as they become more and more advanced, which is why you don't usually find SNES games that can be jumped right into). Apart from that, the gameplay is generally the same.

To point out a few differences, you can now use a boomerang powerup on occasion (seriouly cool), you can crouch to reach enemies like the spider, and you can also sometims get crystals that will make you invincible for a little bit when going into the level. You still have the same basic item screen as you start a level, which I'm glad about, because that was a useful feature.

Aside from extra power-ups, the only main difference is that the overworld looks different. It looks kind of like there aren't as many levels in this game, because the islands look way smaller.

I'm sure there are plenty of you reading this review and comparing it to Adventure Island II, and then coming to your brilliant conclusions of, "Wait, this game looks exactly like the last one! Rip-off!" Well, while this game may definitely be similar, an important part about a sequel is not what it brings in, but rather what it carries on. Adventure Island II is utterly fantastic, and this game being so similar means it carries on all those fantastic qualities (like the dinosaur sidekicks you can get. Yay dinosaurs!). Plus, it makes clear improvements like the boomerang power-up and better designs.

So you see, the small level of improvement upon the last title is sort of a blessing rather than a curse. I wouldn't have liked it if a bunch of radical changes had been made from the last game, because that would have thrown me off something serious. As a totally unique game to the others, this one is sort of underwhelming, but as a title in the Adventure Island series, it's another masterpiece.

However, this game is not yet on the Virtual Console. If it comes on, I'd play it online to see if it looks good and get it if you're interested. For now, though, I recommend buying Adventure Island II, because that will provide the essential experience and well, it's there. So there you go!