returned to the Nintendo Entertainment System
in 1991 in Hudson Soft
's Adventure Island II
. This time around Higgins
's girlfriend Tina has been snatched again and our hero must travel across eight distinct islands to rescue her. Along the way he'll meet some new friends: dinosaur
companions that can offer a lift and a unique attack method. The graphics in the game are a step up from the original Adventure Island
, feature sharper-looking characters, and different bosses at the end of each island instead of the same boss recycled endlessly as in the original game. Each of the eight islands is based on a particular environment. Fern Island is mostly grasslands, Lake Island has lots of water, Ice Island is icy, and so on.
One of the biggest changes in this game is the addition of an inventory screen. Before each level Master Higgins can equip himself with or without a weapon and dinosaur friend. Items are picked up during the levels and if Higgins is already equipped with what he picks up, the extra item goes to this storage screen. This comes in handy as it's possible to change equipment based on upcoming levels. If a water level is next, for example, it would be wise to choose the water-based dinosaur for help. In the lava level you'll want the fire dinosaur, and so on. Items can only be lost if Higgins dies during a level while equipped with the items in question. If he only has one ax and he dies while carrying it, he loses it. However if he has one in storage, he can equip it before retrying the level. Some items, like the Honey Girl fairy, the skateboard, and the evil eggplant, cannot be put into storage.
Now, let's talk about those dinosaurs. There are four different dinos that can be found: a blue camptosaurus that can walk on ice without slipping and uses his tail as a weapon, a red camptosaurus that can swim in lava and spit fireballs, an elasimasaurus that can swim underwater and take short hops on land, and a pterodactyl that can fly and drop stones. The dinosaurs are represented by card suit icons that can be picked up. When acquired the dinosaur appears and becomes ready for action. However, if the Higgins/dino team takes a hit, the dinosaur will vanish, leaving Higgins on his own.
The ever-decreasing life meter from the original game returns and Master Higgins must constantly collect fruit and milk in order to keep from dying. Some dinosaurs, such as the pterodactyl, tend to drain the life meter at a greater rate while flying. This keeps the gameplay balanced as it would be quite a cheat to simply take the flying dinosaur soaring over hazards time after time without risk. As a rule most fruits do not appear in the "fly zone".
Adventure Island II is a much better game than the original one, but it does have its drawbacks. There is no password or save game system, so the very long game must be completed in one sitting. There is a hidden stage select, however: Right, Left, Right, Left, A, B, A, B on the control pad at the title screen. The Hudson Bee also returns as a hidden item and collecting it allows you to keep your inventory with/if you continue. Don't let these problems scare you away though, as the game is still a lot of fun and is more pleasing to the eye than the original. If you can't find the game at the use game shops you can check around for the Game Boy version of Adventure Island which is a port of this game; Adventure Island II for the Game Boy is actually a port of Adventure Island III for the NES, Master Higgins's next game appearance.