Review by Psycho Penguin

"Blah.. how come the series isn't changing too much but seems to keep getting worse?"

The Adventure Island series has always been one of my favorites, and while some mistakes have been made in terms of the direction of the series (cough *Super Adventure Island 2 *cough*), it still remains a very fun series. The original was one of the first games I ever played, and I loved it because it was so much fun to play. Then I played the sequel and I was a little disappointed and let down by the whole experience.

Sure, the graphics were a lot better, but it just didn't have the feeling and fun factor that the original had. So I was a little wary when I played Adventure Island 3. I was especially worried when the game looked and played more like Adventure Island 2 than the original. But after playing it for a while my fears were laid to rest. Adventure Island 3 delivers the fun factor and overall gaming experience that the original (and to a point, sequel) had as well.

However, it just doesn't seem to be as fun as the other games in the series. I loved the original Adventure Island to death, despite the fact it was just a cheap Wonder Boy ripoff. Then along came part 2, which really changed a lot of parts and delivered basically an all new innovative gaming experience, but it just wasn't as fun. The final piece of the three part puzzle was completed with this game, and while it isn't a horrible game, it just doesn't live up to the (admittely laudy) expectations I attached to it.

The storyline is the same crap the first two spawned. Wow, the girlfriend of Master Higgins is kidnapped. Wow, the dinosaurs are kidnapped. Who the hell cares any more? I don't even remember this storyline too much, and that's probably a good thing, since I do remember it was about as innovative as a new sports game for Playstation 2. Okay, so maybe that's a bad example.. but still, the storyline in the Adventure Island series needed a desperate last breath here, and it didn't really get it, dying a miserable death with its uninnovative crappy fluff it's been delivering in spades previously.

The graphics are hardly improved over Adventure Island 2, which is a little bit of a letdown, but the graphics in the sequel were so good that it really isn't too big of a deal. If you've never played the second game in the series, the graphics are bright and colorful and the enemies are designed to the classic feel of the original Adventure Island, but are designed much more nicely (the snails have gone from a big, pink thing to a little, dark pink snail, for instance) Overall, the graphics are very good, bright, and colorful, but those expecting something new will be a little disappointed.

I mean, let's face it. This game could have been called Adventure Island 2.5 or something. It looks pretty much dead on like Adventure Island 2 did. Master Higgins looks exactly the same, the world map looks exactly the same, the dinosaurs look exactly the same, you get the idea. I could go on and on about how similar the two games look. However, all hope is not lost, since the second game looked quite nice, so this one does as well. The backgrounds are nicely designed, and show a wide variety of different locales, from a tropical forest to a hot burning volcano. There's more locations than ever in Adventure Island 3, and each one has its own unique background. The enemy designs, while not improved, still look as good as ever.

Not only does the graphics seem to be extraordinarly like the sequel, but the music does, as well. What the heck, did Hudson just recycle the music and graphics from part two and throw them into this game? Because most of the tunes sound EXACTLY like the ones in the sequel. The map screen music is exactly the same, the water stage's music is exactly the same, etc. Regardless, the music is decent, but sometimes gets evry annoying, especially after hearing it a thousand times in part two. Overall, the music is good, but (again) those expecting something new will be a little disappointed. You shouldn't expect to find too much sound effects here, either, because you don't like to be disappointed, right?

Controls seem to have mysteriously fallen apart since the classic original. Now it is completely hard to move Higgins from time to time, and it seems that the more you need to rely on the control, the less it comes through for you. For instance, let's say you need to make a tight precision jump from one platform to another, and the platforms crumble as you jump on them, and there's deadly lava beneath you, so if you fall, you'll burn and die. So, you will need to have fast fingers and solid control to get through it. However, once you jump, you may just run off the edge of the platform, and if you manage to stay on it, you'll jump over or short of the next platform half the time. It just becomes frustrating really quickly. Switching between dinosaurs is a pain in the ass, as well.

For those new to the Adventure Island series, it is a side scrolling game. You are Master Higgins, and you must rescue your girlfriend. It is a platformer as well. There are lots of different stages, ranging from a water stage to a normal forest level. Each stage has you do something differently, and each has certain eggs, ranging from different weapons to different dinosaur helpers. While the dinosaurs are not too much different from the sequel (as you may have guessed by now), they will definitely help you out on your quest. There is a new dinosaur added, but he doesn't really help you out too much at all, making me wonder if his inclusion was really an idea by Hudson Soft to improve the gameplay or just a way for them to say they added something new.

The bosses in the game are challenging and each one has to be beaten a different way. Like I said, the stages are varied, and my favorite one is the one where you have to hop from cloud to cloud while avoiding flying octupi.. thats really fun. However, there's a problem with this basic formula. In Adventure Island, there's a stage where you have to hop from cloud to cloud while avoiding flying octupi. In Adventure Island 2, there's a stage where you have to hop from cloud to cloud while avoiding flying octupi. In Adventure Island 3, there's a stage where you have to hop from cloud to cloud while avoiding flying octupi. Outstanding innovation, eh? About the only nice added feature to the game were the new mini games.. oh wait, they're mostly the same as before. Ah well, at least they're still fun.

The problem with this game, as you may expect by now, is the fact they just tried to add too much stupid crap and kept all the good parts that got kinda boring by now. What do I mean by this? I didn't really find the sequel to be all that fun, but at least it kept the classic Adventure Island formula I have grown to love. However, by now I was getting a little sick of it, and the switching eggs between levels, dinosaur helpers, etc. annoyed me more than they made me want to play the game. It just isn't as fun as it should have been. The reason why Super Adventure Island is probably my favorite in the series is because it returned to the series' roots.

Replay value is rather lacking, since you'll just feel like you are playing one of the older games in the series. Like I have said, I don't really know why I found this game to not be that fun, I just didn't. I think it just added some crappy ideas from the original into the sequel, and kept those ideas for the finale of the trilogy, and it just didn't work out well. I disliked Adventure Island 2 to a point, and this just added to my frustration. Good for a day, but not longer.

Challenging, this game could have been. Challenging, this game is not. Just chalk it up to the game being more frustrating then it could have been. Besides the obvious problems with the platform jumping in the game (the control will REALLY piss you off in these situations), the game is really not that tough, as I completed it after playing it for just a few times. The series' challenge really seemed to have gone downhill. Hmm, is this series channeling Mega Man or something?

There is really no reason to play Adventure Island 3. Just stick with the original. This game could have been classic, but the destruction of all the fun elements from the original just led to crap here. While not being quite as bad as Adventure Island 4 (is anything as bad as that?), it is certainly right up there. Innovation seems to be a foreign concept to the people at Hudson Soft, and look no further than this game for proof of that statement.

Good Points
-Hey, it's still got at least some of the elements of the original.
-The bonus stages are fun.
-Each dinosaur has their own special ability and stats, so there's actually a difference between using them.
-The graphics aren't that bad.

Not So Good Points
-Blah, the game's just not fun.
-The storyline is plain and uninteresting.
-Bland music and sound effects which were just ripped from the prequel.
-Boring gameplay and unresponsive control combine to add some real frustration.

I Rate This Game.. Psycho Penguin Style!
Storyline - 2.1/10
Graphics - 7.3/10
Music - 5.1/10
Sound Effects - 3.9/10
Control - 3.6/10
Gameplay - 4.8/10
Replay Value - Average
Challenge - Average
Worth a Purchase? - No

Overall - 4.7/10
It could have been classic, but it is far from it. Such a shame..


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 02/19/00, Updated 12/15/01


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