Review by tgoldberg
"More of a curiosity than a classic."
Most video game aficionados out there have heard of Adventure. It is, after all, the grandfather of the adventure genre. Heck, it's right there in the title. All the Zeldas and Skyrims and whatnot owe something to it simply for laying the groundwork that they are built on. It is essentially the prototype to every adventure game ever made. But is it any good purely on its merits as a video game?
Well, yes. Far be it from me to badmouth Adventure, and not just out of reverence for its status. It is a genuinely good game. It is not, however, what I'd call a truly great game. Great games are timeless, transcending the period they were made in and standing out from the rest of the pack as unusually high quality and groundbreaking. Super Mario Bros. and Half-Life 2 are perfect examples. Even with all the advances made in technology and design over the years, they are still pointed to as examples of fantastic design. Adventure, while certainly deserving of respect, does not earn that kind of reverence because it hasn't held up as well over the years.
The premise is this: You must collect a hidden chalice and bring it back the golden castle. Finding it requires you to work your way through the maze that makes up the world buy entering castles, grabbing useful objects, and clearing through obstacles that block your way. Complicating matters are three dragons that can eat you and end your game, as well as a bat in the higher levels that can steal your items. Also, you can only carry one item at a time, leading to some interesting situations in which you must choose between the item you require to proceed and the sword that can protect you from impending peril.
That, however, is the only intrigue you'll find here. Adventure really is a very simple game, with simple gameplay, simple visuals, simple sound, and overall simple design. Of course, some games can take a basic concept and make it ridiculously fun, but Adventure doesn't hit so high a mark. That particular ingenuity and special beauty that separates the great from the good is, sadly, not to be found here. It stands more as an interesting artifact from another time than an enduring masterwork, much like Myst. Sure, it's still fun enough to hold your interest, but don't go in expecting to be amazed or you may wind up rather disappointed.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/10/11, Updated 08/26/13
Game Release: Adventure (US, 12/31/79)
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