Review by Retro
"The adventures of a failed attempt at making a revolutionary classic"
Billy's girlfriend, Annabelle, has been kidnapped by an evil, mustachioed madman with the not-so-scary name of Gordon. It's up to Billy to try and rescue his treasured damsel in distress (what a unique storyline!). It won't be an easy task because Billy must venture through swamps overflowing with snapping alligators, take his adventure to a road full of booby traps, and even go through bayous reeking of firearm-wielding syndicates.
In The Adventures of Bayou Billy, it's up to you to guide Billy through many different situations that all spell danger. To begin with, you must venture through an area that looks to be a sandy swamp that is home to a few dark blue lakes and a lush forest in the background. In this kind of level, Billy will be traveling by foot through the gritty terrain while he utilizes his kick-ass (ha! not really) punches, normal kicks, and jump kicks against several enemies.
There are regular-looking guys who just punch and kick like Billy does, men that resemble cavemen that can pick up boulders and launch them like a catapult would, and other foes such as shallow sea divers, flying birds, and alligators that don't know the meaning of lockjaw. Along the way, you will have to pay attention to Billy's energy at the top of the screen (it looks like a lot, but believe me it's not) so you'll know when to back off a little bit from the fearsome nemeses.
There are a few items that can help you out in these fighting stages, such as chicken for replenishing energy, sharp knives that can be hurled for a possible backstab, and whips for much needed extra reach. Also included are items that can be saved for use in later stages, such as a hunk of bullets.
If you're fortunate enough to get past the horrid fighting stages, you will next take the controls of a jeep. In this driving level, you just have to make it to the finish line in order to progress to the next nightmare. You'll always know how much further you have left to go because your distance from the checkered flag is represented by a graph at the top of the screen.
Nails and smelly roadkill aren't among your obstacles, but there are several slowpoke jeeps waiting to be passed or destroyed, mossy rocks sticking up out of the ground that you must avoid at all costs, and bombing airplanes that invade the overcast skies while dropping explosive devices. Not to mention that you must keep an eye out for the side boundaries of the road itself. Indeed, it seems like the only thing you don't have to worry about on this road trip are kids that ask you every other second, ''Billy, are we there yet?'' For defensive strategies, you are equipped with unlimited bullets for your jeep's straight-shooting gun and bombs to toss up into the air for the pilots to catch before they explode into hundreds of pieces.
Finally, the last kind of level is the easiest and the most fun in my opinion. Depending on whether you're playing Game A or Game B (two different options that the game offers; neither is much different from the other), you can use either the controller or the light gun to pump up as many enemies as you can with flesh-eating bullets.
These shooting levels scroll slowly to the right, and along the way, you shoot to kill several madmen who are discharging projectiles at you with a bazooka or gun, and others that choose to throw some sort of horizontal bombs at the screen. Not only can you pump those people's guts full of lead, you can also demolish bombs before they hit the screen, blast open items that give you extra ammunition or more energy, and, if you make it to the end of the area, there's actually a boss that you must defeat. It seems you are looking through the eyes of Billy in these short-lasting but nice shooting stages because you can't actually see Billy, which makes the place all that much better looking.
With the most overused storyline in video game history (go on an adventure just so you can get laid in the end) and with three different genres of games to take part in, The Adventures of Bayou Billy seemed to be destined for greatness. On top of that, it was even made by one of the most respected companies in the business at the time: Konami. Unfortunately, The Adventures of Bayou Billy falls way short of the potential it obviously had.
My biggest complaint is that the game is overly hard. The fighting levels in which Billy was brave enough to go by foot even though he's a terrible fighter (even I could take him!) are the most frustrating ones. There's not any way to block enemies' moves, no ducks or rolls to perform, no way to run, and there's so much of a lack of energy and extra lives around that even Chuck Norris would break a sweat. Not to mention that there is no way to see how much energy your opponents have left.
The shooting levels aren't too bad at all. I'd even go so far as to call them fair, which is a big compliment for something to do with The Adventures of Bayou Billy. However, it is fairly easy to run completely out of bullets and be forced to watch yourself lose a bloody life in vain. Why does Billy not know how to put on camouflage or haul ass?
The driving levels are pretty tough since you can't see that far ahead of you (there should be a sign that warns of major pop-up) and it only takes one hit from anything to lose a life. But, reminisce a few seconds about the 2-D fighting parts and you'll see that these driving stages aren't all bad.
None of the three genres of levels are impossible, but put them all together in one journey and they become close to impossible. The worst thing is that the hardest ones (the fighting variety) are always first, and there is no way to toggle the game's difficulty.
On the plus side, there is a Sound Mode option that lets you listen to the sounds and music at any time. Even better is the Practice Mode in which you can practice any of the three species of levels by playing them separately from start to finish. However, even after countless practices, the game doesn't seem to ever get any less frustrating. But it was a nice idea to include the option anyway.
The makers of The Adventures of Bayou Billy had a classic idea in mind by packing three different genres all into one glorious cartridge. Unfortunately, with lackluster graphics, stiff controls, and an almost impossible challenge, The Adventures of Bayou Billy fails to deliver the goods.
GRAPHICS - The Adventures of Bayou Billy's graphics aren't blinding, but they could've been much better. The airplanes, jeeps, and a few other items are done fairly well, but characters such as the humans and birds need a complete facelift. Alligators even suffer from a major case of flicker. The levels and backgrounds look good enough, but there's not much variety or detail to them.
SOUND - The sounds and music is the best feature of The Adventures of Bayou Billy. I've always been impressed with the catchy music; the tracks go great with the game's swampy atmosphere. The sound effects are on the other side of the fence. Overall, they're mediocre with nothing that stands out as being great or completely sorry, except for one particular awful sound. I've always hated the sound of Billy losing a life. He makes an overly realistic gagging sound before plummeting to the ground in endless pain.
CONTROL - Controlling the sluggish jeep can take some getting used to and so can the fighting stages with Billy's constant speed and stiffness, but using the crosshair in the shooting environments and doing other things such as tossing bombs up for the airplanes to eat for lunch are easy enough for anybody to master.
REPLAY VALUE - Sometimes I pop in the cartridge and play it for awhile, but only if I'm bored beyond the outer limits. To be honest, I've played the Practice Mode a lot more than I have the regular adventure. At least by doing that I can earn some feeling of accomplishment by passing a level or two. Also, The Adventures of Bayou Billy is only for one player. It would've been nice to be able to race with a friend in the driving stages or to fight them to death in the swamps.
OVERALL - The Adventures of Bayou Billy overall is a mixed bag. It has good music, mediocre sound effects and graphics, and it can be fairly entertaining in one or two parts, but the difficulty and some of the controls kill the fun factor and the gameplay almost completely. If you have a friend that has this game, I would recommend giving it a play, but I wouldn't recommend purchasing it unless you want it for collection's sake.
Reviewer's Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Originally Posted: 06/20/01, Updated 07/05/03
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