Sunday, 11 December 2011

Adventurous Boy (Mega Drive)

I really wanted this game to be good. I like pirate games, I like the Mega Drive, and I like shooting games.
You can probably tell from the screenshots that it's a blatant rip-off of Super Fantasy Zone, with similar stages, a similar visual style and music that sounds like weird cover versions of the music from SFZ. Unlike Super Fantasy Zone, though, Adventurous Boy is terrible.
It might lure you into thinking it might be a fun game, with its okay graphics, and its nice, easy-going first stage, but this game is evil!
The first hint of danger is your character's default flying speed: really really slow. Luckily, a shop will appear once you've collected some money (see? Super Fantasy Zone!), and you can buy some bigger wings to go faster. And by "can", I mean "must": the game is no fun at all to play with the default speed, and you'll probably die very quickly too. You should also buy the Track Missiles, since they also make things a lot easier.
Like in that other, more famous game, there are ten enemy generators in each stage, and when they've all been destroyed, the boss will appear.
This is where the game shows its true colours. If you manage to kill the boss without losing a life, then everything will be fine, you'll go onto the next stage and a good time will be had by all (except the boss, obviously). If you get killed during the boss fight, you'll then experience the harshest and most frustrating case of "Gradius Syndrome" I've ever seen. You'll be back to your default speed, which is a lot slower than the speed at which the bosses move. So slow is your default speed, that even though this game gives you a few hit-points per life, if you get touched by the boss, you won't be able to move fast enough to get away before losing a life. And when you respawn, the boss will likely still be near where you died, if not still right on top of that spot, and you'll die again.
By setting the difficulty level to easy and putting the amount of starting lives to the maximum, I've managed to get as far as the third boss. I won't be trying again to get any further.
I love hard shooting games, but this game isn't hard as much as it is broken and unfair. And the way in which this difficulty arises makes me think it wasn't even intentional, which seems like a real shame. Those chinese guys thought they were putting out a nice, fun (though unoriginal) shooter, but because of a couple of little flaws, it's completely ruined.

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