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Video Game: Adventure Island
Adventure Island is a 1986 side-scrolling platform game by Hudson Soft for the Nintendo Entertainment System, where the player controls a tropical warrior named Master Higgins (known in Japan as Takahashi-Meijin, after Hudson's spokesman Toshiyuki Takahashi) on his quest to rescue his girlfriend from an evil witch doctor, and stuff his face full of whatever food he can find, lest he drop dead. Essentially a licensed remake of the original Wonder Boy with the characters swapped out, which was possible thanks to the fact that Wonder Boy developer Westone was an independent company from Sega and owned the code to the game, despite the fact that Sega owned the Wonder Boy trademark (hence the name and graphical changes).

The sequels were made by Hudson Soft without Westone's involvement. They include:
  • Adventure Island II (1991). For NES and Game Boy.
  • Adventure Island III (1992). For NES and Game Boy.
  • Adventure Island IV (1994). Japanese-only; the final game ever officially released for the Famicom.
  • Super Adventure Island (1992). For Super NES.
  • Super Adventure Island II (1995). For Super NES.
  • New Adventure Island (1992). For TurboGrafx 16.
  • Adventure Island: The Beginning (2009). For Wii.

Hudson also commissioned a 51-episode anime TV series, "Bug-tte Honey" (lit. "Honey the Bug"), which was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha and aired in 1986-87. The plot centers around Takahashi (Master Higgins) being kidnapped and his girlfriend, Honey Girl (the bee-like fairy who granted Higgins temporary invincibility in the first several games), trying to rescue him by enlisting the help of three Earth kids. This anime in turn inspired its own Famicom game in 1987. Neither the anime nor the spinoff game were released outside Japan (although it was shopped around under the title of Honey Bee in Toycomland). There was also a theatrical anime film.


The series provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: Picking up an eggplant will seriously ruin Higgins' day. And yours.
  • Acrofatic: Master Higgins
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The original Adventure Island was literally an NES counterpart to Sega's Wonder Boy,as Hudson was given the rights to the game's code from original developer Westone, but not the rights to the game's title and characters (since they belonged to Sega). Subverted with the sequels, which were developed independently by Hudson and were not adaptations of any Wonder Boy games (although Super Adventure Island II did adopt an action RPG format similar to the Monster World series spun-off from Wonder Boy).
  • Asteroids Monster: A boss example is found at the end of Lethal Lava Land in Adventure Island IV.
  • Author Avatar: Takahashi Meijin is considered himself to be Master Higgins.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The skateboard seems like a great way to get around. Until you figure out that there are no brakes...
  • Bad with the Bone: Master Higgins can throw bones as a weapon in Adventure Island IV
  • Bottomless Pits
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: From Adventure Island II, bosses are rather explosive when damaged enough.
  • Check Point Starvation: Adventure Island II and III have no checkpoints within stages, in contrast to four for each level in Adventure Island I. At least the stages are shorter.
  • Collision Damage: Master Higgins is allergic to wildlife.
  • Critical Annoyance: The constant bleeping in Adventure Island IV when being at 1 health left.
  • Cultural Translation: Master Higgins in the Japanese version was a caricature of Takahashi-meijin, a real-life video game expert who has served as the official spokesman and executive for Hudson Soft in Japan since the 80's (indeed the series is called Takahashi-meijin no Bōken Jima or "Master Takahashi's Adventure Island" in Japan).
  • Damsel in Distress: Tina, Master Higgins's girlfriend and later wife.
  • Death Throws
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Most of the games after the first made use of these.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: First ones that can be found, are moving ones in the first game.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The first game is a graphic swap of the Sega game Wonder Boy. In fact, it was even made by the same developers.note 
  • Drought Level of Doom: In the first NES game, sections of mountain levels had no food in them, forcing the player to be in a hurry. Some stages in the 2nd and 3rd games have little food as well.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Tina was supposed to be renamed "Princess Leilani" in the first game, but the localization team only changed her name in the manual, not in the actual game. Oops! To cover this blunder, they claimed Princess Leilani is actually Tina's sister in the second NES game. The third NES game and the first SNES one renamed her again to "Jungle Jeanie", only to go back to Tina for the later games.
  • Every 10,000 Points: In the first game, it's possible to get extra lives when getting a lot of points. However, it takes a lot of time to get one that way.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Touching pretty much anything in the game will hurt or kill you, barring eggs. And those have a decent chance of containing eggplants...
  • Extreme Omnivore: Higgins is more of an Extreme Vegetarian in the first game. Later games also add meat.
  • Flash of Pain: Hitting bosses really lightens them up from Adventure Island II on. In the first installment, it makes their face turn purple instead.
  • Floating Platforms
  • Graceful in Their Element: Plesiosaurus and pteranodon are very clumsy on land, but they are very good swimmers and flyers respectively.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The levels can be borderline impossible, but the bosses are all slow moving and throw easy to dodge fireballs.
  • Hard Mode Filler: The first game has tons of them.
  • Head Swap: The Evil Witch Doctor in the first game literally does this. At the end of each world, he will lose his head and get a new one after being defeated by the player.
  • Heart Container: In Adventure Island IV, usually requiring you to solve a jumping puzzle to obtain them. They come in a variety of full and half heart containers.
  • Hearts Are Health: In IV.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: So hyperactive, in fact, that if Higgins doesn't get enough food in the first three NES games, he'll die.
  • Ice Palace
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Honey Girl the fairy will make ol' Higgins invincible for 15 seconds, allowing him to bump into and kill anything with a touch. In Adventure Island IV, an actual star takes over her role.
    • The anime series Bug-tte Honey features Honey trying to rescue Higgins with the help of three Earth kids. Seems Higgins would be lost without her.
  • Life Meter: Played straight in Adventure Island IV and Super Adventure Island II. The early versions used a hunger meter instead.
  • Market-Based Title: Somewhat. The Game Boy version of Adventure Island is actually a port of Adventure Island II for the NES, while the Game Boy version of II is a port of III. In Japan they just kept the same numbers.
  • Metroidvania: Adventure Island IV and Super Adventure Island II.
  • Nintendo Hard: Most notably the first game. Particularly when you wind up without a weapon. Fourth Famicom game is rather easy though.
  • No Export for You: Adventure Island IV, especially sad due to being the final official Famicom game ever made. At least a Fan Translation exists.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Except in The Beginning. One hit kills in the first 3 games, unless you're riding on a dinosaur or you have a special gem. The fourth game has a life meter.
  • Playing with Fire: Fireballs are your best friend when it comes to staying alive.
  • Personal Space Invader: One of the bats in Adventure Island IV takes away all collected food this way.
  • Poison Mushroom: Some item eggs contain ... eggplant, Higgins's least favorite food. If opened, the eggplant will follow him around until it has drained his HP down to two bars. You can't get rid of it, but you can get a points bonus if you can survive the rest of the level in this condition.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The skateboard in the first three games which makes you unable to stop.
  • Powerup Mount: Dinosaurs.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Present in later installments.
  • Recurring Boss: Each end level boss in the original is the same, but with a different head. Seriously.
  • Save the Princess
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World
  • Springs Springs Everywhere: Springboards can be found in numerous places, sometimes hanging even mid-air.
  • Stalactite Spite: All four NES games.
  • Stationary Boss: The first boss of Adventure Island 2.
  • Stock Femur Bone: Master Higgins can throw these in Adventure Island IV.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Played straight in the first NES game. Averted in sequels.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Adventure Island II, III and IV. Especially the last one since there isn't a time limit.
  • Timed Mission: First three NES games. Collecting food and milk recharges the energy though.
  • Too Fast to Stop: The skateboard.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The game is harder when you don't have a hammer. The skateboard is a mixed blessing but is very helpful in some levels.
  • Unwinnable: The later levels, if Higgins dies and loses his weapon in the wrong place.
  • A Winner Is You: The end of the first game.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly

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