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Video Game / Adventure Island

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Hudson's Adventure Island, known in Japan as Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima (meaning "Master Takahashi's Adventure Island"), is a 1986 side-scrolling platform game by Hudson Soft for the Nintendo Entertainment System and MSX, 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 "favorite lady" (wife in later games) from King Quiller (AKA the Evil Witch Doctor), and stuff his face full of whatever food he can find, lest he drop dead. The more well-known NES version is a licensed re-release 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).

Original sequels were made by Hudson Soft without Westone's involvement. They include:

  • Adventure Island II (1991). For NES and Game Boy.
  • Super Adventure Island (1992). For SNES.
  • New Adventure Island (1992). For TurboGrafx-16.
  • Adventure Island 3 (1992). For NES and Game Boy.
  • Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV (1994). Japan only; the final game officially released for the Family Computer.
  • Super Adventure Island II (1995). For SNES.
  • Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima (2003). For Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2. Japan only; also known as Hudson Selection Vol.4note .
  • Adventure Island: The Beginning (2009). For WiiWare.

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 several games), trying to rescue him by enlisting the help of three Earth kids. This anime in turn inspired its own Family Computer 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 has a pot belly but he runs, jumps and rides beasts and skateboards with the best of them.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Hudson's Adventure Island for NES was literally a 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).
  • Artistic License – Art: The NES sequels featured a new power-ups of ridable dinosaurs starting with second game consisted of 4 & each of the power-up icon depicting off of Blackjack symbols. When the third game added new 1 dinasour into the mix & since Blackjack only has 4 symbols, it decided to depict the icon a star to fill the blank.
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  • Asteroids Monster: A boss example is found at the end of Lethal Lava Land in Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV.
  • Author Avatar: Takahashi-Meijin is considered himself to be Master Higgins.
  • Art Evolution: While the character sprites have been mostly constant throughout the series (except Higgins' red cap in the SNES games, his outfit in New and Tina herself in New, Super II and The Beginning), the artwork has evolved over the years. Higgins was depicted with a caveman-like leopard skin in the Adventure Island cover and the Japanese Adventure Island II localization, but this was soon replaced with clothing that resembled his in-game sprites. His character design were also changed entirely in the North American covers of III, Super, and the Game Boy ports to more realistic proportions, dried leaves and a ponytail. Tina had the most changes even in Japanese artwork, despite her usual sprite depicting a simple two-piece bikini as her casual wear - in the original Wonder Boy game she had a headband and more wild hair (she looked more or less identical in the MSX version), she wore an exotic regal attire in the original game's box art and the first Game Boy port, wedding gown in New and low cut dress in Super II, one-piece animal skin and red sandals in Hudson Selection Vol.4, and finally a long grass skirt to match her husband's tropical cloth in The Beginning (not to mention her model kept changing in the artwork, such as the one-piece leopard skin she never wore in-game on the cover of New, and her inconsistent hair color and flower, as well as body frame and height, accessories and jewelry, etc.).
  • 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 Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV.
  • Badass Armfold: The Keeper of the Eggs in Adventure Island III is seen reclining against the wall in this position.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The first boss in Adventure Island III is a giant scorpion.
  • Botanical Abomination: The second boss in Adventure Island III.
  • Bottomless Pits: These are a common hazard is pretty much all of the games.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The ocean levels in the first game could count, and there are entire cloud levels in the second and the third games, with many clouds that fall as soon as Higgings touches them, forcing the player to be quick.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: Some games include pyramid levels.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: From Adventure Island II, bosses are rather explosive when damaged enough.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Adventure Island II and 3 have no checkpoints within stages, in contrast to four for each level in the first Adventure Island. At least the stages are shorter.
  • Collision Damage: Master Higgins is allergic to wildlife.
  • Critical Annoyance: The constant bleeping in Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV when being at one health left.
  • Cultural Translation: As the Japanese version indicates, Master Higgins is meant to be 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: Tina, Master Higgins's lady friend and later wife.
  • Death Throws: Master Higgins dies rather dramatically and falls through all platforms on his way down.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Most of the NES games after the first made use of these.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: First ones that can be found, are moving ones in the first game.
  • Distressed Dude: The Master himself in Takahashi-Meijin no Bug-tte Honey, at least for the first stage.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The NES version of the first game (and releases based on it) is a graphic swap of the Sega game Wonder Boy. In fact, it was even made by the same developers.note  Ironically, this continued with the 2005 cell phone game called Super Adventure Island, which in reality is a graphic swap of Wonder Boy: Monster Land.
  • 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 second and third games have little food as well.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Tina was supposed to be renamed Princess Leilani in the localization of the first game, but her name was only changed in the manual and not in the actual in-game ending text. In an attempt to fix this, Princess Leilani was stated to be a separate character, Tina's sister, in the manual of the sequel. However, localization of the third NES game and its Game Boy port then called her Jeannie Jungle (based on Super, but see Sudden Name Change below); she was also called Princess Tina in the Game Boy port of the second NES game, which removed the reference to Princess Leilani.
  • 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: There are plenty of suspended platforms to traverse.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The sixth boss of Adventure Island III is a large crab wielding an Epic Flail. The second boss of Adventure Island II is large hermit crab.
  • Graceful in Their Element: In the NES sequels, Elasmosaurus 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:
    • King Quiller (AKA 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. This is also how the original King worked in Wonder Boy, albeit with some heads swapped around. Subverted in Hudson Selection Vol.4, where his forms are replaced with magical statues with different exotic heads that are holding other fairies captive in the first seven worlds, with the real (rhinoceros-headed) King Quiller awaiting with Tina in the eighth castle.
    • In New Adventure Island, that follows the original game more than most of its sequels, bosses are Witch Doctor lookalikes with animal heads that are both Head Swap and Palette Swap. However, unlike the first game, each boss has an unique attack pattern.
  • Heart Container: In 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Super, Dark Cloak in his second form will try to squash the life out of Higgins, only to break the floor and fall into the fire.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: So hyperactive, in fact, that if Higgins doesn't get enough food in most games except IV and Super II, he'll die of starvation.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: Higgins couldn't stand still in Adventure Island, Adventure Island II, Super Adventure Island, New Adventure Island, Adventure Island 3, Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV. This trend finally stopped in Super Adventure Island II, and remained that way in the 2.5D titles Hudson Selection Vol.4 and The Beginning.
  • Ice Palace: There is usually one once a game.
  • 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 Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima 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.
  • Just in Time: In the final cutscene of Adventure Island 3, Higgins and Tina escape the crumbling volcano on the alien's ship, that explodes in the air. Higgins and Tina then jump and fall during what seems to be hundreds of meters until they're saved by Pteranodon before they fall to their deaths.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The volcano levels in the third game. Most cave levels and levels 2-6 and 7-4 also count.
  • Life Meter: Played straight in Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV and Super Adventure Island II. The other games use a hunger meter instead.
  • Make My Monster Grow: King Quiller does this in Hudson Selection Vol.4.
  • Market-Based Title: Somewhat. The Game Boy version of Adventure Island is actually a port of Adventure Island II for the NES, while Adventure Island II: Aliens in Paradise is a port of 3. In Japan, they just kept the same numbers.
  • Metroidvania: Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV and Super Adventure Island II.
  • Moth Menace: The seventh boss in III.
  • Nintendo Hard: Most notably the first game. Particularly when you wind up without a weapon. Fourth Famicom game is rather easy though.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: Except in IV, Super II, and The Beginning. One hit kills are prominent, unless Higgins is riding or has a special gem.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dark Cloak in Super.
  • Playing with Fire: Fireballs are your best friend when it comes to staying alive.
  • Personal Space Invader: One of the bats in Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV takes away all collected food this way.
  • Poison Mushroom: Some item eggs contain ... eggplant (it was actually the reaper in the japanese version, which they changed for obvious reasons), 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 game, II, Super, New, 3 and The Beginning which makes you unable to stop.
  • Power-Up Mount: Dinosaurs give Master Higgins an extra hit and usually some other power such as an attack or flight.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Present in later installments.
  • Promoted to Playable: Tina in the mid-2000's cell phone rendition of the original Adventure Island.
  • Quicksand Sucks: It's a common hazard in the desert levels in the sequels.
  • Recurring Boss: Each end level boss in the original is the same, but with a different head. Seriously.
  • Reformulated Game: The Japan-only MSX version is far less known today, but actually has an original set of levels and slightly different gameplay features, somewhat distancing it from its Wonder Boy origins, although it features the Wonder Boy soundtrack as opposed to the original NES one. Hudson Selection Vol.4 and the mid-2000's cell phone rendition, despite starting with pretty similar design layouts, also include a unique set of levels.
  • Relationship Upgrade: At first, "sweet Tina" is Master Higgins's "favorite lady", and thinks of "how grateful she'll be" when he sets out to save his "honey" (she was apparently first rescued in Adventure Island II, if the language of the manual is to be believed). Evidently there is no problem with this line of thinking with the women of this seemingly tribal culture (or at least Tina), as they quickly got married in New, are later seen living together in the same hut in IV, and then had an ultimately successful (if slightly troubled) honeymoon in Super II.
  • Save the Princess: Or as least, a princess's sibling, as Tina is not said to be royalty for some reason (except in her apearance in one of the Game Boy ports).
  • Sea Hurtchin: A recurring enemy in the series is an urchin that floats back and forth in underwater levels.
  • Sea Monster: The fourth boss in Adventure Island III.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Every game since Adventure Island II includes at least one.
  • Ship Level: Level 4-6 in the third game takes place in a wrecked one.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Usually at least one a game to coincide with the Ice Palaces.
  • 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 II.
    • Also Bamboozal (first boss) and Kraken (second boss) in Super Adventure Island.
  • Stock Femur Bone: Master Higgins can throw these in Takahashi-Meijin no Boukenjima IV.
  • Sudden Name Change: Disregarding the names Tina went through in western localizations (see Dub-Induced Plot Hole above), the Japanese version of Super Adventure Island wrote Tina's name as Jīna and also called her Miss Jungle. The English translation also combined the two monikers as Jeanie Jungle. While this could mean that Jeanie Jungle was supposed to be an expy of Tina (or perhaps Princess Leilani), this was likely meant to further differentiate the character from her Wonder Boy counterpart of the same name. Jīna was soon reverted back to Tina in Japanese, though localization used Jeannie Jungle for Adventure Island 3 and its Game Boy port.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Played straight in the first game. Averted in most sequels.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Adventure Island II, 3 and IV (especially the last one since there isn't a time limit). Selectively in Super.
  • Taken for Granite: Jeanie (temporarily) when the two were clearly about to make out on the treetops in Super... and Master Higgins himself in the boss battle against Dark Cloak's first form, in an unusual death animation in which Higgins angrily struggles as he is slowly enchanted to stone by the spell from bottom to top (as opposed to Jeanie's instant and presumably painless transformation) while Dark Cloak chuckles at the petrified body as it is cast into the flames below. Fortunately, while Jeanie didn't see it coming, Higgins can actually break free and survive if the player mashes buttons in time.
  • Timed Mission: Most games except IV and Super II. Collecting food and milk recharges the energy though.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: While they were approximately the same height in the NES games (give or take a few pixels), Tina was made taller than Higgins in most later games, which is especially noticeable in Hudson Selection Vol.4.
  • Too Fast to Stop: The skateboard increases Master Higgins' speed and prevents staying in place.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: As the name suggests.
  • The Unfought: Despite returning as the main antagonist in Adventure Island II (according to the manual), only the Evil Witch Doctor's monsters are ever seen and fought in the game.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The game is harder when you don't have an axe. 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: Except in IV and Super II, where the player has a health meter instead (in The Beginning, the health meter is combined into the food gauge).
  • You Gotta Have Green Hair: Tina in the original MSX version, which is a carryover from Wonder Boy.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: In Super II, the player has to pay an old man to learn how to push rocks.


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