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Video Game / The Adventures of Bayou Billy

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"Can we just ask France for a refund of the Louisiana purchase?"

The Adventures of Bayou Billy (known as Mad City in Japan) is a side-scrolling Beat 'em Up released by Konami in 1988/1989 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In it, an adventurer named Billy West (no, not the famous voice actor) sets out to rescue his girlfriend Annabelle from the clutches of the evil gangster Godfather Gordon. There are nine stages in all, with driving and on-rails shooting sections thrown in for variety.

This game is notorious for being ridiculously hard. Although it should be noted that while it may qualify as Nintendo Hard, it wasn't a whole lot worse than many of the other games made for the NES. The Final Boss however, may well be one of the hardest of the era.... unless you're able to keep the whip from the previous level. Of note, this was a result of the American version being altered to be quite a bit more punishing towards the player. The Japanese version is somewhat more reasonable in its difficulty.

Was one of the more obscure games to feature on Captain N: The Game Master, as the one game even he couldn't beat.

Tropes used in The Adventures of Bayou Billy:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Inverted. The Famicom version's cover art has a similar composition to its later NES counterpart shown above, yet it has a more serious and darker mood. Billy's expression is pretty stern (in contrast to the goofy grin he has on the American art), Godfather Gordon is pointing his knife at Annabelle (instead of merely holding her arm) and the background is set during sunset instead of daytime.
  • The Big Easy: The setting of the game.
  • Boss-Only Level: Stage 9 is simply the final showdown with Gordon and Rocky and Rocko.
  • Bowdlerize: Inverted. Annabelle was given sexier clothing in the NES version. In the original Famicom version she wears a long red dress. In the NES version she wears tight short shorts and a midriff-revealing t-shirt.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Protects from knives and bullets and breaks sticks in the beat-em-up areas, gives temporary invincibility in the shooting stages.
  • Clown Car: The first shooting level has a small helicopter that carries far more mooks than it should be able to hold.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Most notable for being Archie Comics' first comic book based on a video game, predating their Sonic comics. It only lasted six issues though.
  • Continuing is Painful: Dying results in the loss of your weapon and bulletproof vest, if you have either or both. This also counts in levels where they have no effect, so if you manage to finish Level 3 with a stick (or knife) and vest, you'll have to complete both the driving levels without crashing into anything or getting blown up if you want to keep them for Bourbon Street, and ditto bringing a stick and vest from Level 1 to Level 3 or anything from Bourbon Street to Gordon's Manor. Good luck with that!
  • Difficulty by Region: The NES version is harder than the Famicom version. Baddies in the beat-em-up levels take much more damage and move faster, you get fewer bullets in the shooting stages and less fuel in the driving stages.
    • As a rule of thumb, anything that would help you is halved (like your attack and defense), and anything that would hamper you is doubled (like enemies' attack and defense) when compared to Mad City.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Rocky and Rocko, Gordon's heirs (confirmed to be his sons in the comics), don't show up until after you've beaten him. Justified, as they were plotting to take over Godfather Gordon's crime syndicate, and were using you to take him out.
  • Dub Name Change: Almost all of the characters except for Billy West himself.
  • Epic Flail: Migraine Mike, one of the bad guys in the later stages, uses a hammer-and-chain.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Run into anything during the driving stages and you'll be up in smoke with a single hit.
  • Evil Laugh: Every cutscene in between stages ends with a smug laugh from Gordon. This actually has the side effect of removing a sprite where he looks none-too-pleased that he starts using after the end of Stage 6 (Bourbon Street).
  • Expy: Bayou Billy is essentially an American version of "Crocodile" Dundee. In the Japanese cover art, he looks almost exactly like Paul Hogan, which is probably why different artwork was used for the American release.
  • Fake Difficulty: Avoiding damage during the light gun boss fight directly before Gordon's manor is impossible. If you reach the machine gunman and his knife throwing partner without enough health to weather the former's assault, you're already dead.
  • Fat Bastard: Hurricane Hank, a mook in Stages 1 and 3.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Three different game styles in one, but the game (and instruction manual) let you know what you're going to go up against next.
  • Giant Mook: Blackie Blue.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Unless you've read the manual, there's no clue that you would be fighting Rocky and Rocko after you've defeated Gordon, not helping the fact that they weren't even foreshadowed in the game at all.
  • Gratuitous English: Besides Billy shouting "OH GOD", the back cover of the Japanese version reads, "STREET-FIGHT GUN-SHOOTING CAR-ACTION: THIS IS TRIPLE HARD ACTION GAME."
  • Hitbox Dissonance: To a ludicrous degree in the driving stages. The short version is that if if you're rounding a curve, trying to shoot at an enemy car is not going to get you anywhere, and you'll need to take shots that don't look like they should connect at all to actually get the job done.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The whip. Longer range than the stick, doesn't need to be picked up after using it once like the knife, and ignores armor unlike the both of them. While it doesn't do as much damage as the stick, the simple fact is that range is king, and the further away you are from your enemies, the better.
  • Ironic Name: The Big Easy is actually really difficult to traverse (in the NES version).
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the driving stages, Billy can shoot down low-flying propeller planes by throwing hand grenades at them out of his car window.
  • Multiple Endings: The Famicom version has four endings.
    • The regular ending (the same one as the NES version)
    • An ending where Billy dumps Annabelle (which can be obtained if you walk away from her when she approaches you at the end of the game.)
    • An Easy-Mode Mockery ending you get for using any of the power-ups that can be obtained from the Practice mode.
    • A secret version of the regular ending where the characters speak in the Kansai dialect.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Billy's full name is William Jackson West in the comics.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Alligators are enemies in the early levels. In the Famicom version, killing them was optional. In the NES version, it's mandatory.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Gordon is a local gangster yet has literally hundreds of goons in his employ, including not only the standard thugs with pistols, bats, and knives that you encounter in the beat-em-up sections, but also a squad of scuba commandos who ambush Billy in the swamps, platoons of paramilitary operatives with assault rifles and rocket launchers, a fleet of light attack helicopters, and dozens of jeeps and prop planes manned by the aforementioned paramilitaries that patrol the streets of Louisiana dropping bombs on Billy.
  • Nintendo Hard: The NES version. The Famicom version was ridiculously easy by comparison.
    • How difficult is it? Captain N couldn't beat it. (At first.)
      • And the only way he was able to beat it was to get help and advice from Billy himself.
    • Partly averted if you play and complete all three practice stages before proceeding to the main game, which gives you more health, bullets, and fuel.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Your jeep in the driving sections. Because you're traveling at high speeds, if it slams into anything — be it a car, a rock, a sign post or a grenade — it'll explode and you'll lose a life.
  • One-Man Army: Billy. In the first light gun section alone he kills over 90 enemy troops in under 3 minutes.
  • Poison Mushroom: Of an unintentional sort. Just like its older brother Castlevania, picking up a weapon when you already have one erases the one you were holding from existence. Annoying when you're losing a stick for a knife or vice-versa, devastating when you're losing a whip for either of the other two.
  • Precision F-Strike: Billy screams "OH GOD" as Annabelle is abducted.
  • Punny Name: The red-clad mook that appears in Stages 1 and 3 is called "Toulouse L'Attack", a pun on the famous painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Genius Bonus anyone?
  • Ragin' Cajun: The knife-wielding punks in Stage 6 are called the Cajun Cutthroats, to say nothing of Billy himself.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Rocky and Rocko were merely Gordon's 'heirs' in the NES game. In Archie's comic book adaptation, they were his son and stepson respectively.
  • She's a Man in Japan: The whipmaster enemy (A.L. Hurt) was originally a "whipwoman" named "Thousand Bird", although the [very masculine-looking] sprite is the same in both versions.
  • Shout-Out: "Bayou Billy" is a play on the Jim Reeves song "Billy Bayou".
  • Smart Bomb: The star, found only in the shooting stages, clears all enemies when shot.
  • Throw-Away Guns: When Billy takes a gun away from the enemy, each one only has six bullets. When it runs out of ammo, he can't use it again unless he picks up another one.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Some mooks in the shooting stages throw dynamite.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: How Billy uses the knives he obtains from enemies.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Billy wears an open vest with no shirt.
  • Weapon Specialization: A whip can be obtained from the bad guys in earlier stages and there is one enemy named A.L. Hurt who uses one as his primary weapon. It's also bar none the best weapon in the game if you can get your hands on it, as it has the most range out of anything you can get besides a gun, also ignores armor, which not even bullets do, and it carries through stages as long as you don't die.