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naia-the-gamer avatar 1:20 AM on 03.17.2008  (server time)
Awesomely Underrated #5: Hudson's Adventure Island 2

After a small amount of time off from talking about underrated games, I've come back to talk about the games that deserve a little extra love. While Nintendo was the king of platformers for the Nintendo and Super Nintendo, a small little company called Hudson made a series of platformers that revolved around Master Higgins and his quest to save.... um.... some hot chic?

The premise of the Adventure Island games were fairly simple: Master Higgins moved through various stages avoiding enemies, collecting fruit to add time to the clock. Various powerups include tomahawks, fireballs, skateboarding, and in the second game, our featured title dinosaurs.

The first Adventure Island game was much more difficult than its predecessors, and as a result the second game was a huge improvement. The difficulty was more balanced and the dinosaurs added some neat new options from the first title. With Higgins riding various dinosaurs, he could traverse over lava, destroy rocks and fly over chasms. It was a contemporary to Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World, and while not the same calibur is still a very entertaining game.

It may not have reached quite the acclaim as Mario's platformers because it was still more difficult for an 8-bit NES platformer. The introduction of dinosaurs came at a similar time to the birth of Yoshi in Super Mario World, and many gamers may have seen it as a cheap substitute. However, the game still moves quite well. Master Higgins acquires powerups in a way similar to Super Mario 3; he finds hidden rooms where he can access access powerups and store for later, which was one of my favorite things to Mario 3.

In a sea of platformers on the Nintendo it's hard to make note of the good ones. Everyone knows Mario, Zelda and Samus, but how many people know Master Higgins? It may be a bit more challenging, and may borrow a few things from the plumber, but it's still entertaining. It hasn't hit virtual console yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did one day. Otherwise give it a try if you have an NES.

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