30 Games Of April – Day 6

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure
Factfile
Developed by: Rocket Science Games
Released: 1991
Format played: NES



Good grief, what is this garbage?

Look, for argument’s sake, let’s say I’m a huge fan of Bill & Ted. Let’s say that I remember the first time I saw the most Excellent Adventures of the Wyld Stallyns and loved it so much that I thought it had invented the word bogus and couldn’t understand why newsreaders were using it in their stories. Let’s say I loved it so much that I could quote most of the script. Let’s say I loved it so much that me and a friend used it as the inspiration for a piece of school work in English. Let’s say I loved it so much that I was front and centre in the cinema for the sequel.

None of which would prepare me for this utter travesty.

I know, I know. Games development has come on so far that it can be hard to look back at titles from 20+ years ago with a fair but critical eye. And I never had a NES growing up, so the capabilities and limitations of the hardware are new to me. But even still, this is just awful.

We start by meeting Rufus, who has another job for us that – GASP! – revolves around finding historical figures courtesy of our time travelling telephone box. After a pointless irritating journey through the ‘circuits of time’ we are into the game proper. Oh boy, here we go.

Viewed from an isometric perspective, it is superficially reminiscent of something like Heimdall. However control and interaction is atrocious, more akin to Last Ninja. You wrestle with the pad to make Bill or Ted move anywhere, movement restricted to walking along a designated pathway. You can stray off the beaten track but for some reason you have to physically jump from path to grass before then being allowed to continue you journey. Along the way you might quite literally bump into an inhabitant of the level, who may offer you some friendly advice or may just chuck you in jail.

Ostensibly this is an RPG-type affair, built around a fetch and carry mechanic. Unfortunately it is so irritating to actually get anywhere that by the time you do, you’ve long since forgotten what the point of it all was. I spent a good 30 minutes aimlessly wandering round the first level, being chucked in jail, escaping through the open door, being chucked in jail again, riding a horse for some reason and then meeting the lady I think I was supposed to find, only to answer her question incorrectly and promptly be kicked out of her home.

Perhaps I haven’t given this a fair crack. Perhaps there is a gem of a game here, lurking just beneath the surface for those players willing to invest time and patience required. But I’ll be damned if I’m playing any more of the wretched thing to find out.

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