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Sunday, March 5, 2023

Takahashi Meijin no Bōken Jima IV (Adventure Island 4)

The fourth game in the Master Takahashi's Adventure Island series (localized as just "Adventure Island", with the character's name changing to "Master Higgins") was the final 8-bit game in the series and indeed the very last game released for the Famicom in the summer of 1994, so it's little surprise it never got ported over.  It's a definite changeup from the series norm though, going from a linear, fast-paced action platformer to more of an open world adventure a la Zelda II or Castlevania II.  You collect various items throughout to open new paths, like a torch to light up braziers and see in dark caves or a hammer to smash down various rocks, and there's now a traditional health bar rather than the constantly-depleting health of earlier games (with one hit from an enemy killing you instantly).  Collecting heart containers will extend your health meter and allow you to take more hits before dying, while collecting eight pieces of fruit will restore one heart on the gauge.  Minigames also appear throughout, allowing you to earn use-on-demand items to restore health, protect you from death once, or instantly teleport back to your house.  There are six islands in total to explore, and progress is tracked via a password system, ensuring you don't have to complete the whole game in one session (or worry about a dead battery in the cart).  It's a pretty scarce and expensive game to come by these days in its original form, but fans of well-made, enjoyable 8-bit adventures owe it to themselves to check it out.

Developer: Now Production
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1994