Tuesday, June 21, 2016

1PanelReview Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure (NES)

Is this game most excellent or not, dudes and dudettes? 

As if!

For more Bill & Ted, check out these other reviews:
What it is: Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure 

Which is: An Isometric Action/Adventure game
Created by: Rocket Science Games/LJN
Year: August 1991
Available on: NES

Time for another one of these countless half-baked games published by the infamous toy manufacturer LJN for the NES. Back in the day, it was part of a push from LJN to invade the gaming medium with all sorts of licensed titles (which was responsible, in my eyes, for the bad reputation video game adaptations still have to this day!). They quickly rushed a ton of licenses-based proprieties into the stores, somehow being able to score so many lucrative franchises back in the day but never putting any real effort into their products. LJN  released Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure for the NES back in 1991. There's been various Bill & Ted games around the release of the films, more or less based around the films' plot. There's been a few different games on various systems from PC to the NES, Game Boy and many more! Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure is an action/adventure game featuring a fairly original concept.

The story is not a direct adaptation of any of the films, rather it acts as a sort of direct continuation from the first film's events. It all begins with Rufus meeting with our heroes Bill S. Preston Esq. and "Ted" Theodore Logan. Some time rebels are after them and they have gone back in time to kidnap various historical figures messing up time and leaving them stranded in different eras (which is kind of what Bill and Ted did in the first film actually). Our heroes are forced to go back through time, retrieve them and send them back to their correct time periods. If not, history will be over, dudes! Oh, and that will occasionally mess with Wyld Stallyns' big debut concert which is also a bummer I guess. And since Ted arrives first he is first sent on the mission. Bill arrives later and he is forced to go back in time separately for now. And each time one arrives in a specific time first he will leave stuff behind to help the other.

What's Good about it: It's certainly a decent enough premise for a Bill & Ted game.
The game is kind of a clumsy isometric game with an adventure game flavor.
You play as alternatively either Bill or Ted. The goal is to find and bring over each historical figure from the various time periods. 
The isometric worlds to explore are huge, with all kinds of places, towns, houses, etc. You can talk to locals for clues. You can use items from your inventory to interact or distract them. The goal is to find the correct item to retrieve each person.
Each mission begins at the phone booth. You can flip the pages of the phone book to locate the next historical figure. Just dial their number. 
After that you must be careful with the locals. They can offer you clues and items, but some might steal your money, chase you down or throw you in jail! There you will need a skeleton key to escape. The idea is to collect coins for both distraction, procure keys for the jail and to simply use the paid phone booth. Yeah, Rufus makes you pay for your trips through time here!
When traveling through time you have to take the phone booth through the shortest path to avoid any traps in a maze-like mini-game.
This is one of those rare times where the music in an 8-bit game doesn't loop this game. The game features 8-bit rearranged versions of popular songs like "Scarborough Fair" for the Medieval World, "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey" for the Modern World, and Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" for the Ancient World!

What's Bad about it: Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure doesn't exactly feel like an excellent video game adventure for sure.
The game suffers from a lot of issues despite some good ideas here and there. 
For one, it's not a simple game not just because of its difficult but the controls are kind of a mess. They're frustrating too. It's also really difficult to find items, you need to aimlessly wander around. 
This could have been so much better, really... It's a decent premise!
The levels are non-linear despite the way it's presented in the phone book.
Controls are really messy.
It's really annoying how you're forced to follow a single path, never wander off it!
And the time traveling phone booth mini-game is really confusing. You can let the game play it for you but then you will lose more money.
The story very loosely tied to the actual film. This plot just doesn't make any sense at all. It's just as lacking as the level design. Levels basically repeat the same over and over again.
And this is a pretty long 3+ hours-kind of game. Yes, it does take that long to just complete everything even rushing through it. It just takes a lot of time between the exploration and backtracking. Like unnecessary padding... 

Overall: I really, really wanted to like this game. But Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure is pretty bad.

Which is kind of bummer, really!

It's an  average game. It looks pretty plain and boring. The only fun aspect of the game is the feeling exploring the different historical periods.

Avoid It! This is the real Bogus Journey the movie sequel claimed to be!

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