Adventures of Bayou Billy review
Rajun’ for a Cajun?
The Adventures Of Bayou Billy is one of those games I was told to play since I liked to bitch and moan about how Ghosts N’ Goblins was a hard as tits title on the NES. So I popped this sucker in, expecting the hardest game this side of Ghosts N’ Goblins. What I got in the end is a horribly frustrating game that, although it was ambitious in design, managed to make me cuss like a sailor until I lost all of my patience and just turned off the NES. It becomes a horribly frustrating ordeal, one not worth enduring.
Story: Billy’s girlfriend, Annabelle, gets kidnapped by Mr Big, and it’s up to Billy to save her. Yeah. That’s about it. Oh, you get to go through swamps and it has that crocodile fighting vibe with all the settings you go through, though it’s your usual 8-bit story. Meh.
Gameplay: I will give the game credit – it crammed three play styles into one cartridge. Half assed beat em up levels, overly frustrating driving stages, and... some pretty sweet first person shooter levels. Throughout the game’s 8 stages, you’ll be going through the three different modes. While execution is a little spotty here and there, had the difficulty not been so extreme, this would actually be one of my favorite NES games. But let’s just get through this game.
The beat em up levels seem harmless enough. The first problem I noticed is that you can’t really do any sort of combo attacks. You can’t just wail on them until they fall down. It’s basically you and the enemies trading hits. It’s weird, since the kicks land on their nuts. You’d expect them to just double over in pain, but damn, they got balls of steel! See, the thing is that their recovery time is a bit longer than the time between Billy’s attacks, meaning you can’t really land any combos. This becomes a pain in the ass when you’re battling multiple enemies at once, especially when they have weapons.
Don’t fret, you can get weapons, too, and believe me, they’ll be extremely useful in dealing damage. You can wail on them mercilessly, though due to a couple of seconds worth of invincibility time, you can get hit while delivering the second blow, and once you’ve taken some damage, you drop the weapon, and trust me when I say... you really want to get it back, because enemies can get it. This can be a pain in the ass when you’re trying to beat down enemies.
If you think enemies are tough, though, the bosses are nightmares. They utilize cheap moves and bullshit tactics to kick your ass into the ground. Defeating a boss requires precise timing, which is normal, but the way this game does it is terrible. The timing is ever so precise, that you have to be a zen master in order to do this, and even when you FINALLY get the timing down, the bosses are still going to be dicks. *bleep* these bosses!
Don’t fret and frown. If beat em ups aren’t your thing, then there’s a fixed first person shooter mode to enjoy! Only a couple of levels offer this, and they’re probably the best parts of the game. With the use of the zapper, you can go trigger happy on enemies and bosses. The bosses are also outright pricks, but you can at least fight back without much trouble, as long as you’re able to rapidly fire. The problem here is that once you’re out of bullets, that’s it, you’re dead, and it’s kind of easy to do so if you don’t watch out for refills...
And we had to save the best for last... the infuriatingly shit driving stages. Anybody who has played this game remembers these scenes oh so well. You have to go along this track while turning corners without veering off the track, and you have to avoid other cars, rocks, and bullets. This seems simple, but it’s anything but. Rocks and other cars seem to pop up like morning wood, effortlessly destroying your jeep. The helicopters will impede your progress with more missiles than the Chinese. Everything is out to kill you, and with only one hit and a few measly lives, you will be destroyed.
Now, remember back to Ghosts N’ Goblins. What saved that game from being complete shit? Infinite continues. What destroys this game? Finite continues – three to be exact, so you pretty much have nine lives, and once they’re gone, it’s back to the start up screen you go, and holy shit, it was frustrating going through most of these stages the first time, so why the *bleep* should I need to go through them over 5000 times!? This game lacked a password system too, so you’ll be even more pissed off about this. This manages to make the game unplayable and unlikable. There is no reward to be gained from beating such a frustrating game, and even those who are looking for a challenge will want to kill whoever was responsible for it... until they realize that it was Konami who did it, and just bottle up their rage until the next time...
Controls: Moving Billy around in the beat em up sections feels a little stiff, as does his jump kick attack. But the worst has to be the jeep controls – they feel so rough and bad, like as if it can’t even turn properly. This will kill you on many different occasions. On the flipside, the use of the zapper is pretty cool. Not bad, but needs a lot of work.
Graphics: The foreground objects, the backgrounds, and even the characters look pretty good. They definitely look nice, with some suitable colors and, well, for the first few levels anyway, making me feel like a crocodile hunter. The problem is flicker – too much of it, in fact. If there’s any more than three sprites on screen, they’ll flicker like crazy. Don’t programmers realize that that’s freaking annoying!? And this isn’t some no-name developer, THIS IS *bleep*ING KONAMI! Shouldn’t they know that flicker is annoying?
Audio: I’ll give this game props for a catchy soundtrack. I can’t get enough of it. It’s a very humworthy soundtrack, almost like they got the people behind the Mega Man soundtracks to help them out. Excellent stuff. Sound effects are nothing to write home about, and one effect in particular sucks. It’s this noise Billy makes when he dies, and since you already know that there’s going to be a lot of dying, this sound will be seared into your eardrums until the day you die. It’ll piss you off to no end, guaranteed.
Replay Value: The only replay value that can come out of this is the want to tell the game to screw it’s own mother for putting you through such torture. Other than that, just stick the cartridge in an oven and watch it melt. No shitty games left behind!
Overall: The Adventures Of Bayou Billy is one adventure not worth embarking on. Frustrating gameplay amongst excruciatingly unforgiving levels makes this game a must-miss, and the only reason it should be played is for curiosity’s sake, to see how far game developers can go as far as frustration is concerned. However, if you don’t want to submit yourself to an insane asylum, I advise that you just pick up a different game (if you’re looking for highly challenging yet highly fun, give Battletoads a call), and give this piece of horse radish the cold shoulder.
Replay Value: 0/10