Sunday 11 October 2015

The Adventures of Bayou Billy (NES review)

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Released: 1989

The Adventures of Bayou Billy is an action game that was originally released on the Famicom as Mad City (1988).

Your mission is to rescue your girlfriend Annabelle and the nine stages are spread across multiple genres with the opening being a side-scrolling brawler. Your basic attacks are a kick, a punch and a flying kick but you can pick up weapons such as guns that do more damage. Each enemy takes forever to defeat; by the time you've cleared a wave your life-bar will probably be low and you'll be lucky to find some meat to replenish it. The worst parts are the swamps as alligators need many hits and you're always fighting in tight quarters; annoyingly, if you die you're taken right back to the start of the level! Next is a light-gun stage that uses the NES Zapper and tasks you with killing bad guys before they shoot or throw projectiles. It's a lot of fun with responsive controls and perfect difficulty and it culminates in an awesome boss battle against a helicopter. After more awful beat-em-up areas you'll reach two driving stages where your objective is to reach the end of the course before time runs out. Helicopters and enemy vehicles try to slow you down but you're armed with grenades and bullets to defeat them. Both courses are excellent with a fair time limit and some fast-paced action that tests your reactions and driving skills in a similar fashion to Roadblasters (1990, NES). The game ends with more brawling stages and a brutal battle with the final bosses who can quickly kill you, but take an age to defeat! The presentation values are high with great graphics, voice samples and cut-scenes. The music is outstanding and features sounds I haven't heard before on the NES, such as up-strokes on a guitar.

The Adventures of Bayou Billy has some of the best light-gun action on the NES, fun driving elements but some of the most dreadful beat-em-up stages I've ever played. Unfortunately these take up most of the game's length and their sheer difficulty means that most people probably won't stick around to see what else it has to offer.

Random trivia: The Japanese version (called Mad City) has a lower level of difficulty as well as more health pick-ups and checkpoints.

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