Overall Rating: 0.5/5 Stars
Gilligan’s Island was a popular television show for a few seasons in the 1960’s with a classic theme song about a group of castaways on a desert island following a tour boat shipwreck. Gilligan is the clumsy goofball character, whereas Skipper is the gruff captain, and other supporting characters appear as well, including a wealthy couple and the Professor, who was notoriously resourceful in being able to, for example, construct a radio entirely out of coconuts and bamboo.
In 1990, Bandai published a video game version of the media license, as released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. The player controls the Skipper, who is constantly followed around by klutzy Gilligan, and the pair must survive a series of four episodes before finally getting off the island.
This game sucks.
Here are some flaws: A third of the screen is perpetually taken up by a large black bar for text, including incessant babble between Skipper and Gilligan; the entire game is one of those unenjoyable “search for random crap in a maze” types of item-finding monotonous garbage; Skipper is attacked by jungle animals from the get-go but does not gain a decent weapon until later in the first stage; despite it perhaps serving as an accurate portrayal of his accident-prone nature on the show, Gilligan aggravatingly gets hit by obstacles and falls down holes, despite the game making it necessary for him to keep up with Skipper; much like Milon’s Secret Castle, without resorting to an online FAQ, it is ridiculously unintuitive to try and figure out exactly in what order the player must talk to each character, find each necessary item, execute certain actions, and go to certain locations; of all the possible franchises to choose to create a video game from, the Gilligan’s Island television show is truly a baffling choice; like other NES titles Platoon and Friday the 13th, the player is immediately faced with choices in an outdoor setting that he or she can either travel left, right, upward, or downward onto different confusingly branching paths; and, last but definitely not least, the entire experience is on a stringent time limit.
The flaws themselves demand an entire article of their own which in any case is regular for Gameplay. A travesty that is best forgotten and one might buy pokemon go accounts than engage into this.
Rather than enter into rich detail concerning the mind-boggling design choices the developers put into this video “game,” allow this reviewer to simply review one example: In the first episode, there is a large ape that has confiscated a necessary item. In order to defeat it, the Skipper must first get a club as a weapon. Now, carefully consider this: Rather than allow the player to immediately be able to search for the ape, defeat it, and transfer the necessary item to its goal character, this game instead intentionally makes the player embark on a side quest that consists of satisfying the club-providing character, purely for the privilege of finally gaining a weapon to fight with. In any video game that is actually worth playing, the whole entire needless mind-numbing chain of item-trading, maze-navigating, and character-finding all just for the sake of finding a weapon to defeat a foe just to start the entire vicious cycle over again for another round would have been simply and elegantly circumvented to allow the player to just start with the stupid club and at least skip one of the mad trading cycles in exchange for some actual action, even if that itself only births another dumb trading/searching/running-around-crazy cycle. This game is stupid.
The game looks okay, with all the trees and animated quicksand effects and an appropriate paunch on the Skipper. There are colors, there is animation with little flickering, and the text is legible. None of the visuals, however, make up for the utterly abyssmal gameplay. This is a boring, irrational NES video game.
Once the game begins, the background music is actually pleasant, and could have made a fond appearance on a title such as a JRPG or whimsical adventure quest. But, no, it is stuck in this wretched pile of poop posing as a cartridge. The sound effects are okay. It is tiring to write about this bad game.
This “video game” manages to accomplish an astounding feat: While the NES hosted a vast array of bad license games, Gilligan’s Island has the dubious distinction of not only being a horrible license game, but based off a bad license to begin with. Many of the 8-bit license games were at least based on action movies or comic book characters; but, no, in Gilligan’s Island’s case, the game is based off of an already-inane television series. The final kicker: The full title of the game is “Adventures of Gilligan’s Island,” a wordy, contrived, foolish name for a game, that even has the awkward grammar that implies that the island itself is having adventures. Perhaps that is, in the end, the point: The island is laughing at how brainless the shipwrecked victims are. This Hell-awful title gets a pitiful half star out of five.