The Adventures of Bayou Billy
Release Date: June 1989
June is Konami month on the NES and the Adventures of Bayou Billy is the second of three games they released. I can just see the schoolyard conversations now… “I just got the Adventures of Bayou Billy!” “What kind of game is that?” “It’s like Double Dragon, Rad Racer, and Operation Wolf all in one! I’m going to be busy all summer long!” Then they come back from summer break… “So, how was Bayou Billy?” “I don’t want to talk about it…”
Bayou Billy is on a mission to rescue his girlfriend Annabelle from Gordon, smuggling king of New Orleans. In order to do this, you need to beat up a bunch of bad guys, get behind the wheel of a Jeep to speed down the winding bayou roads, and blast away at hordes of militants. This is a perfect example of jack of all trades, master of absolutely none of them.
The beat ‘em up sections leave a lot to be desired. At first it gives you some hints of Double Dragon, but those wave bye-bye very quickly. Billy can punch with the B Button, kick with the A Button, and do a jump kick with A+B Buttons. The problem, as with all bad beat ‘em ups, is the enemies take way too many hits to defeat and they don’t react to getting beat up correctly, at all. I’m punching and kicking and they just keep coming. Sell a damn strike! There are weapons that you can pick up, starting with a stick, then a throwing knife, a limited ammo gun, and a really useful whip. While we’re here, when you have to fight gators, just spam punches so you can cancel their attacks, it takes forever, but you’ll get them.
The first-person shooting section is next. You can choose to play these levels with a Zapper or with the controller, just like Track & Field II! Either way, you have a limited amount of ammo to take out all the enemies that jump on screen. There are plenty of drops to help you on your way, including more ammo, first aid kits to replenish help, and screen clearing stars. The end puts you up against a boss in both gun shootin’ levels. These are bullet sponges that you need to just spam attacks into to kill them before they kill you.
The two driving levels are the most egregiously bad sections of this game. You hold up to accelerate and let go or press down to decelerate. You top out at 180 miles per hour, this Jeep must be equipped with jet boosters… The road turns and winds all around with posts on alternating sides of the road. If you run into them, you explode. If you run into a rock, you explode. If you run into an enemy Jeep, you explode. What is this Jeep made of? There’s a timer, so you can’t take it slow and steady. You’re equipped with machine guns to shoot ground enemies and dynamite to shoot down helicopters out of the sky.
Once you beat Gordon and the two heirs to his throne, Annabelle is saved and you win the game. There’s even an ending! I believe this is the first game I’ve run into that has a sound test mode just ready for you on the title screen. You don’t need to unlock it or anything, which is cool. There’s also a practice mode, which allows you to try the three different types of game modes.
The graphics are okay, but there is a lot of sprite flickering, which can conceal items from your view.
I don’t feel the sound is up to Konami standard. They did use the Arm Wrestling grunt from Track & Field II for the boss of level 3.
All three game modes are poorly done. Hit boxes seem off in the beat ‘em up stages. The driving stages are near unplayable. The gun shootin’ stages are poorly paced.
The game’s difficulty comes from the bad gameplay, and can be overcome if you figure out how to cheese the AI.
Fun Factor: 1.0
I would not call this a fun time. It’s a chore to play.
Overall Grade: 1.4
The Adventures of Bayou Billy earns a D+. I feel bad for the kid that got this to occupy them over summer. They probably spent a lot of time outside, because this game sucks.