Adventure is one of Konami's first MSX-compatible computer games, and
despite the ingame 1984 copyright date, is cited as a 1983 release by
both Mobygames and Wikipedia. I played the original Japanese version, as
the level set appears to be different from the European version, and everything I need to read is
in English here anyway.
This feels a lot like Sega's Turbo from 1981, but slower paced (never mind that your penguin waddles across Antarctica's coast at 17km per second), and less abrupt feeling with its graphical transitions. Instead of dodging erratic drivers, you dodge stationary holes in the ice.
Adventure looks really nice for a computer game of its era, with a
somewhat convincing 3D perspective and a well animated penguin, but two
gameplay problems hurt it. First, it's repetitive, even for an
arcade-style game. You have holes. You have crevasses, which always
spawn in front of you, usually forcing you to jump over them. You can
collect flags and mackerels for points. You have those damned seals that
always pop out of holes at the last second before you slam into them at
mach 50. That's it - there's only so much you can do with this toolset.
And the whole time, you're listening to a 30-second muzak clip on
Second, much like
in Turbo, crashes feel unavoidable. Even though the pits and crevasses
are stationary, the draw distance is poor enough and hitboxes sketchy
enough to be a problem at any decent speed. Too often, the penguin would
stumble over hole that looked to be nowhere near his feet, or be forced
to jump over a crevasse at full speed, only to land in another that
popped-in before there was time to adjust speed, or to smack into a seal
that popped-out mid jump when it was too late to change course. You
could always run slower, but you'd have to be moving pretty slowly to
ensure that you can react to everything, so I found it better to run at
top speed most of the time.
At the very least, the time limit is pretty generous, and despite bumping into things all the time, I had little trouble clearing the first nine levels. The final level, though, is a beast, twice as long as any other, and dense with hazards. Finishing that one took several tries and I had to mostly abandon the point-scoring pickups, which usually spawned too far out of my way. Real mastery of the game, one suspects, would involve memorizing each course, knowing exactly when and where you'd need to slow down and exactly how much, and where to position yourself so that you can dodge or jump every hazard and collect every flag and fish.
GAB rating: Average.
Antarctic Adventure is an inoffensive, pleasant looking bit of
arcade-style fun, and only overstays its welcome a little, but like
many arcade games, the lasting value isn't there. After beating the
tenth level, the game loops back to stage 1, and after accomplishing
this (and recording the video of it correctly) I just didn't feel like
playing any more.