Overall Rating: 2/5
In 1989, Konami released a Crocodile Dundee-inspired title for the Nintendo Entertainment System called The Adventures of Bayou Billy. Hyped as a beat-’em-up that also featured driving and shooting segments, it was thick in Louisiana flavor and unrelenting in its action, even receiving some exposure on the promotional cartoon series Captain N: The Game Master.
The plot centered around our protagonist, Billy, going after swamp-mod hoodlums in pursuit of a girl, Annabelle Lee. How did it fare on the 8-bit scene, and why did it appear on Captain N’s show? Let’s dig in and find out.
The backgrounds were snazzy and seemed to be taken right out of New Orleans. The characters themselves were large and fairly detailed, considering the platform. In some areas, though, the Adventures could use improvement. For example, the driving stages had cloddy-looking cars and a clunky method of lobbing grenades at planes (yes, grenades at planes). Other times, the game was susceptible to be choppy and slow when overloaded with action, but otherwise was a passable romp.
The developers clearly wanted an emphasis on the effects, considering the voiceover of the title, The Adventures of Bayou Billy! There were only a scant few other instances of voice work in the game, but for an 8-bit title, any digitized voice work is great. The music was lively and fit the theme, while every hit and blow was keenly effected.
This one tried to set itself up as being revolutionary, since some portions were driving, some were beat-’em-up, and some were shooting; however, in the end, Bayou Billy suffers from the disease of trying too much at once and not doing any of it excellently. Sure, it was okay, but the driving scenes were not as good as Rad Racer, the shooting scenes were not as fun as Hogan’s Alley, and the beat-’em-up scenes were not on the quality tier with Double Dragon II. The developers could have looked to Battletoads for a quality example of how to seamlessly blend different types of experience within the same basic storyline, but Bayou Billy crumbles under its own weight.
And now we come to the reason why this game earned notoriety and an appearance on Captain N: It was overwhelmingly difficult! Rumor has it that the Japanese release was too easy, so for the international version they gave the enemies triple the life energy and lowered the ammo on shooting levels. Despite having practice modes for each of the three types of Bayou Billy levels, the entire ordeal is still excruciating and nightmarish. Only hardcore gamers should bother seeking this one out for its ardent, horrifying difficultly level. All others can safely stay away, leaving this to score a mild two stars out of five.
For a reference on other potentially difficult NES video games, feel free to see: NintendoLegend.com.