Bill & Ted?s Excellent Video Game Adventure - LJN
For the Nintendo Entertainment System ($47.95)

A Review by Howard H. Wen

This latest offering from movie-licensing happy LJN is its second based on a motion picture with a vg&ce0991a.jpg (44581 bytes)time-traveling storyline.  Its first, Back to the Future Part 11 & III, proved that a movie-inspired video-game's game play didn't have to be derived from the actual film itself - simply create another scrolling game for the player's enjoyment.

This time around, LJN redeems itself somewhat by sticking to the premise of the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure movie - two 'valley dudes' who travel through time in a telephone booth and kidnap famous folks throughout history.  In the game, Bill and Ted have to find the likes of Cleopatra, Rembrandt and Elvis and bring them back to the time from whence they originally came.

Rebels from the future world of Bill and Ted's time guardian, Rufus, have kidnapped these historically significant people and scattered them over five time periods.  Everyone must be returnedvg&ce0991b.jpg (78517 bytes) to where he or she belongs, or else the future in which Bill and Ted are demigods won't ever exist.  The fact that their music has helped to bring about world harmony and the perfect alignment of the planets will never occur.

Undoing the rebels' admirable efforts, you play both Bill and Ted through six levels.  In each one, you must talk with locals to got clues and items to help in your search.  First, you have to find an object ('historical bait') that is used to lure the legendary figure once you find him or her.  Without this item, the person won't go back home with you.

You alternate between the two characters throughout the six levels.  At the end of every level, a password is given to continue, and Bill and Ted hold a concert.  The higher the level completed, the bigger and better their performance becomes.

Buildings to enter in each of the five time periods often will present Bill or Ted somebody inside to talk to.  You select Bill's or Ted's response from three choices.  If what you make Bill or Ted say pleases the person being spoken to, a clue will be given.  If, on the other hand, you irk him or her, the locals outside might turn aggressive and throw you in jail if they catch you.

vg&ce0991c.jpg (53086 bytes)To fend off attacking folks, you can throw a 'good stuff' object.  Dropping a pudding cup will attract the people to it.  A boom box entices them to dance.  A firecracker will blow up unfortunates within its vicinity, but dropping a history text-book will cause everybody on the screen to disappear as they are wiped out of existence.

Other objects to note are the horses and canoes that Bill and Ted can ride and certain areas in buildings that allow them to warp from one place to another.  Oddly, the time machine phone booth is always conveniently available and is listed in the inventory screen.  (Bill and Ted carry it with them all the time?)  Telephone numbers of historical figures are dialed to get to where a person is.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure clearly fits into the adventure-gaming category.  Thevg&ce0991d.jpg (80739 bytes) 3-D perspective graphics are good, but - sin of all video-game sins - actual game play is dull.  All you are ever really doing is searching, searching and searching.  You search for clues to search for historical bait and people.  You ride horses and canoes to get to areas to search.  Conflicts are there to simply put you on the defensive.

The selecting of different responses when conversing with people is unique but hardly necessary.  Usually one of the three responses is the only important thing you need to say.  The other two either vg&ce0991e.jpg (40525 bytes)tick them off or cause them to tell you to get lost, whereupon the townsfolk outside take to beating on you and then throw you in jail.  It's also aggravating to select the wrong bait once you locate a historical person.  Again, you'll be thrown in jail and have to start your search for that person all over again.  There's a lesson to be learned here: When traveling through time, don't make people mad by talking like an idiot or giving them inappropriate gifts.  You'll be thrown in jail.

The verbose Bill and Ted themselves would likely describe this adventure of theirs as being 'bogus,' but what we get can be best called average.  Try before you buy, most triumphant dudes.


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