This probably doesn't count as an RPG, though it's a sight more elaborate than
most action games. However, it certainly is a lost gem from the vaults of the SNES.
Adventure Island used to be one of the most prolific franchises around; there were
six games for the NES, if I recall correctly - as many as Mega Man - and two for
the SNES. This is the second of those, and the last one; the series has never been
restarted from here. Judging by this game, it's really a pity - Super Adventure
Island 2 showed, surprisingly, that the series had a lot more to offer.
Alright, alright, so the plot is bare-bones at best, and the main character is
a tubbier clone of Mario. That's not the point. Metroid relied on its swampy ambience
to captivate the player - Super Adventure Island 2 has purely charming fun. It's
very charming and very fun, though, and far more complex than most action games;
there's quite a lot of revisiting stages, maze exploration, switch pushing, and so
forth. It's nothing spectacular, but it's just enough challenge to not insult one's
intelligence and to draw one into the action instead - it inspires the perfect
amount of involvement needed to dig the colourful stages, search out all the various
armour and weapons (there's plenty of both, actually), and battle the goofy enemies.
I have no simple explanation as to why this game is very good. It's fairly superficial,
certainly. But it's also very unpretentious and unassuming, it doesn't demand a whole lot
of time, it goes very fast, and most importantly, the charm is genuine.
Whoever made this game certainly enjoyed every minute of it. This enjoyment is highly
contagious, and that makes for a game that outclasses by far many a plodding RPG. And
better yet, it even has a very good soundtrack - this is the only game in which I have
seen a funk track. Yes, a funk track. Need I say more?