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Hacked Rom Reviews!

Wilford Island
-a rom hack of "Adventure Island" for the NES-
review by: Dr. Boogie

Wilford Brimley. What can I say about this man, NO, this legend? Lover of oats, patron saint of the Quakers, diabetic old-timer, he is more than just these things. His fame and cult status has even transferred into the festering world of rom hacking. In the past, we've brought you such classics as Wilford Brimley Battle, and Wilford Kong. Now, I have the distinct… something, of presenting you with the cult figure's latest venture, Wilford Island.

The whole island smells like old people.

This particular hack was done by Pope Hentai, the same die-hard Brimley fan who cranked out the Wilford Brimley Battle hack. This time around, he's laid his grubby mitts on the popular deserted island simulation, Adventure Island. As Wilford Brimley, you'll be trekking across the isle in pursuit of the witch doctor who stole something even more precious than your girlfriend: your oats.

Oh what oaty fun we have to look forward to!

You'll still be collecting fruit along the way in order to keep yourself going, though. Man cannot live on fiber alone. However, you'll be facing all new perils that the hero from the original game could never overcome. Also, you'll occasionally lay an egg or two just like in the original. I don't know if that's supposed to be a product of the all-fruit diet or what.

Move those crazy legs!

There he is, in all his smooth-chested glory. Perhaps this is supposed to be the Wilford of years long past, back when he was a virile young man. I think it's a fair likeness; the smile that warms the hearts of children everywhere, the alert eyes scanning the horizon for danger, the scrabbling feet anxious to meet the next challenge, it's all indicative of the oatmeal-loving man in question. Plus, no feathered hair and ballcap like the original protagonist.


Just as Mario wielded a giant spoon against Wilford, so must Wilford hurl a spoonful of oats at his enemies. Granted, if he were indeed after a witch doctor who stole his oats, it doesn't make much sense for him to be tossing his emergency stash away by the spoonful. Whatever the reason, the giant spoon, or the oats, or perhaps the combination of the two, proves a sufficient deterrent to even the most stalwart of foes.

And speaking of foes, let's take a look at what Pope Hentai's done with the original cast of wild animals and dangerous mollusks:

It's gonna chip the bowl.

The first step towards becoming the number one breakfast choice is eliminating the competition. To that end, Wilford will be facing down a number of rival cereals, all of which come with a self-stirring spoon. They're still beta testing it, though, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to scoop out the heathen grains and sugars with your old-fashion analogue spoon, just as God intended it.

Oh yeah!

And it's not just the cereal itself that you'll need to overcome. These mascots are no pushovers. Your regular spoon will simply bounce right off of them. Fortunately, Brimley is a sprightly old-timer, and hopping over giant shredded wheat is no problem for him. Luckily for him, anthropomorphic mascots are exceptionally stupid. Why do you think the Kool-Aid Man was always busting through walls?

Don't hurt me! I have no neck!

This guy was just a little confusing. I guess he escaped from the Wilford Brimley Battle hack, and was hoping to find some peace and quiet on the island. Well, no such luck. His stubby arms and fish-like complexion are no match for an expertly-aimed spoon. Pay no attention to the fact that he's shaking. I'd be scared too if a shirtless Wilford Brimley was coming at me.

Hmm, smooth skin, or flight...

There's even been some mechanized units deployed against the Oatmeal Champion. At first, I wasn't exactly sure what these things were supposed to be, but then, it became all too clear: They're the latest incarnation of the California Raisins. Instead of singing about what was heard through a vine full of their healthy, unshriveled brethren, they've developed airborne capabilities and an attitude born from years of sharing the spotlight with those Quakers and their oats. Their evil grins and soulless eyes may drive you insane and leave you helpless against their whirling rotors.

Separated at birth?

Here's where we start to see the typical rom hacker laziness start to creep in. Those first few levels were magical, and the author got a chance to apply all his great ideas to the game. Now, though, several levels have passed, and this whole experience is starting to feel more like a chore. Eventually, just like the saying, the hacker quits when it stops being fun, and that's when you start getting stuff like smiley faces. Still, it is better than penises and swastikas.

How'd an almond get in there?

I'll admit that I have seen those giant Hershey's Kisses before, but I've never seen any that would leap at you if you got too close. Not sure what Hershey's beef with Brimley is, but I'm sure it's a good'un. One doesn't create a line of jumping chocolates over something minor. Maybe Brimley coined the phrase "Hershey Highway."


One of the ghosts from Pacman. Not much to see here, either. It's a good thing that this particular ghost is blue, though. Otherwise, ol' Brimley would have no chance of defeating it. Why, he'd have to hope that one of the eggs he laid contained a power pellet… if you know what I mean.

Native American and African American varieties.

Of course, even the most competent rom hackers have to pay homage to the rom hacking tradition. Just as the Evil Dead hack contained a single reference to fellatio, Wilford Island has these: black and red babies. To be fair, it's possible that I'm just assuming the worst, that these are supposed to be some kind of tribute to the rom hacking tradition of racism. Then again, I've never heard of the stereotype that black infants can spring out of the water like dolphins. Maybe that's something they learned from the red babies.

The really white meat.

This was a particularly unusual enemy. I gave the hacker points for originality for concocting the bikini-wearing pig. However, it was not until much later that I learned the pig was actually in the original. Adventure Island is quite a difficult game, you see, but thanks to the miracle of the save state, I am now able to share such delightful tidbits as the beach-going swine with you, my gentle audience.

Pope Hentai also took the liberty of Quaker-ing up the couple of power-ups in the game.

Avenge me!

You can boost your end of the level "oat fiber" bonus by grabbing the grinning Quaker head. I thought it was a bit much to include the cutaway portion of the neck and spine on the Quaker's head. Hopefully, Wilford is just going to give the severed head a decent burial. Then again, the fiber bonus suggests that he has something more sinister in mind. Soylent Oats, anyone?

A strange guardian angel.

On occasion, you may be lucky enough to find an egg that will loose the flying Quaker head, a second and far less intimidating disembodied head than the one which gives you extra fiber. With it, you will have all the powers of the Society of Friends, including, but not limited to, immunity to fire and pointy rocks. The lover of the Quaker community is fleeting, however, and the jaunty head will only protect for a short while as a reward for freeing him from his yolky prison.

Despite the embarrassing smiles and colored babies, the hacker shows that he didn't give up completely by providing several unique designs of the witch doctor's head.

He knows how to get ahead in life! *groaning* *booing*

Each time you beat the witch doctor, his head would detach from his body, transform into a new head, and fly off. I suspect that the two heads that look like animals may have been in the original, but that game is very long and aggravating, and I had my fill of it from playing the hack. If you should find out the truth yourself, give yourself a hearty slap on the back for me.

Once you defeat the witch doctor for the eighth and final time, you'll finally get your well-deserved reward:

It tastes like... Victory.

Ah, so that's why Brimley was collecting all that fruit. That sly dog. I wonder where he was keeping all that fruit in his measly loincloth. Oh well, the last thing I need to see in this rom hack is any penis, let alone Wilford Brimley's. And so, until next time, remember that being creative is more than just taking the hard work of dozens of artists, programmers, and writers, and filling it with racism and bizarre symbolism.

I feel so young!
Dr. Boogie

*** You too can play Wilford Island! ***



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