There are good games, bad games, and then games that you make to make your friends laugh but should never be publicized. I am here to give you the lowdown on such a game; the epic quadrilogy known as The Adventures of Billy the Gnome.
Before we begin, I would like to mention some features that are present throughout the series. You will discover right from the very beginning that the author took his time when creating this masterful saga. The entire collection was made in less than six months, and each game only spans about 10 or 15 minutes. Billy the Gnome games are also apparently not complete without a plethora of spelling and grammatical errors.
You should also understand that the author did not attempt to make the series cosmetically attractive. For example, Billy remains the Hershey kiss / insect hybrid that he is in the first game all the way through the final chapter. The musical selection and placement are terrible, and except for the very last game, expect to run into at least one game breaking bug that forces you to start over.
With all of this in mind, let us take a look at each game in a little more detail.
The game begins with an argument between two kings, Gilbert and Clairamond. Gilbert is apparently cheesed about something, and threatens the other king before he storms off. In his rage, Gilbert decides to swipe up a lone gnome on the way out of Clairamond's chambers. This gnome would prove to be none other than Billy the Gnome.
You wake up on an island with an abundance of smiley-faced creatures. Billy, our heroic Gnome, has finally come to his senses, and immediately wonders where his poodle could be. I know that would be my first reaction if I ever was taken away and placed on a remote island.
This is where you may finally take control of Billy for the first time. The first smiley you encounter tells you that your objective is to defeat King Gilbert and his rat army. Gilbert has apparently taken over the land of FartMcNugen, and being the arthropodic gnome he is, Billy rises to the challenge. He only asks for a food ration, which does absolutely nothing, and goes on his way.
As you cross the treacherous island, you will come across muted smileys and encounter foes that resemble Cool Spot. Fear not, for the 7Up rejects prove no match against a few piles of Billy's vomit. At the end of the island, you will find a scientist, who has conveniently created a portal that can get you to FartMcNugen.
On the other side, you are greeted by a maniacal beaver, who also proves not to be much of a challenge against Billy's heaving abilities. After the bout, you see a castle in the distance, and are given two choices. You can either take the paved road to view more of the beautiful city of FartmcNugen, or, you can take the road less traveled for a more rural setting which leads you to the castle. At the end of the dirt road, you must face a giant creature in order to pass. He is much more difficult than anything you have encountered so far, but you can always run from him.
Upon entering the castle, you will be greeted by the same beaver that tried to kill you earlier. At this point, you may either let him join you or continue on alone. Either way, you will soon uncover a game breaking bug.
Game Breaking Bug!
If you enter the first door, you will be forever trapped inside a small room. Attempts to leave the room will only teleport you to the center of that same room. Sweet!
After using the debugging keys or restarting, you may freely roam the castle once again. Isn't it wild how you fight on dirt inside the castle yet there is nothing inside that even remotely resembles ground or sky tiles? At the end of the keep, you will face Imposter Billy, and finally get a taste of your own disgorgement. To my knowledge, this is the only fight in the castle that has a matching backdrop. After the bout, you can finally go into King Gilbert's chambers.
Upon entering, you will discover that Gilbert is not around. Instead, a smiley has taken the liberty to set up a shop and Inn in his place. Browsing his wares, you will find that you can buy some popcorn that does absolutely nothing, a teddy bear that turns out to be a fish, or rations that are still pointless. You may also sell the key to Gilbert's room for money, or can trade it for a Stickman hero. After making your decision, the smiley believes that Gilbert is hiding in the basement of the castle. If you would rather go back to the island of mute smileys, you may do so by taking the southern exit from Gilbert's room.
In the basement, you are greeted by Retardman, the most vicious enemy you have encountered thus far. After he is vaporized, he leaves a note saying that the rightmost door ahead leads to Gilbert while the other two end the game. It is a tough choice, but hardcore players should press on. Wave goodbye to Retardman and take the right door.
You must travel the long, winding forest in order to reach Gilbert's cottage, which lies at the end. After a brutal battle with Gilbert, you save the kingdom of Fartmcnugen forever.
End of game one...
Billy begins the game by reading a note from your aunt. It says that Uncle Raymond died in a car accident with the giant baby from Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. To your advantage, it seems Raymundo left you nine sprite cans and a bag of jellybeans in his will. Your aunt wants you to come claim your items and also mourn with the rest of the family. After reading the note, you are instantly ported to the outside of your uncle's mansion.
Game Breaking Bug #1!
Upon arriving at your uncle's driveway, walk right to restart the introductory script and discover a secret map where you can wander aimlessly forever!
Inside the mansion, you discover that everyone is missing, including the body of your late uncle. Billy decides it is best to investigate. At this point, you may either go left or right. If you choose to go left, you will discover a key in a bathroom and also...
Game Breaking Bug #2!
After retrieving the key, head back to the main room with the casket. Upon entering the final door before the casket room, Billy will endlessly drop momma jokes and render the door useless. At this point, you may either exit the game or continue fighting the Zombies from Earthbound. You should also make note that Billy did not carry over his emetic combat tactics from the first game. He now relies on beating his foes with his insect-like appendages.
If you chose to go right from the casket room, you will find two doors that obviously cannot be used without the key. Because obtaining the key eternally keeps you in the left wing, this game cannot be finished. Moving on…
Upon loading up the third part of the series, Mario asks if you would like to view the introduction. Viewing it ends the game until…wait! Billy is blasted by some unknown force and is thrown into a cave. You must get Billy out of the cave to play the game!
You will immediately notice the stab at the side-scrolling platform genre. Don't let it fool you yet, as the game still shares the same features from other Billy games that we have all grown to love!
Make your way through the cave, climbing various ladders and avoiding the ghosts as you can. Along the way, look out for two keys and lightning bolt powerups that increase your speed for a short time.
Game Breaking Bug!
If you obtain the second lightning bolt, it will cause Billy to go into a never-ending seizure, forcing you to quit the game.
Billy's final adventure involves finding a bar of soap. You smell like death and need to take a shower. Egad! Someone has stolen your only bar of soap. Who would do such a thing? Bill Cosby is who, and it just so happens he owns a shop down from your house. You take off to investigate.
Upon arriving at the shop, Cosby begs you to buy something, but the only thing he has in stock is Billy's Soap, which costs $32,767. Cosby then admits he stole the soap, and an epic battle commences. If there was any sort of redeeming quality to speak of in the entire series, it would be this battle against Bill Cosby. If you are victorious, Billy gets his soap back and the game is over.
To my surprise I could not break this game for anything. The worst it gets is when you exit Cosby's house and it drops you into Billy's house.
Looking back, I feel that I can draw a few things from my experience with Billy. First, never make a game about a Gnome, ever. If you do, keep it and your inside jokes away from the public. It is also not a good idea, ever, to make four games in less than six months. In the author's defense, the quality of the games did raise slightly with each release (except for part two). This tells me that even those who do not take any time in making a game worthwhile will still improve with time. I would like to end this review with a quote from Bill Cosby. If it wasn't for his legendary battle at the end, I would have had to walk away from this experience with a foul aftertaste.
"You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it."
Thank you, Cosby.