1-2 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Who says Death doesn't bear grudges? In retaliation for getting "Melvined" in the second movie, the Grim Reaper has kidnapped Bill and Ted's girlfriends/ wives/better halves, the Princess Babes. The ladies were smart, though; during their abduction, they scattered sheet music from the band's latest song along the path. Now the two guitarists from San Dimas must follow this musical trail through time and space, and carry out a rescue before the next Wyld Stallyns concert.
BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE on the Atari Lynx is really a combination action/adventure game. As either Bill or Ted, you must follow the time trail in your interdimensional phone booth. Each area is a maze-like scrolling landscape, viewed from an overhead perspective, and protected by roaming creatures. Your basic goal is to collect enough musical notes, which reveals more pages of the phone book, which enables you to travel to other eras. Along the way, you will find objects and meet assorted historic figures, who ask for favors. Help them, and they return your generosity with further aid. For more fun, two players can ComLynx together and go traveling together.
It is the adventure portions of BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE where the game shines. Many of the puzzles must be solved by taking an item from one time period and using it in another. Furthermore, time paradoxes are possible and must be avoided. For example, if you find a note to yourself that a later version of you has written, you must be sure to go and leave that note, in an earlier time period, later in the game, for you to find in the future (get it?). The puzzles are robust and challenging, and solutions rely on finding the right object for the right situation.
Like the movies themselves, this Lynx adventure emphasizes silly fun and non-violence. The guys do not carry weapons, but can subdue certain enemies by playing the right musical instruments. Similarly, Bill and Ted can never die. If you are caught by a creature, you are sent back to an earlier position, no worse for wear. The only problem is that the game can occasionally become tedious. In tight spots, you may need several tries to get pass the random monsters. Since the game can take a long time to finish, a detailed password system is offered. Unlike other Lynx games, this is a true game save feature, encoding your current score, location, and inventory.
The sights and sounds are serviceable, but not much more. Game graphics are done in a recognizable, cartoony style, with a moderate number of animation. There is also good use of color and detail, especially the subtle changes in the same lands across different eras. Sounds are not really needed, but the ones present are basic. Background rock music plays according to your current time period, but if they become irritating, you can shut them off with the Option 2 button.
How you feel about the Bill and Ted movies should not be a factor, as this game is an enjoyable package. It has a fair amount of action with lots of rock-solid puzzle solving, and the addition of time travel offers even more gaming potential. Though the sound and graphics are not extraordinary, in the end BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE earns its name.
GAMEPLAY: 8.5 GRAPHICS: 8 SOUND: 6 OVERALL: 8