Penguin Adventure is a platformer/arcade game developed and published by Konami for MSX in 1986 as a sequel to Antarctic Adventure.
The game was designed by Ryouhei Shogaki, but one of the assistant designers was a young Hideo Kojima, who would later create the Metal Gear series, becoming one of the most famous game designers.
In Penguin Adventure, you assume the role of Penta, a penguin on a quest to save his girlfriend, Penguette, who has fallen seriously ill. To save her, Penta embarks on a perilous journey through various environments, including icy caves, treacherous mountains, and underwater caverns.
Penguin Adventure gameplay
The gameplay combines elements of platforming, action-adventure, RPG, and racing. In fact, at first sight, the game looks like a racing game, with the hero at the bottom and the road moving towards you. It also resembles endless run games, such as Subway Surfers or Temple Run. But in reality, it's more than an endless run. Penta can move left and right, jump, and use a weapon to defeat enemies and break obstacles. The game features various power-ups and items that enhance Penta's abilities. For example, he transforms into a more agile and faster bird and eventually gains the ability to fly.
There are also some RPG elements! By collecting fish, you will have a treasure you can use to purchase items at the shops, like gadgets and weapons. They will be helpful because you will have to face end-of-level bosses. You will find three different shops during the game, managed by fishermen.
Even more interesting is the fact that the game includes shortcuts, mini-games, and even different endings. It is a depth you would not expect from this kind of game.
Graphics and Sounds
The game's graphics, while limited by the MSX hardware capabilities, are well-crafted and charming. Penta is animated with personality, and the game's environments are distinct and imaginative. There are several environments: ice levels, water-based levels, and caves; each one is different. You will also find some outer-space bonus levels.
The music and sound effects, though simple, contribute to the overall atmosphere of the game. Each level has a different music. There are also a lot of different sound effects complementing all the hero's actions. You can see the team puts a lot of effort into this little game. It's 8-bit at its best.
Upon release, Penguin Adventure received positive reviews and became a classic title for the MSX platform. It was praised for its engaging gameplay, charming characters, and challenging levels. Some people say the experience made in this game influenced some of the decisions taken by Hideo Kojima during the development of Metal Gear Solid. Who knows.
Penguin Adventure is the type of hidden gem that we like to re-discover at GamesNostalgia, and it is undoubtedly worth playing to experience a piece of gaming history. Download our ready-to-play wrapper, and have fun!