The Adventures of Bayou Billy – A Beat ‘Em Up Retrospective

In this NES game we play as Billy, obviously, and he’s out to rescue the kidnapped love of your life. Sounds familiar I know, as in every beat ’em up ever made. And for a man who’s dead set on a rescue mission armed with only his fists and his feet, he sure isn’t very effective with them. His attacks hardly faze the enemies. They just continue walking around aimlessly after being hit, still trying to punch Billy.

 

The first level is your standard side scrolling fighting experience. There are a bunch of enemies to get through, and a whole lot of swamp land to slow you down. After killing some gators while trolling through the knee-high water, these guys in scuba suits pop out and shoot at Billy with their handguns. Seems a little over board. What sort of trouble has Billy gotten himself into.

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The second level turns the game into an arcade style shooter that requires the zapper. Which is a nice idea in theory. But if you don’t have one you can’t proceed in the game. At this point the player actually has to restart and pick ‘game b’ so they can use the on screen cross-hairs. But you have to endure the gators, the hillbillies and the scuba-people of the first stage all over again.

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After another bout of fighting there is a driving level thrown in. It’s a novel change of pace. But it should have been left out simply because it sucks. It is long and it’s tedious. If by some miracle we can survive the shooting and the dodging of bombs, all while negotiating the road Outrun style, the game will make us do it again. With harder enemies. Why are these developers so cruel?

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At this point it may sound like Bayou Billy is some variety game, but the brawling happens to be the majority of the style of game play.  And it’s in need of some closer examination. The controls are typical. One button is punch and the other is kick. And pressing both will perform a jump kick. The controls are the same as Double Dragon, but they feel less clunky in Bayou Billy. So there’s a positive. If you are able to grab a weapon you basically keep it until you die. It’s a nice little bonus in an unrelenting difficult game. .

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The story is presented well. It’s brief and still manages to outline Billy’s motivation nicely. And the journey of our beloved Crocodile Dundee of the southern States just makes normal sense. He starts off in the middle of nowhere. Then he drives to the big city. Walks the dangerous streets all the way to the boss’ mansion. He then busts in and takes back his girl. bayoubilly6

But as a whole the game falls short. If it weren’t for the shooting and driving portions, this game would be a 20 minute affair. Thankfully Konami did learn some lessons from this outing. Batman Returns for the Super Nintendo did have a driving stage, but it was much more enjoyable.

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This is a relatively affordable game on Ebay so go ahead and give it a try just remember to choose game ‘b’ if you don’t have a CRT TV.

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