Bible Adventures is an unlicensed Christian NES games released by Wisdom Tree in 1991. The game was never officially released through Nintendo, but was in fact purely sold in Christian bookstores. The interesting thing is that the 3 games within the cartridge are based upon 3 different stores taken from the Bible. The cartridge is quite interesting because it bypasses the software that Nintendo uses to lock out unlicensed cartridges, however the cartridge emits a voltage spike to the NES meaning that it bypasses the software perfectly.
Bible Adventures was released at a time where Nintendo was trying to stop small independent developers making games for the NES without Nintendo’s permission. There are many publishers and developers such as Color Dreams (who became Wisdom Tree) and American Video Entertainment that developed games for the NES. In 1991 Nintendo sued American Video Entertainment for $105 million in damages in an antitrust lawsuit. However, Color Dreams and Wisdom Tree weren’t sued at all whilst they made this unlicensed games and they even made an unlicensed SNES game by the name of Super Noah’s Ark 3D, which supposedly ID Games who made Wolfenstein gave Wisdom Tree the source code to make a joke game as a protest against Nintendo’s censorship rules.
Bible Adventures interprets three different stories from the Old Testament through three separate games on the same cartridge. The first one is Noah’s Ark where Noah is trying to rescue two of each animal, one male and one female. Baby Moses is about Mary escaping and trying to stop Moses being thrown in the river. Finally David and Goliath is about young David facing the giant Goliath.
Some credit has to be given to the developers for at least trying to integrate some of the Bible stories into Bible Adventures, however I feel that the stories that the developers chose on their own don’t really have enough depth or enough to them to grant games. There are quite a lot of stories in the Bible that the developers could have chosen from, which would have made potentially solid games. Also, after the opening scroll of text at the beginning of each game, there is no mention of the story ever again until the final cutscene of each game and sometimes the cutscenes are cut short and the story is never finished. I just feel that the developers just used the story as a background and a purpose to each game, but not enough detail is mentioned in each game and it makes the story feel shoehorned in.
The gameplay of Bible Adventures is perhaps some of the worst gameplay I have ever played across all areas of the game. The first place to start with is the controls, which feel like the player is constantly on ice. The controls also have a sizeable amount of lag, meaning that making any sort of precise and accurate jump is almost impossible without practice. The other issue with the controls is that it is quite difficult to judge how long the player will need to press the jump button because it feels like there are 2 extremes, small and full jump. This really makes the platforming of the game, which is the main focus of the game annoying and frustrating.
The next issue is with the graphics, which just look bland, rushed and extremely uninspired. It looks like the developers just took some stock NES backgrounds and decided that it was good enough for the purpose, however the background just look plain dull. If there was more effort put into the backgrounds of the games, then I could see the game being somewhat more remembered for a game that looked good but didn’t control well.
The next issue I have with the game is the fact that the difficulty of the game and how the player recovers life. The difficulty of the game is completely unfair and there are some points in the game where the player has to make a blind jump and if the player is just short, it would be back to the beginning of the stage. In a couple of the games, there is no explanation from the game to the player about what the game is expecting the player to do, meaning that the unless the player reads the wall of text and understands it, then there is nothing for the player to work on.
The way that the player recovers life is by finding stone tablets throughout the levels and it comes up with a Bible passage. This in theory should be a cool idea, however I feel that it shoehorns the Biblical aspect of the game and forces it upon the player. Also, there are not that many different Bible verses and the player might end up reading the same verses over and over again to not lose a life. There are too many of these stone tablets throughout the levels as well, meaning that the player should not run out of hits easily.
The final issue I have with the game is that there is some variety in the games, but nowhere near enough to keep the player interested. The games are also all pretty boring and do not do anything that really keeps the player interested. The game just feels boring, annoying and unfairly tough on new players.
The music in this game is perhaps some of the worst sounding music I have ever heard in a video games. The music loops after 15 seconds and the track is exactly the same track across all 3 games. It feels like a complete afterthought or something that is stock and doesn’t have anything memorable at all. After a while, the music feels like a drone and it sounds monotonous. This is the sort of game where having some background music on whilst playing will make it a little bit more bearable.
Bible Adventures overall is quite a bad game with pretty much everything about it being negative. The controls feel really awkward and the 3 separate games don’t do very much different from one and another. The music is really grating and the way that the Biblical references are shoehorned feels really annoying and almost like another excuse to put more Bible themed sprites in the game. The only positive is that at least the developers tried to have some Biblical things and tried to make a Christmas themed game, but it falls flat in so many ways.
Copyright ©2016 Liam Piper. All Images Used Under Fair Use