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Adventures of Tom Sawyer





Genre: Platform

Publisher: Seta

Total time played: 3 Hours

Short review: A very simple platform game with horrible graphics, one hit deaths, no link to the reference material and no depth.

Interesting links related to Adventures of Tom Sawyer

My First Time

The summer when I was 15 years old I set a goal to beat every NES game I owned. I decided I would beat games in alphabetical order. The first game alphabetically that I owned at the time was Adventure of Tom Sawyer.

My brothers friend Eric game me this game (per notes on an old spreadsheet I found). But, I never remember any of my other friends owning it, mentioning it or even seeing it at the video store. I’m pretty sure Seta decided to make the game in hopes that parents would buy it since it was based on a classic novel it must be an educational game.

I was less patient at 15 than I am now. I played the game for 10 minutes and decided it was too hard because I couldn’t even beat the first stage. The graphics were awful and even though the controls were fine, the one hit kills made it not worth playing. I ended up shelving the game and my dream of alphabetically beating every game and went back to playing Final Fantasy VII and Bottom of the Ninth ’97 on Playstation 1.

20 Years Later

I’m not sure why I decided to give this game another shot. I don’t really have a rhyme or reason for the order I’m playing these games. I apparently am much more patient now than I was back then because very quickly I was able to learn the enemy patterns and slowly progress my way through all the stages.

As I got deeper into the game I noticed some weird inconsistencies. The first stage has horribly plain graphics but the last stage looks like a decent NES game and most of the bosses are pretty impressive looking.

I also expected at some point for there to be a bonus game or a secret hidden in a stage but I never found it.


Graphics don’t get much more plain that this.

Source Material

If I have ever read Adventures of Tom Sawyer I don’t remember it. I’ve seen the movie with Jonathan Taylor Thomas (or was that Huck Finn?). Even though I haven’t read the book I am familiar with the source material because it is almost common knowledge.

The games stages put you on a pirate ship, rafting down the river, in the clouds, in a cave and even a haunted mansion. There is decent variety in level design but the graphics just are never impressive.


The enemies throughout the game feature pirates, lobsters, a giant crocodile, bats, birds, a giant mouse, a giant octopus, a pink gorilla, flying fire breathing dragons and an Indian on a dinosaur. I’m 100% positive the book featured none of that nonsense.

toms-1.gif?w=150&h=131 tomsawyer2-1.gif?w=150&h=136 nes_adventures_of_tom_sawyer_gameplay-sc


How to Play

The controls are simple, A jumps and B throws rocks in a small arc.

Throughout the level you can either jump over enemies or hit them with a rock. With the exception of the mini-bosses and the end of stage bosses every single enemy is killed with one hit.

There are 3 item drops that are possible when you kill an enemy:

A square block with a T in it – If you collect enough of these I think you get an extra man, I never collected enough. But, as the game has unlimited continues and the levels are pretty short I never missed the extra lives.

A square block with a skull in it – This takes your T count back down to 0. Again, not a big deal.

Slingshot – The slingshot gives you a short window where your projectiles are fired straight out in front of you instead of in an arc. Since every enemy dies with one hit and you get used to the arc shot that you have it most of the time there was really no advantage to this.

Final Thoughts

The game is very frustrating but the enemies spawn in exactly the same place every time allowing you to beat the game by memorizing the levels. Since there is hardly any depth and pretty ugly graphics there aren’t many reasons to play the game. However, the controls are pretty tight so it isn’t as bad as some other games on the system. I doubt there is a game based on an intellectual property that has less to do with the source material though.Adventures of Tom Sawyer.JPG

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