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Wonder Boy (Sega Master System) artwork

Wonder Boy (Sega Master System) review


"Wonder boy was one of Segaís primary creations in the mid-eighties just before the emergence of Alex Kidd and the even more popular Sonic the Hedgehog. It spawned about five sequels that started on Segaís 8-bit console and finished on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in the mid-nineties. Itís never been reborn since itís death in 1994 with ďMonster World 4Ē. The games tended to be platform games with some role-playing hints to it but fans remember it for itís sword fights and fantasy where you contro..."



Wonder boy was one of Segaís primary creations in the mid-eighties just before the emergence of Alex Kidd and the even more popular Sonic the Hedgehog. It spawned about five sequels that started on Segaís 8-bit console and finished on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in the mid-nineties. Itís never been reborn since itís death in 1994 with ďMonster World 4Ē. The games tended to be platform games with some role-playing hints to it but fans remember it for itís sword fights and fantasy where you controlled a sword-wielding warrior boy taking on an array of monsters and demons.

The very first game of the series was very different from itís sequels though, mainly because it didnít involve characters like Knights and Dragons that followed the traditional medieval trend but it starred a humble boy in a grass skirt armed with only an unlimited amount of hammers!
Anyway, the story of the game uses the same old story of a bad guy kidnapping some other guys girlfriend, a plot that is so overused nowadays. Anyway, for some reason this evil dark lord with the ability to change heads has kidnapped the Wonder boyís girlfriend and now heís on a quest to get her back. He has to go on a long and dangerous journey through valleyís, forests and caves to rescue his partner and also collect the dolls that seem to resemble his girlfriend in some way. (Maybe heís into voodoo or something). Thatís the story, not very original but still decent enough. Platform games donít need good storylines.

Wonderboy plays like any other platform game except that you have a vitality bar! If you arenít familiar with one of these then Iíll explain it. Basically when you start your vitality bar is full but it will automatically decrease as you go on, even if you donít do anything. Itís like a combination of your health and your time limit. The game itself is hard enough and with a vitality bar it increases the difficulty. You can regain it by collect fruits and vegetables that appear at random points at levels so youíll have to collect them as quickly as you can. Other items in the game include your trusty tomahawk, which you should receive at the beginning of each level and a skateboard (accompanied by a helmet. Safety First!!), which will increase your speed.

Youíll encounter a range of creatures that will thwart your plans, Most of them being the local wildlife such as giant snails, spiders, octopi and giant wasps. Enemies can be fairly easy to kill and most of them will go out with one or two hits, at the most. Different geographical areas will have different enemies, like the desert would have scorpions and the forest would have giant spiders etc. so they all are fairly easy to kill. The bosses, or should I say boss are exactly the same for the whole game except his head will change every time you beat him. At first heís an eagle and then goes on to become a range of ferocious beasts such as a wolf, a troll and Mike Wazowski from ďMonsters Inc.Ē. When you get past the second boss you start to notice a trend in the bosses mainly because they all fight in the same way, except they throw out different fireballs.

Itís weird that when you look at the arcade version of the game youíll notice that this version isnít that far behind it. Most ports from Arcade to consoles look like a downgrade (technically they are a downgrade) for example look at Dynamite Dux and Altered Beast. This game has little difference between both versions, the arcade version is a superior, slightly but they are close. The sprites of the game are bright and very colourful, the boss and his multiple heads are pretty good, some more than others. His eagle head is very well drawn but some of the other ones are really blurry and unfortunately look awful. The smaller sprites of Wonder boy and hid girlfriend look average and are nothing special, not the best I have seen on the system, mainly because the animation of the characters are fairly poor and only there legs move, which looks quite funny but also looks stupid. The backgrounds are also bright and colourful and look pretty good. The forest level for example is quite good because of the clash of colour and brightness. The night levels look quite bright which creates a well-working contrast, the dessert for example looks well done and are coloured superbly. All in all the graphics are good enough and come very close to matching the arcade game.

Anyway, the music of the game is pretty good but the problem is that it is repeated a lot. The first level music is one of those tunes that really gets in your head and stays there. I had a massive gap between playing this game, I originally had it seven years ago and I emulated it a few months ago but the first level theme song could always be remembered if I needed to. In fact altogether I think there are about four different tunes in the entire game. This tends to happen in most 8-bit games so I canít really complain about that but thatís the only problem with the music. The boss music is also quite good because itís slow and dramatic, and sounds really eerie, (in an 8-bit sort of way). The sound effects are nothing special and are not worth mentioning because they have little impact on the overall sound score.

Overall, this game is an arcade classic nowadays and although itís basically Adventure Island with better graphics and some more sprites itís still good. In fact itís miles better than Adventure Island even though they are pretty much the same game but this was the Sega version. I would recommend this game to any avid platform fan and also any game collector. This game has to be considered a classic nowadays especially the Arcade version. One of my favourite platform games of all time and also one the hardest especially on the system. Itís definitely the black sheep of the Wonder Boy series but thatís not a bad thing. (Iíll probably never forget that damn theme tune now.)

Rating: 7/10

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Community review by goldenvortex (June 29, 2004)

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