The Wonder Boy series is possibly the most iconic series to come from the Master System library. It is a classic for myself as I had so much fun and enjoyment playing through the Wonder Boy titles. A lot would say it’s a cult-classic, and thankfully it’s a franchise that hasn’t had a dip in the quality of titles.  A comeback was due and thankfully Lizardcube teamed up with DotEmu to bring this classic title back from 1989 to 2017. Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap put the “Metroid” genre on the map and offered a pretty in-depth gameplay experience for its time, and it still holds up today. Wonder Boy focuses on a human boy on a quest to vanquish the Meka Dragon. Once defeated, it casts a curse on our protagonist, turning him into to a half-man, half-dragon. Sounds cool? It is cool, and as your journey continues the game adopts a non-linear structure in which you explore Monster Land.

In this re-imagining you can also choose to play as Wonder Girl, which is a great feature to be included.  Those that may or may not have played Wonder Boy before, there is lot to explore and lots of doors to open on your quest. Unlocking new areas as you progress offers a nice sense of depth and variety in gameplay. Unlocking new areas and having the ability to transform into more creatures as you progress is a great element that offers a unique experience for each character/form you unlock. Finding new forms will also allow access to various areas which will be unobtainable with other characters, keeping in line that each character has its purpose. As an example, you can transform into a mouse, the mouse has the ability to walk on any surface, meaning you can defy gravity by walking on blocks that wouldn’t be accessible.

Those that have played the title before will remember this, but for those new to the series or the title, it’s something to remember. Different characters open up different opportunities and more variety in gameplay. This remake will be clear to those that played the original how much of a drastic upscale the presentation has had. It looks beautiful, the hand drawn graphics and animations are truly some of the best I have seen in a 2D/3D platformer.

It really is a colourful masterpiece in regards to design. It’s amazing the amount of detail Lizardcube have put into the title and have given the fans the best fan service possible. A feature that I think is fantastic is the ability to switch between the modern graphical iteration to the 1989 original. Just a tap of the L trigger on the Xbox or the L2 button on the PS4 and you will switch back to the original graphics of Wonder Boy. It’s amazing to see how far the title has come, especially in motion, seeing where backgrounds had solid colours to backgrounds that have great detail.

Just like everything else the music has been totally re-imagined, Tenacious D haven’t created the theme however. The soundtrack that has been recreated accompanies the atmospheric feel of the game perfectly, the sound effects have had a massive overhaul and work so gracefully. It really is remarkable how much of an upgrade the title has had and how much it offers for past and future players. It feels nostalgic and fresh at the same time. There were many moments where I just had to put the controller down and leave our hero standing there just so I could embrace the soundtrack and look. It’s beautifully put together.

The one criticism I have, and it’s the only criticism, is that some of the art style can cause an issue in regards to thinking an object would be accessible, but due to the design you can’t access a certain area. It’s very minor and only occurs a few times and isn’t something I would say ruins the experience, just a minor oversight with the hand drawn art style. Lizardcube have done something that is more impressive and that is keeping the core game the same as the original. Everything in the original has been left untouched, other than the design and sound being re-imagined. It feels and plays just like it would have on the Master System, especially with the ability to switch between the two you are essentially getting two games in one. The world is still great to explore with secrets to be found. The platforming segments are great but do have a bit of a learning curve due to the characters motion moving a lot quicker than the original.

A game franchise that may have been left sitting in back in 1989 has come back in great style with such grace, it’s a franchise I’d like to see more of. It’s a title that offers around 5 hours of gameplay, depending on the difficulty you play, providing enough challenge on normal or hard. It is a great title for those that have played the original and for those that are looking for an action-rpg title that’s not heavy on the RPG and focuses more on the action. This is a title i recommend to those that are looking to experience a title that offers platforming segments, action with fluid combat and very little RPG elements. If you are looking for anything more in-depth, it may not be the title for you. No matter how many times I play, I will forever ask…Wonder Boy, what is the secret of your power?



Author

Daniel Pepper
Daniel Pepper

Daniel is the founder and creator of PushStartPlay.com The website launched on February 20th 2010 and was created due to his passion with video games. Daniel's favourite games are BioShock, The Legend Of Zelda A Link To The Past, Uncharted 2 and The Last Of Us.