It’s day one of “Classic Games” a tribute to my Top 5 favourite games of all time and I actually thought I’d start with a game that I consider my absolute favourite rather than count down.
Wonder Boy in Monster Land is the follow up to the successful 1986 arcade title Wonder Boy.
It was an action role-playing platform game which was unique for it’s time and developed by Westone Bit Entertainment and released by SEGA for arcade in 1987.
Later in 1988 the game was released for the SEGA Master System and several home computers including the Commodore 64 and Atari ST the former being a terrible port and the latter being the closest thing to the arcade.
(the team at Gaming History Source have done this amazing video comparing all the versions of the game)
Even though the game was only released a year later the story took place 11 years after the first and features a teenage boy called Brock Lee Temjin known as Tom Tom by his friends and after the events of the first game is given the title Wonder Boy. Monster Land see’s our hero setting out to take on the MEKA Dragon and save the land once again.
The idea was to collect gold and treasures to spend on upgrading your weapons and health as you traverse the land opening doors to find new areas, shops and fight the bad guys. One of the extras you could spend your gold on was the wing boots that helped you jump further.
The games mechanic to force you to play quickly was an hourglass that would take away some of your life every time it emptied. It really was so much more than just a platform game. All these elements really gave it a role playing feel.
The end of level bosses were cleverly thought out and based on patterns of movement. For example, the first key to collect is held by a floating “Death” who dives down in a swoop attack.
As a kid I couldn’t wait to visit the local fish and chip shop to play Wonder boy in Monsterland. I’d beg my parents for the 40 cents to play it and when it eventually came to the commodore 64 I saved my pocket money so that I could buy it. Even though the quality was terrible compared to the arcade version I still loved it because it was Wonderboy and I could play it when ever I wanted. I’d played plenty of games prior to this, but this was the first that I truely loved and set up my passion for video games for the future.
Recently a modern version of the 3rd Wonder Boy game was released. The game has amazing HD graphics and beautiful animation. It’s not classic Wonder Boy in Monster Land but it is a fantastic sequel and was a cult classic when it was originally released in 1989. If you never played a Wonder Boy and you want to learn more about it I highly recommend you play this brilliant fan remake. You can even set it to original 8bit mode, but the HD version is just amazing! check it out here: http://www.thedragonstrap.com/