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Wonder Boy in Monster Land

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Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Super Wonder Boy in Monster World in the Japanese Sega Master System version, also known as Super Monster World: Super Wonder Boy in some North American versions and Super Wonder Boy in Monsterland for the Activision conversions) is a 1987 arcade game developed by WestOne Bit Entertainment and published by Sega. It is the sequel to the 1986 game Wonder Boy. The Sega Master System version was re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in North America on January 26, 2009 at a cost of 500 Wii Points.[2]

Gameplay

File:Wonder Boy in Monsterland.png

The game marked a drastic change in the way the Wonder Boy series evolved. First, the prehistoric setting that was prevalent in the original game was gone, replaced by a medieval fantasy world. Secondly, the game introduced a number of RPG elements that were unheard of in the first title.

Wonder Boy begins as per the original game—a blonde haired boy wearing a loincloth. Very soon, however, he is equipped with a sword, which is his primary weapon for defeating the opponents that he will encounter. As with the first game, the aim is to get from point A to point B. Unlike the first game, the levels no longer run strictly from left to right—it is possible to move everywhere on the map, and some levels can be rather labyrinthine.

Also new to the game is a trading system. Money is obtained by killing enemies or jumping in specific locations to free coins. This money can be spent to obtain boots (which permit Wonder Boy to run swifter and jump higher), armor (protecting Wonder Boy from various degrees of damage), a shield (which can be used to deflect some projectiles fired by opponents), as well as magic spells and healing potions. There are also inns where the player can obtain useful information for a fee, as well as a drink to replenish a small amount of energy.

The exit to most levels are only accessible by means of a key which is obtained by defeating a boss character somewhere in the level.

Wonder Boy in Monster Land is by far the most difficult title in the Wonder Boy series because there is no continue system nor is there a password system available for its console system versions. For the arcade version, there is no continue system on the final level. The presence of an on-screen hourglass timer limiting the number of minutes a player can stay in a level also adds to the difficulty of the game.

Conversions

As with the original game, Monster Land was ported to the Sega Master System by Sega and to the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC by Activision. It was the first title in the series to be ported to the 16-bit generation of computers and consoles, with versions available for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, also programmed by Images, Inc. and released by Activision. The Activision titles were released under the name Super Wonder Boy In Monster Land.

The Master System version contained fewer variations on the music than in the arcade version, and the ZX Spectrum conversion had no music. Most of the conversions were otherwise identical in terms of content to the arcade original, with graphics adjusted to allow for each of the systems' respective capabilities. A notable difference in the Master System version was the addition of an optional boss called "Mr. Wizard."

In 2005 Hudson Soft announced the development of Super Adventure Island for mobile devices. Super Adventure Island should not be confused with the game of the same name for the SNES; the mobile version being a slight remake of Wonder Boy in Monster Land.

Clones

The game has been cloned, hacked and remarketed a number of times over the years - with varying degrees of legality.

The PC Engine saw a conversion of the game in the form of Bikkuriman World, with changes made to the characters to conform to what was then a popular anime series. This version was handled by Hudson Soft, which also did conversions of other Wonder Boy games for the console.

In the United Kingdom, a bootleg version of the original arcade game was produced by Galaxy Electronics.[1]

Tectoy, Sega's distributor in Brazil, used the Monster World license and code to produce Mônica no Castelo do Dragão for the Sega Master System. The game was identical in every way to the source material, but characters were replaced with known figures from the Brazilian comics Turma da Mônica (Monica's Gang). Of course, the game was correspondingly translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian market.

An unlicensed version (by Westone) of Monster World was also produced for the Famicom, under the title of Saiyuki World with Sun Wukong of the Journey to the West tale as the central character. This conversion was produced by Jaleco, and although it was never officially admitted that the game was a port of Monster World, the game's levels and gameplay were one-for-one identical. This game would later have a sequel, known in America as Whomp 'Em.

Arcade hardware

The game ran on Sega's proprietary System 2 hardware, an enhanced version of the System 1 hardware used for the original Wonder Boy. It was based on a Z80 processor running at 4 MHz. Audio was provided by two SN76496 chips, one running at 2 MHz and one at 4 MHz, with a 4 MHz Z80 audio co-processor. The graphics were provided by a raster video unit at a resolution of 256 x 224.

Emulation

The game can be emulated using the MAME emulator, with images of the ROM chips to hand. To date, the emulator only emulates Japanese versions of the arcade machine as well as a hacked bootleg version of the game. Of course, the Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, Master System, Amiga and Atari ST versions of the game can be emulated with suitable emulators of those machines.

Critical reaction

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Scores
ARC SMS AMI C64 ST ZX
Sega Retro 84%[3] 78%[3] 86%[3] 84%[3]
Review scores
Publication Scores
ARC SMS AMI C64 ST ZX
Allgame 3/5[4] 4.5/5[5]
Amiga Action 52%[6]
Amiga Format 51%[7]
Amiga Joker 73%[8]
Amiga User
International
65%[9]
Computer and
Video Games
9/10[10] 84%[11]
Crash 88%[12]
CU Amiga 41%[13]
Datormagazin 8/10[14]
Dragon 4.5/5[15]
Génération 88%[16]
IGN 7.5/10[17]
Mean Machines
Sega
87%[18]
MicroHobby 42/60[19]
NintendoLife 7/10[20]
Power Play 80%[21]
Sega Power 80%[22]
Sega Pro 90%[23]
Sinclair User 90%[24]
The Games
Machine
71%[25] 88%[25] 83%[26]
Your Sinclair 8/10[27] 75%[28]
Zero 85%[29]
Zzap!64 36%[30] 68%[30]
Awards
Entity Nomination
Gamest Awards Best Ending[31]

Arcade version

Upon its release for the arcades in Japan in 1987, Wonder Boy: Monster Land had slow sales, but it would eventually pick up to become a successful seller.[32] In Japan's 1987 Gamest Awards, it came eighth place in the "Best Ending" award category.[31] In the United Kingdom, where the arcade version was known as Wonder Boy 2, it was reviewed by Sinclair User in its February 1989 issue, where it gave the game ratings of 9 for graphics, 8 for sound, 7 for addictiveness, and 8 for gameplay, with an overall score of 8 out of 10. The review stated that "the game is great fun to play," the "graphics are astonishingly well designed," and the "action is good" with "a large amount of hugely powerful power-ups." They concluded that it is a "highly enjoyable romp" and "would make a great 16 bit conversion."[27]

ZX Spectrum version

CRASH magazine awarded the game 88%,[33] Your Sinclair awarded 75%[34] and Sinclair User awarded 90%.[35] All of the magazines stated a belief that the sequel was superior to the original game.

The game was reviewed in 1989 in Dragon #144 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.[15]

Fan base

Wonder Boy and its sequels have enjoyed a considerable fan base over the years, and the success that this has generated led to a number of sequels produced. Wonder Boy in Monster World was the last title released worldwide, though a sequel, Monster World IV was released in Japanese. The fan base exists, with a number of fan sites around the Internet, including the authors of the MEKA emulator who have campaigned for the Wonder Boy series to be continued on the Dreamcast.[36]

Legacy

In 2008, game designer Hideki Kamiya listed Wonder Boy in Monster Land among his favorite games, citing it as one of the games that influenced his work.[37]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Model 317-0043) at the Arcade History database
  2. "One WiiWare Game and One Virtual Console Game Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of America. 2009-01-26. http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/5rGlVFJOsvSQKAtnYLYtZEzi4kshvMr2. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Sega Retro. Retrieved on 2014-12-23.
  4. Wonder Boy in Monster Land at Allgame via the Wayback Machine
  5. Sutyak, Jonathan. Wonder Boy in Monster Land – Overview. Allgame. Archived from the original on 2014-11-14 Retrieved on August 18, 2010.
  6. Merrett, Steve; Johns, Doug (February 1990). "Super Wonderboy". Amiga Action (5): 44. 
  7. Evans, Matt (March 1990). "Super Wonder Boy". Amiga Format (8). 
  8. "Super Wonderboy in Monster Land" (in German). Amiga Joker 90 (1). January 1990. 
  9. Horgan, Tony (February 1990). "Super Wonderboy". Amiga User International 4 (2): 74. 
  10. "Super Wonder Boy in Monster Land". Computer and Video Games (80): 118. June 1988. http://www.smspower.org/Reviews/WonderBoyInMonsterLand-SMS-CVG-80. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  11. Computer and Video Games, issue 98
  12. Caswell, Mark (December 1989). "Super Wonderboy in Monster Land". Crash (71): 67. 
  13. Dillon, Tony (January 1990). "Super Wonderboy". CU Amiga: 45. 
  14. Hybner, Tomas (December 1989). "Super Wonderboy" (in Swedish). Datormagazin 1989 (18): 14. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (144): 60–68. 
  16. "Super Wonderboy in Monsterland" (in French). Génération 4 (17): 8. December 1989. 
  17. Thomas, Lucas M. (January 26, 2009). Wonder Boy in Monster Land Review. IGN. Retrieved on August 18, 2010.
  18. "Game Index: Wonder Boy in Monster Land", Mean Machines Sega (1): 136, October 1992, http://www.smspower.org/Scans/MeanMachinesSega-Magazine-Issue01?gallerypage=136, retrieved 2014-12-17 
  19. "Camino de Monstruolandia" (in Spanish). MicroHobby 7 (196): 30–31. February 1990. 
  20. Mike Mason (6 May 2012). Review: Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Wii Virtual Console / Virtual Console Arcade). NintendoLife. Retrieved on 2014-12-17.
  21. Gaksch, Martin; Hengst, Michael (January 1990). "Super Wonderboy in Monster Land" (in German). Power Play 90 (1): 24. 
  22. Sega Power, issue 23, p. 60
  23. Sega Pro, issue 6, p. 31
  24. Sumpter, Garth (January 1990). "Super Wonder Boy". Sinclair User (94): 54–55. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Caswell, Mark (January 1990). "Super Wonderboy". The Games Machine (26): 24. 
  26. The Games Machine, issue 26, p. 24
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Coin-Ops: Wonder Boy 2", Sinclair User (83): 81, February 1989, https://archive.org/stream/sinclair-user-magazine-083/SinclairUser_083_Feb_1989#page/n81/mode/1up, retrieved 2014-12-17 
  28. MacDonald, Duncan (January 1990). "Super Wonderboy". Your Sinclair (49): 72. http://www.ysrnry.co.uk/articles/superwonderboy.htm. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  29. MacDonald, Duncan (January 1990). "Super Wonder Boy". Zero (3): 101. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 Wynne, Stuart; King, Phil (March 1990). "Super Wonderboy". Zzap!64 (59): 75. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 The Best Game 2: Gamest Mook Vol. 112, pp. 6-25
  32. Fahs, Travis (November 14, 2008). The Legend of Wonder Boy. IGN. Retrieved on September 27, 2010.
  33. Crash Magazine, issue 71, p. 67
  34. Your Sinclair Magazine, issue 49, p. 72
  35. Sinclair User Magazine, issue 94, p. 54
  36. MEKA Homepage
  37. Hideki Kamiya. Hideki Kamiya's Blog: A Self-Introduction. Retrieved on 2015-01-13.

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