Wonder Boy in Monster World

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Wonder Boy in Monster World

Wonder Boy in Monster World - GEN - USA.jpg

Genesis - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Westone
Publisher Sega
Published 1991-10-25
Platforms Genesis, Master System, TurboGrafx-CD
Genres Action adventure, Metroidvania, Platformer
Themes Action, Adventure, Cartoon, Fantasy
Series Wonder Boy
Distribution Commercial

Wonder Boy in Monster World is a platform action adventure game developed by Westone and published by Sega on 1991-10-25 for the Genesis. It is the fifth game in the Wonder Boy series and a very well-made Metroidvania.

The game exists in four fairly different versions. The original Mega Drive/Genesis release, a Master System port which had various aspects cut to fit into a smaller ROM, a TurboGrafx-CD port which replaced the soundtrack and a lot of the graphics, and a special Brazil port which redid the graphics to fit a Brazilian children's comic strip.

Personal

Own?Yes. US Genesis cartridge and box.
Won?Yes.
Finished2018-12-10.

I discovered this game while looking for older Metroidvania games I missed out on in the earlier days of the genre. After playing it, I found it to be quite amazing, one of the best of the era.

Review

Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
8 7 9 5 7

Best Version: Genesis

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The cartoon artwork and detailed background graphics are phenomenal. The game makes really good use of parallax scrolling.
  • The character design and animation is fantastic. I especially love the death animation for monsters and the large attractive boss sprites.
  • The game has a lot of hidden chests to find for those players who search long enough.
  • Although I'm not a huge fan of the soundtrack, I recognize that Shinichi Sakamoto composed it to nicely fit the game.
  • There are lots of little graphic quirks that add to the game. Your player sprite updates as you equip better weapons and shields, heat emanates from fireplaces, the menus are well drawn, etc.
  • The indoor cut-aways are a good design.
  • The sidekicks are a fun addition. They're mostly useless, but Priscilla's animation where she smacks enemies with her wand is hilarious.
  • The ending sequence recap is quite nice.

Bad

  • Unless you spend a lot of time searching for the hidden power-ups, the game will be really hard, and several of the hidden treasures are hidden really well.
  • Most of the bosses are really easy to beat. In my first play-through of the game, I was usually really low on hit points by the time I reached the bosses, but still ended up winning.
  • The dialog saying how much gold you picked up covers up a lot of the screen and could have been replaced by a less-obtrusive sprite.
  • I don't like being told, every time I want to buy something, that I "have a discerning eye."
  • All of the game's documentation is pretty bad. The box art is horrible for pretty much every region and port. The game's manual, though it gives very detailed instructions on how to play, is very dry and has only a couple paragraphs of story and almost no art. The title is also stupid. I wonder how many more units could have been sold with better marketing.
  • Near the end of the game you get tons of gold with nothing to spend it on (unless you want the charm stone upgrade, but, by this time, it's pretty useless).
  • The game doesn't let you change your equipped items when you're moving, but if you're stuck in a corner taking damage from a monster, you don't stop moving, so you can never change items or use them.
  • The final boss is annoyingly difficult. It's not just that he's hard to defeat, but he's unfairly hard. In his second form, there are so many things on the screen, it become extremely difficult to even avoid getting hit, let alone make precision attacks.

Ugly

  • The moving platform puzzle above the dragon room in the Dark Castle is really annoying. It would have been annoying even if you didn't have to defeat the dragon every time.

Media

Boxes

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Longplay.

Play Online

Master System

Play Online

Genesis, Master System

Representation

Strong female character?FailQueen Eleanora and Priscilla is a loyal sidekick, and there are many female NPCs, but they're sidekicks and quest givers, none are important.
Bechdel test?FailNo women ever talk to each other.
Strong person of color character?PassThe game uses a cartoon style, but everyone appears to be whiteish.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Wonder Boy in Monster World
Japanese (Mega Drive) ワンダーボーイⅤ モンスターワールドⅢ Wanda Boi V Monsuta Warudo III Wonder Boy V: Monster World III
Japanese (PC Engine CD) 超英雄伝説ダイナスティックヒーロー Cho Hideo Densetsu Dainasutikku Hiro Super Hero Legend: Dynastic hero

Links

Link-MobyGames.png  Link-Wikipedia.png  Link-SegaRetro.png