Review by jasonrk7b
"Not the same, but not bad"
Wonder Boy is a franchise started sometime back in 1986. It was made by Westone and published by SEGA. Don't bother looking into the history of the franchise beyond that, it is confusing by comprehension. This game is the sixth game in the Wonder Boy series, and third game in the Monster World series(which is a sub-spin off of the Wonder Boy series).
It features Asha, an Arabian girl looking for adventure. The game begins with her leaving her village to become a knight and assumably save someone important or stop some great evil. Nothing ground breaking in terms of plot. She passes through some Tower and arrives in a village which will serve as the main hub for the rest of the game. There, you can buy armor, better swords, and tougher shields. There are also some useless NPC's and a palace filled with other useless NPC's. Eventually, you gain access to a building with gateways to far off worlds which function as the main levels in the game that you will be platforming through.
In terms of gameplay, Monster world IV plays entirely different than past games in the series. Before, greater emphases was placed on platforming, RPG elements, and exploration. Now it is much more straight forward. Platforming requires less precision, few RPG elements can be found, and stages are more linear and cannot be returned to after completion. Her ability to run gives a sense of fluidity and speed that previous games in the series never had, and helps to keeps the game at a brisk pace. You will still have to slash at enemies to kill them who will usually drop a coin or two. Shielding is no longer automatic, so a greater emphases is placed on timing your shots and blocking. The magic system from the last game got the axe, but it is not too missed.
In the place of magic is a little blue pet monster that will follow Asha around. It has been compared to Kirby, but I never saw the connection. Introduced early on, this little guy will help you double jump, glide, and activate out of reach mechanisms. He is a nice addition to the game, though some say that his cuteness is a turnoff.
Another thing to note is that the game is neither long nor hard. There are not that many worlds not explore, and they can only be tackled in order. Monsters usually die in a couple of hits, and attack patterns are not to difficult to memories. The only conceivable way to die is careless, which is expected at times. Since the game feels so easy, it is not uncommon to charge a monster recklessly and taking a hit or two. Other than that, monsters are easy, pits are nowhere to be found, and most bosses are a pushover.
The art work in the game is very pleasant to look at. The world is colorful, and the character design has some charm to it. The worlds are different enough, though rather cliche. An ice world, a fire world, a water worlds, etc...
All I can say about music and sound is that it was forgettable.
Some have complained that this game is too different than past games in the Monster World series. The setting, the gender of the main character, the difficulty, the omissions, and the general changes to gameplay. I don't see this as a reason to ignore this game, and certainly not a reason to dislike this game. The series has always had a cute chibi charm to it, despite what haters say. The change of setting is not that drastic. Only the main world is in a dessert, the rest takes place in other varied locations. Aside from the fact that the hero from the last game wore a suit of armor, there was really no reason to say he was from medieval times. He also traversed through desserts and icey mountains, something the knights of old never did. So there really is no set time or universe these games belong to. Wonder Boy, the first game that spun out into Monster World, starred a prehistoric caveman, for example. As for the people who refuse to accept that Wonder Boy now stars a girl, I say get over yourself. Hero or heroine, what's it matter?
This game is more than solid, and more than worthy of being called a Wonder Boy game. It doesn't innovate, but it controls well, it looks great, and it respectfully ended the series.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 05/12/11
Game Release: Monster World IV (JP, 04/01/94)
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