Review by SHepburn
"The Wonder Of You"
Picture the situation. The original Wonder Boy was an average (but strangely addictive!) game at its best. Sega were losing out to NES sales terribly in America, and needed something great to get them back on their feet. The answer: totally change and give new life to the irrelevant, dismissed Wonder Boy! And upon completing Wonder Boy In Monsterland, the game was released to immediate massive hype...HUGE sales in the millions...worldwide renounce as the greatest game ever!
OK, so the only time that's likely to be true is when I'm lying in my bed at 3am knocked-out asleep, but this still is a truly great game, and deserves more recognition.
When first playing this game, anyone who played the original will probably be saying: 'What the .....'. HEY! Watch yo' language! Pay attention to what the game has to offer! But seriously, this game is radically different to the first Wonder Boy, so if anbody who liked the original is expecting more of the same (a la Metal Gear Solid 2, Grand Theft Average Vice City) they are going to be pretty surprised. First off the development team Escape were replaced by Westone, who decided to keep the child-like style but put a more serious side on display. In the first game you ran around in a forest with a blonde afro, in only a loin cloth randomly throwing hammers at snails and rocks (great fun in your spare time, you should try it!). In 'Monsterland' you have a sword and shield, talk to characters yo meet along the way, have a variety of other weapons such as tornados and fireballs and you are following (SHOCK!) a story. Westone, rather thoughtfully, decided to use the name Wonder Boy in the Wonder-ful sense, not the ''It's so strange it really makes you Wonder'' sense as previously used.
'Welcome to Monsterland', simple, sharp, kinda scary, and to-the-point, one of the best opening bits to a video game ever, including FMV and DVD movie intros.
'Monsterland's gameplay verges nearer the hard side of the scales than it does to the easy, but the only thing that is really hard to strategically try and maintain is a solid amount of life: you only get one elixir you know. The game is also very addictive in the ''I was almost there last time so it'll be easier this time!'' sort-of-way and in the engrossing storyline sort of way. How are you going to sleep at night knowing you lost and let a whole city get infested with monsters?
The graphics are 8-bit but that doesn't stop the great colour and shape in the game preventing you from wanting to play it. And some might think the graphics are outdated now because 3D is the way to go and the only type of game to play. If you are one of these people, why are you reading this? It's a Sega Master System. It doesn't have a built-in virtual reality center or something.
'Wonder Boy In Monsterland' will last you a great long time. It took me *cough* fiveyears *cough* on and off to finish it. It will get a bit repetitive after a while, but if it starts to get boring give it a few months, complete another game and go back to it and it's fresh as ever.
The only sad thing about this game is that, brilliant as it is, it was beaten, bruised and generally outshined in every way by its sequel 'Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap', widely regarded by many retro gamers including myself as the best game ever. But there's nothing wrong with the silver medal, this game still holds it own (in my opinion) against all the nextgen games I have played so far.
So 10 out of 10 then. And if Westone are still out there somewhere, make another half-arcade, half-RPG, half-platform game (OK so you can't get three halves!) like this on nextgen and you'll be in the CA$H!
(My synopsis sums this game up using a very famous song title, 'The Wonder Of You' was most famously performed by Elvis Presley, the king himself)
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/13/02, Updated 12/13/02
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