Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
We join Wonderboy at the end of an arduous journey - a journey full of strange omens and immeasurable hardship. Our hero is just about to approach the lair of the evil dragon - a vicious creature terrorising the realms of Monsterland - and Wonderboy is one step away from delivering the Dragon a blow it'll never it'll never forget...
However, Wonderboy has no idea about this particular dragon's powers. We aren't talking about a rather lethal case of bad breath either - the Dragon has the ability to curse his assailants by causing them to mutate into Dragon Man - a human/dragon hybrid... Three guesses who his last victim happens to be!
Cursed, wretched and deformed, Wonderboy must begin a new quest - to find some way of reversing the Dragon's spell - a quest that will take him through many levels of platform infested multi-directional scrolling chaos...
Vanquished foes leave golden coins behind which can be used to buy better weaponry, armour and other useful items at the weapons shops dotted around the map. So when you're bashing the baddies, keep collecting the cash!
The original Wonderboy coin-op was a fairly good horizontally scrolling platform/shoot 'em up game, and was really an attempt by Sega to cash in on the Super Mario Brothers craze. It was an instant smash and two follow-ups appeared on the arcade scene. Wonderboy III on the Master System is different to all three coin-ops, but has taken its inspiration from them, combining the platforms and shooting of Wonderboy, the adventuring of Super Wonderboy and the cuteness of Wonderboy III in Monster lair to great effect!
At various points throughout the game, Wonderboy can transmute into different creatures - all of whom have varying degrees of skill in certain areas. Piranha Man has fine swimming abilities, Hawk Man can fly and Dragon Man can breathe fire and walk through lava. Mastering each character's strengths and weaknesses is the key to success.
This has to rank as one of the greatest Master System games ever! It has a look and feel slightly reminiscent of the Nintendo Mario series (no bad thing) and a depth of gameplay second to none. What constantly amazes me about this game is that there's always something new to discover, be it a key to a previously locked door or even a secret room! Couple that to the sheer vastness of the quest and Wonderboy III's "classic" status is assured. All in all, a very slick Sega product with universal appeal. Make sure it's in your collection - NOW!
This brilliant Sega game kept me up late for more than a few nights when I first got hold of it. The combination of adventuring, shooting and platform action results in one of the best games of its type available on any console. The graphics are simply superb - especially when the hero changes into one of his many guises - Dragon Man is my favourite, since you can roast everything in your path with your fiery breath. The game is huge and there's loads to discover - one of the reasons why it's so amazingly addictive. If you're a new Sega owner, or simply missed out when this was first released, make sure you add this to your collection.