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Reviews: Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap / Monster World II (モンスターワールドII) - review by CVG magazine

Before I start on this review I'd better make it clear that this Wonderboy III is not — repeat, not — the same game that is currently doing the rounds in the country's arcades. Everybody got that? Yeah? OK, good.

The action in this particular Wonderboy III opens as WB is nearing the end of a quest to slay a dragon in the Castle of Monsters. Equipped with his trusty sword and clad in a suit of armour, the heroic lad stalks the scrolling corridors of the castle, until he at last reaches the hall of the dragon. While the scaly wyrm breathes volleys of fireballs at him, WB has to leap up and stab it in the chops seven times before it explodes in a shower of stars.

However, it's the dragon who has the last laugh, and as WB is filching its horde of gold, a blue fireball hits him and transforms him into a fire-breathing dragonlet with prodigious platform-leaping abilities!

After escaping from the castle, Wonderboy considers his position. Monster-bashing hero he may be, but how will he ever be accepted back into a society that is pathologically prejudiced against mythological saurians?

His only chance to lift the dragon's curse is to find the Salamander Sword, but, not surprisingly, there's a legion of minor monsters and miles of scrolling landscape between him and it, as well as five more magical dragons to slay.

In dragon form, Wonder Boy's sword is replaced by fiery breath, but he can collect other weapons, such as bouncy fireballs, arrows and whirlwinds when they're dropped by deceased foes. Coins are collected in a similar manner, so that WB can buy said missiles, as well as better armour and shields from handy arsenals staffed by one-eyed pigs (kerazeee, no?).

If a door doesn't lead to a shop of some kind, it can take Wonderboy to some other part of the landscape, maybe to a town, a desert or an underwater location full of fireball-spitting octopi and piranha fish.

The variety of backdrops are nicely drawn (the Sphinxes in the Egyptian scene are particularly impressive), and the characters which populate them are superbly designed and animated. I loved the skeletal pirates (complete with eye patch and tricorn hat) who literally lose their heads when you zonk em.

Wonder Boy III's blend of platform gaming, adventuring and super-cute graphics reminded me very much of Super Mario Brothers II, and while it isn't quite up to the standard of such an unassailable classic, it does feature similar intricacies and there's that familiar air of polish and ingenuity about the whole game which keeps you coming back for more. On the Sega at least, this is surely the best game of it's type and I would have no reservations about recommending it.


Sega £24.95


Cute and cuddly platform adventure with piles of addiction guaranteed.

CVG magazine

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