A full remake for Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap (Sega Master System) or Dragon’s Curse (Turbografx16) was just announced on E3 last week so thought it was appropriate to give the original a shot since it is a very well received and heralded game. I played the Turbografx16 version till’ the end and big parts of the Master System version but to be honest i wasn’t very impressed.
You play Wonder Boy, and start the game where the previous one ended much like in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. You are insanely strong and carve through your enemies as if they were butter. You meet the Meka Dragon and slay him only to be horribly cursed by him an get turned into a fire breathing lizard losing your insane power right off the bat a la Symphony of the Night(probably Wonder Boy 3 right here where they got the idea). Wonder Boy must then work his way through various dragon bosses in order to restore his gorgeous original form while finally bringing peace to the land.
As a lizard you are really only able to go one route in an otherwise open, metroidvania world meaning that you have to find some sort of power up in order to advance to other areas. There are 4 other forms available other than the lizard (mouse, fish man, lion, hawk), and as you unlock those forms you gain more access to other parts of the world since each form brings a different kind of power to the table such as being small, being able to walk up walls and even flying. Later in the game you can freely change between all the forms you have unlocked.
You do this in a very standard 1 button attacks the other one jumps action/platforming style which to my tastes is a bit too simple. Sure there are some sub weapons to use but i never felt great need to use them nor did i find them particularly spectacular. Just something about the core gameplay does not feel satisfying at all, maybe it has to do with i do not particularly like the art style, music and the overall atmosphere but at least the game’s enemies who are pretty boring at first get tougher and more engaging towards the end of the game.
Some forms are more fun than others who have such a short attack range it gets super annoying especially when you get hit and you get stunned for a short while. This gets especially annoying when you get stuck in a chain of being hit and stunned repeatedly not being able to move for quite a while.
I like the metroidvania concept and it is well executed in Wonder Boy 3 for the most part, sometimes it just makes you get lost when really there is just one path you have to take to advance. I also like collecting gold to buy new equipment except when it starts to feel like i am grinding.
One other thing which i feel is totally unnecessary is your CP (charm points? I don’t have the manual) which determines whether store clerks deem you charming enough to sell you stuff. Your CP depends on your current form, armor and charm stones which are a rare drop from enemies so you can grind them or find them in chests around the game. It just feels so tedious needing to go and change form, equip a nicer looking armor and/or grind for stones so you can buy equipment. It really only serves the illusion of making the game seem longer than it actually is.
Still the game is pretty long and thankfully it supports saves and a password system and should be fun play again or speed run like most metroidvania games
The graphics are pretty good in both version though it is more beautiful in the Turbografx version, same can be said about the music. Some tunes in this game are pretty good but nothing i would ever put on my mp3 player and they get pretty stale if when you stay in the same area for too long.
A remake was announced on E3 and came out with a sweet trailer. It features very nice looking hand-drawn graphics and the developers are working closely with the Wonder Boy series’ creators on the project even though Sega or Westone are not directly involved. I will probably give that game a shot.
Overall i feel Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap/Dragon’s Curse is a clever game that unfortunately is not fun enough to play.While not all bad, its simple combat/ platforming and exploring(getting lost) just somehow didn’t do it for me. The presentation and theme of the game did not appeal to me either but that may just be me. Now that i know the game better i think it would be fun for me to try out the remake, but as for the original i would recommend a butt load of games before ever telling anyone that he or she should play Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap/Dragon’s Curse.
I know this game is super popular and has a cult following (hence the remake) so i might be a minority. Just don’t freak out cause i do not agree with you. Maybe the game has not aged very well? Not sure, but this is my honest opinion 😀
Lasting appeal 7
Is it fun? 6
Overall 6,5 an ok game
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