Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

Game Developers Take Note, This Is How You Make A Remake A Classic Video Game…

 

Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap is perhaps my all-time favorite game for the Sega Master System.  The game released on the Sega Console in 1989 and the cartridge still sits in my system under my office TV, ready to go.  The original game received plenty of accolades, including Electronic Gaming Monthly’s “Master System Game of the Year” for 1989.

Now, the developers at Lizardcube have resurrected the game in all its glory with Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap.  Giving people like me who have loved the game since our childhood a great dose of nostalgia, while at the same time, giving new gamers a chance to play a classic.  However, this game is more than just an HD remake.  It’s obvious from the results that this was a labor of love for the Lizardcube team.

I could be here all night explaining the history of this game.  So for now, let’s just say Dragon’s Trap is the third game in the Wonder Boy series released on the Sega Master System.  The game picks up at the end of Wonder Boy II and you actually replay a much easier version of that game’s final level to start this game.  You reach the castle’s boss, the Meka-Dragon, and slay the robotic beast with your sword.  However, the spirit of the dragon curses Wonder Boy and he transforms into the Lizard Man.  The goal of the game is to fight through Monster Land, defeat the other dragons in their lairs, and find a way to transform back into your human self.

At first glance, the game looks like a simple side scroller.  However, the gameplay is much deeper than that.  After each dragon boss you slay, you transform into a new animal/Wonder Boy hybrid.  These beasts include a Lizard, a Mouse, a Piranha, a Lion, and a Hawk.  Furthermore, each transformation has its own special ability.  For example, Hawk Man can fly through the air and Piranha Man can swim underwater.

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Wonder Boy And His Various Transformations

In addition to these various transformations, Wonder Boy has a wide assortment of tools and weapons at his disposal. There are spells like the fireball and thunderbolt, my personal favorite the boomerang, and even a bow and arrow you can shoot things out of the sky with.  Furthermore, each monster you slay drops coins to save up, to upgrade your armor, sword, and shields.  If you’re dying too easily maybe you need to visit the shop and upgrade your gear.

While the game is a side-scrolling adventure, it’s far from a linear game.  This is one of the reasons why I love the original so much.  The aspects of an RPG game in combination with the side-scrolling platform action really makes for a unique gaming experience.  You might stumble down a path that is way too difficult for you at that point in the game and you’ll learn that the hard way, by dying.  Furthermore, as you grow stronger and gain new abilities and weapons, going back down a path you’ve already ventured down might hold new hidden treasures to uncover.  So be sure to explore the game completely to be the best Wonder Boy you can be.

Before You Is The Monster Land…

With that said, all these features make up the classic version of the game.  Let’s talk about what Lizardcube has brought to the table with this remake.  First of all, this game is absolutely stunning.  The new HD graphics and art style can hang with the best of the 3-D games that are out today.

Furthermore, the reorchestrated score is a delight for the ears.  I still occasionally hum the themes of the classic 8-bit score and these new versions brought to life with various instruments, and even sometimes undertones of vocals, are beautifully done.  Once again, I find myself humming the Wonder Boy themes all day.  The artistic and musical designs the developers have poured into this game are obviously straight from the heart.  The people at Lizardcube do this classic game justice and then some.  I could never imagine a remake of a nearly 30-year-old game being this beautiful.  These weren’t just game developers remaking a game, they were likely childhood fans of the game, like myself, who finally brought their Wonder Boy dreams to life in vivid high definition.

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Be Still My 8-Bit Heart

To go with the great graphics and musical score, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap has a few new tricks up its sleeve.  You can now play as Wonder Girl, a first ever for the series.  The hand-drawn new hero is pretty cute, and when you hit the button to flip to retro-mode, she even has a classic 8-bit sprite that fits seamlessly into the classic graphics.  The remake also has three different difficulty settings that add to the replayability of the game.  Furthermore, there are new hidden bonus areas that even players of the old game will have fun discovering.  You’ll wonder to yourself, did I miss this in the old game or is this new?

The best new feature, one an old player will certainly appreciate, is the ability to toggle and use your side-weapons easily with the click of a button.  On the old Sega Master System you only have two buttons, so to go into your inventory you had to hit the pause button that was located on the console itself.  This made weapon swapping a hassle on the old system.  With the new feature, you can easily swing your sword and throw your boomerang in unison.

I am in shock that this is Lizardcube’s first game.  This is by far the greatest remake I’ve ever seen of a classic game.  There are no rose-colored glasses of nostalgia going on here with me either.  It would have been easy for the developers to simply slap on a new coat of paint.  However, every little detail proves this was more than just putting lipstick on a pig with an eyepatch and cigarette.  Lizardcube I salute you.  I will be looking forward to your next game with great anticipation.  I’m interested to see what kind of original game you can craft.

From a fan of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap, thank you.  For those who haven’t yet experienced this game, what are you waiting for!  Go get it on your PS4, XBox One, or Nintendo Switch.  The game will also hit PC this June.

Now You Know Whassup, Chucks!

Official Website: Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC (June Release)
Price: $19.99
Publisher: DotEmu
Developer: Lizardcube
Release Date: 18th April 2017 (June on PC)
Rated: E-10+ (Fantasy Violence, Use of Tobacco)
Images via Lizardcube and DotEmu

 

 

 

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
9.8

Supchucks Official Score

10/10

    Pros

    • Beautiful Musical Score & Hand-Drawn Graphics
    • One Button Switch from HD to 8-Bit
    • Updated & Optimized Controls
    • Classic Non-Linear World Exploration
    • Classic Side-Scrolling Combat with RPG Elements

    Cons

    • Combat Can Be A Little Clunky

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