#177 Wonderboy III: The Dragon’s Trap

Posted: 2nd October 2016 by Jeroen in Games
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546th played so far


Genre: Platform
Platform: Mega Drive
Year of Release: 1989
Developer: Westone
Publisher: Sega

The late 80s and early 90s were filled with platformers, which is probably the reason why it still seems like main mode of gaming. Even early 3D consoles focused on it, combining it with 3D graphics to create a mix – Mario 64 still has a lot of the DNA, as does something like Banjo Kazooie. It took quite a while to really get away from it.

The Wonderboy series comes from this mold, one more franchise of what seem to be platform games of some sort. I’ve not had any exposure to it (although as it had multiple number 3 entries alone, it clearly has some significance.

Our Thoughts

Wonderboy III is less of a standard platformer and has more of an open world feel – Wizards and Warriors is my closest touch stone, exploring a village, visiting houses, finding secrets and paths to venture deeper into the world. It has some light RPG elements – equipment and abilities are gained to unlock more parts of the world. Although there are several jumping sessions, and plenty of enemies to defeat, it feels more strategic than standard platformers.

The game has a variety of levels early on too. You start in a standard castle – apparently the final level of the previous game, which you’re playing in abbreviated form (although I obviously can’t verify that). After the plot developments that turn you into a lizard man, the town you use as a base is brighter, and you first go to a slightly more tropical sea level. It’s colourful – not overly so, but enough to make it stand out, more Super Mario Bros 3 than Super Mario Bros 1. It’s what you’d expect from a Mega Drive game, really – I wouldn’t call this challenging for the system to run (but I don’t know the system’s limitations to really judge that), but it can still get somewhat repetitive.

One of the things that helps is that death isn’t too punishing. You lose your place in the world (unless you have a revive) but it doesn’t feel likeyou have to travel too far back and it’s not a complete game over. It helps encourage exploration, which is a great boon to getting into the game.

Final Thoughts

I started this game as a simple checkbox game – another platformer to get done. I was pleasantly surprised. While the start was a bit unclear – why am I in the castle, where do I go – the game did take off once I got to out of that into the “open” world. There was quite a bit to do from the start, and plenty of unreachable areas that promised some more interesting further areas.

It might do now with being sped up a bit, but as a platformer with light RPG elements, this is a good game.