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Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Review

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I’ve been waiting for a Wonder Boy revival ever since I saw that dammed “to be continued…” message at the end of Wonder Boy in Monster World on the Mega Drive. I did get some relief when the Wonder Boy Collection was released in 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3, however. This game featured the localized version of Monster World 4 which was the sequel to the beloved game from my childhood. Of course this was just an English translation of a Japanese game that had been around for years. Some would be happy with this but, I wanted more Wonder Boy darn it! Which was why, last year I came over as giddy as a school kid when I heard Wonder Boy would be making a return in not one, not two but three games. One of these three games, Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap developed by Lizardcube, is a remaster of the 1989 Sega Master System game. While not exactly a new entry into the Wonder Boy series, Lizardcube have put a lot of care and attention into this title, reviving a classic forgotten game to showcase to old fans and a potential new audience.

The Dragons Trap is a beautiful remaster with hand drawn graphics, which brought Monster World to life by filling the 2D game with lots of detail in the backgrounds as well as the character sprites. The game allows you to instantly switch between the old and new graphics at the touch of a button. This simple effect doesn’t interrupt the gameplay and allows you to see just how much effort has been put into the remaster when held against the original. The soundtrack has also been updated this time with a full orchestra. The music is still reminiscent of the old 8 bit titles but has really been brought to life with the updated score. Just like the graphics you can also switch between the old and new soundtracks at the touch of a button.

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Written by jamalais

June 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

Podcast: The Mystery of Wonder Boy

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Wonder Boy is one of those franchises that is probably better known in Europe than anywhere else.  It’s odd to think that a Japanese-developed game that was given wide distribution find a home there of all places.  Fred and Jam delve into the development, crazy naming conventions, and evolution of one of the most versatile franchises ever.


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Written by Fred Rojas

May 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

Wonder Boy the Dragons Trap Remake in the works

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wonder_boy_dragons_trap_remake

I’m a little late to the party reporting on this announcement but I thought it warranted discussion.

People: we are currently living in great times in gaming.  Not only are we getting a spiritual successor to the Wonder Boy series in the form of Monster Boy being developed by German developer FDG entertainment, but we are also getting a remake of what some may consider the best entry in the Wonder Boy series, Wonder Boy III: The Dragons Trap from French developer Lizardcube. Of course the remake has removed the “III” to eliminate confusion. The Wonder Boy chronology is incredibly confusing for gamers and is a topic I will be addressing very soon on the site. The reveal trailer so far of The Dragons Trap showcases some beautiful artwork as well as some actual gameplay which appears to closely resemble the feel of the original game. In fact there were scenes I noticed in this game that appeared the same as the original just with the updated graphics. The simple 2D gameplay remains intact. The Dragons Trap also allows you to transform into various animals like a dragon, a mouse, a Lion as well as several others. Surprisingly I saw no human form of Wonder Boy in the trailer.

the_dragons_trap_remake_1

I think what makes me happiest about The Dragons Trap and Monster Boy is both games are being developed independently without the use of crowd funding. It’s almost as if developers read my open letter to Sega. Both games also seem to be in very good hands looking to develop a product that is faithful to the original series. My only critique is the games do look dangerously similar as both feature animal transformations. However, if the developers are as passionate as they say they are then I’m still on board. Monster Boy really is a new tale entirely whereas The Dragons Trap appears to mirror the infamous Master System/Game Gear game.

Original Wonderboy III: The Dragon's Trap on Master System

Original Wonderboy III: The Dragon’s Trap on Master System

I really can’t stretch how giddy I am that The Dragons Trap and Monster Boy are coming out. I’ve been waiting for a sequel to the Wonder Boy series for years and now we’re spoiled with two. I’ll buy both these games day one possibly on multiple systems (especially if they’re handheld versions) and cover them on the site. But hey, if any other developers want to jump in any release another game then I’ll buy that too – some name suggestions include Wonder Otter and Monster Planet.

Written by jamalais

June 10, 2016 at 3:00 pm

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Monster Boy is Coming Sometime in 2016

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This is probably my most anticipated game of 2016. A new game for the Wonder Boy, well its spiritual successor. The latest trailer for Monster Boy looks like a love letter to Wonder Boy III: The Dragons Trap by featuring animal transformations in the game. Inspiration and love from both Wonder Boy in Monster Land and Wonder Boy in Monster World by featuring the infamous merchant sections from Land. It was interesting to see the trailer features animated cutscenes which look kinda cute. The developers have been allowed to practically mimic the formula made famous by the Wonder Boy series, Sega just didn’t want to give up the name for some reason. I guess Sega’s just going to sit on that IP and do nothing with it while other developers work around them, thanks Sega stay classy.

Interesting to note the game is going to be released to PS4, Xbox One, and PC but it has been rumoured the game will come to Wii U and PS Vita if the game does well. Not only would I love for this game to come to a portable device but I want Sega to release a complete Wonder Boy Collection. We were fortunate enough to get a Wonder Boy Collection of three games on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 but there are still several games on the series that very much need a re release. Wonder Boy III: The Dragons Trap one of the best Sega Master System (and Game Gear) games for the system can only be found on the original Wiis virtual console which is quite disappointing. The only glimmer of hope is Monster Boy sells 40 billion copies and Sega at least considers releasing the old games. But I guess I’ll keep dreaming.

At the end of the day I’m hugely excited for Monster Boy. Hopefully the game will do well and we will see ports to other consoles but more importantly I want to see sequels. I want more games like this and hopefully it will encourage more developers to attempt to bring back for forgotten gems from the past, even if they can’t use the name. If you can’t call it Kid Chameleon call it Power Helmets ….. anyone buy that?

Written by jamalais

March 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Posted in News

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24 Hour Live Stream Videos

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Here you go, the entire playlist of all 18 hours (Fred passed out early) of the 24 hour live stream.  We want to thank everyone who donated, joined us, and have ever enjoyed any of the content from Gaming History 101.  Below is the playlist in order starting with the first video, but you can also click this link to go directly to the list and pick your favorite video.

Please note: Due to a copyright claim involving the music in a certain video, our Shadows of the Empire stream has been taken down.  We tried to remove the Hoth theme from the video but it ended up with a video that was only 4 minutes long and you couldn’t make sense of it.  It is possible to view this stream for a short time on our Twitch channel.

ChronCD: Episode 1

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ChronCD is the comprehensive coverage of all CD-based console games in chronological order.  This first episode discusses the series, delves into the history of the CD-ROM and console marketplace that CD-based consoles came out in.  Then we proceed into the launch window titles from 1988 and 1989.  Time codes after the jump.

The downloadable highest quality version can be found here: https://archive.org/details/chroncd_ep1
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Monster World IV Review (English Translation)

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mw4_boxPlatform: Mega Drive and PS2 (Japan Only), English translation available on XBLA (360), PSN (PS3), and Virtual Console (Wii)
Released: 1994 (Japan only), 2012 (English Translation)
Developer: Westone (English port handled by M2)
Publisher: Sega
Digital Release? Yes
Price: $8.00 (Wii), $9.99 (XBLA & PSN – part of Monster World Collection)

The Wonder Boy/Monster World series is one of those unappreciated darlings in gaming that has spread its love across various Sega consoles and even arcades but never reached it’s height of popularity in the West. So I guess it made sense that the series swan song, titled Monster World IV, was released on the Mega Drive in Japan only. It was not until 2012 that a official English re-release came out on services like XLBA and PSN, which is the version I will review here.  [Editor’s Note: There is a fan translation of the original game released by DeJap in 2000, that site can be found here.  Our review does not account for or evaluate this fan translation.]

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Written by jamalais

April 6, 2015 at 11:00 am

New Monster Boy in Development

monster_boy

It finally happened and I couldn’t be happier. A spiritual successor to the Wonder Boy games is in the works, let the fireworks fly people. Just after Fred and I did our top 10 Mega Drive/Genesis games, I strolled along to my local newsagent to pick up the latest copy of Retro Gamer magazine followed by a coffee. One sitting down to enjoy my fine beverage I almost spat out my drink in disbelief when the first article I see is interview with the publisher about a game called Monster Boy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

April 3, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Podcast: Top Scores, Volume 2

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top_scores_post

Video game soundtracks are as varied and nostalgic as the games themselves.  Sometimes just hearing a few bars from a classic tune brings the memories of playing that game rushing back.  Thanks to the community and a handful of personal selections, Fred and Jam present a collection of nostalgic favorites.


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Track List:

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Generation Gap Pt. 2: 8-Bit

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Amidst the video game crash of 1983, it seemed pretty unlikely that home consoles would have a future.  Fortunately a Japanese toy maker had figured out how to re-sell video games to the masses despite the world economy turning its back.  That company was Nintendo.

8-bit Generation (1985 – 1995)

Nintendo Entertainment System – Launch Price: $200 – Released: 1985
Depending on your age, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) probably needs the least introduction or background, but there were many things going on behind the scenes that assisted this console in becoming the giant it was.  Initially Nintendo had to figure out how to overcome the world economy’s opinion on video game consoles, which the Famicom/NES clearly was.  In Japan, where personal home computers were all the rage, it was marketed as a computer for your family, hence the name Famicom (for “family computer”).  In America the better way to sell it was as a toy, which everything from the console’s marketing to the simple boxy aesthetic suggests.  It worked and in both regions this little 8-bit system assisted Nintendo in virtually running the 8-bit era.

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Written by Fred Rojas

October 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm