The Sega Genesis Challenge – Wonder Boy in Monster World

In late 2010, I started the original version of this blog. One of my earliest projects was “The Sega Genesis Challenge”. I had a lot of fun with this project and really enjoyed collecting and trying out these Genesis titles that were brand new to me. I’m in the process of working out the details on how to pick up where I left off, but in the meantime I thought it would be fun to give everyone a sneak peak of the very first video and accompanying blog post for Wonder Boy in Monster World. Enjoy!

 

 

On a recent trip to a local game store I came across a ton of Sega Genesis games. Not only were these games complete in clamshell case with instructions, most included other inserts such as warranty cards, posters, etc and everything was in very good condition. In addition, these games were really solid titles such as Wonder Boy in Monster World, Wings of Wor, Mega Turrican, Lightning Force, and more. Action RPGs, platformers, and shmups were well represented and even though I had not played any of these titles before I took the plunge and added them to my collection.

While looking at all of these new titles sitting on my shelf I got to thinking about what I could do for my show. And so the Sega Genesis Challenge was born. I challenged myself to make a first impressions video of each one of these 14 Genesis games and to do one video every single day for the next 2 weeks. In addition, I will do a closer look write-up (what you are reading) of each title as well where I can better articulate my thoughts on the game. And so we begin with our first writeup for my first game, Wonder Boy in Monster World. Keep in mind however this is just a more in depth write-up of my first impressions, not a full on review.

A little background to begin on the game first. This title was released in Japan for the Megadrive in 1991 and came to North America and Europe the next year. I mentioned in my video that I thought this might have been an early Genesis release and I was wrong on that point since the console had been released three years prior. This is actually the fifth Wonder Boy title with the previous games having been released for the arcade and Sega Master System primarily. This was also the last Wonder Boy title to be released in English.

On first loading the game I was greeted with a very colorful and vibrant title screen showing the main character, Shion, facing off against a purple dragon. Pretty epic. After getting a new game setup I was greeted with our protagonist standing outside of his house as a brief text box gives the story setup:

Monster World was once a peaceful region.
Then, the peace was shattered by an invading army of monsters.
A young man named Shion vowed to defeat them and make his land peaceful again.

Ok, so fairly basic but nothing wrong with that. The first thing that jumps out at me though is the size of the status/item bars. They are frickin huge! Seriously, a third of my screen is taken up by this. Ultimately I don’t think it really effects the game, but it was a little unnerving at first to see so much screen real estate taken up by these four boxes.

No worries though. The larger display does allow for larger, more detailed items to be displayed as well as your health, your enemies’ health, and gold. The sprites look awesome and the backgrounds are very colorful and crisp. Definitely scoring points on artwork.

Combat, as I have experienced thus far, is pretty straightforward and involves you running up and hitting the monster. When you hit a monster their health bar becomes visible beneath your health bar/hearts. There are different weapon combination’s available including sword/shield and spear. I’ve only experimented with the sword/shield combo but you do have the opportunity to purchase a spear fairly early on from a weapon shop. Monsters respawn regularly allowing you to stock up on gold if you choose. There is some bounce-back when you take damage, but nowhere near as excessive as some other platformers.

Speaking of shops any building that you see you can enter though doing so was a bit tricky at first. Pressing up when standing in front of a doorway takes you into the building while pressing down allows you to exit. Weapon, armor, and item shops are all present as well as NPC homes. Pressing start brings up your inventory, allowing to equip different weapons, armor, and accessories. This is one of the better RPG elements in my opinion and really reminded me of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest in that as the game progresses you will gradually find/purchase better equipment while still having all of your old stuff.

Pressing up when in front of someone allows you to talk to him/her.Talking to NPCs is important as they will give you hints, clues, and even open up new areas for you to explore. It pays to explore every house that you find. You never know when a helpful stranger will give you a magic potion or a clue to overcome the next obstacle.

An example of this is a lone house early on with a single occupant. The man simply says something to the effect of “the jellyfish will help you”. A little further ahead is a cliff that you can’t jump up on since it is too high. However, if you jump on one of the bouncing jellyfish it will propel you through the air to bounce on the next one, then the next one, and so on until you land on the cliff.

Overall I have to say that this was a very fun game, if a little frustrating with some of the platforming elements. I will be playing more of this title in the future and will probably pick up some of the other titles in the series (already have Wonder Boy III for SMS). If you like platformers with a bit of fantasy, action, and some RPG elements then I think you will really enjoy this title.

 

Thank you for taking this walk down memory lane with me. More installments of The Sega Genesis Challenge will be coming soon. In the meantime, what are some of the games that you would like to see me try out and give my first impressions? Leave a comment below and I will add it to the list.