If, like me, you’re in your 40s and frequented arcades in the 80s, you can’t have failed to notice the various Wonder Boy coin-ops that were released during that golden […]
If, like me, you’re in your 40s and frequented arcades in the 80s, you can’t have failed to notice the various Wonder Boy coin-ops that were released during that golden era for gaming.
In fact, the first two Wonder Boy games made such an impression on me that I absolutely had to own a Sega Master System console so that I could play them in the comfort of my own home (and without having to use up my usually small supply of ten pence pieces in the process).
Though the Master System wasn’t the first console I had access to, it was the first that was mine – and it was Wonder Boy himself who pushed me into pestering my parents for the console, until I finally received it for Christmas in 1987.
In fact, Wonder Boy in Monster Land – the second title in the series – was the first game I ever actually completed, which is still one of my proudest gaming achievements.
So you can imagine how excited I am to report that a collection of four Wonder Boy games is heading to the Switch and PS4 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the series, with publisher ININ Games handling the standard physical edition, BlissBrain on digital publishing duties and Strictly Limited to publish Limited and Collector’s Editions; for the latter, various console ports – with even more Wonder Boy games included than the four in the standard editions – have been tantalisingly teased for the ‘best possible retro experience’…so you can safely bet that if a Master System edition is released, I’ll be first in line!
So what games do come with the standard edition? First up, we unsurprisingly have Wonder Boy, the original arcade game – which sees our titular hero as a sort of caveman, running (and often skateboarding, anachronistically) through levels and chucking hammers at deadly enemies.
Next up is my personal favourite of the arcade games, Wonder Boy in Monster Land. This one has RPG-esque elements, with your character able to purchase equipment, buy spells, get hints from porcine pub landlords when buying alcohol and even get healed by nurses, amongst other things. It felt ridiculously advanced for an arcade game upon release in 1987 and its blend of arcade style, platforming hack and slash gameplay fused with action RPG aspects quickly endeared it to me and many thousands of other players worldwide. Even now it remains one of my favourite games of all time.
I’m less familiar with the next two titles, which arrived in the early 90s: Wonder Boy in Monster World – which always felt like a visually impressive evolution of the Monster Land formula, rather than the revolutionary change seen between the first and second games in the series – and Monster World IV, which starred a female protagonist: Asha, but I have played and enjoyed both titles in the past; just not to the extent that I was obsessed with the first two games!
It’s an absolutely epic and unmissable collection for me – and I genuinely cannot wait to see the editions that Strictly Limited put together. As of yet, there’s no firm date as to when they’ll be available for pre-order or actually released (‘soon’ is all the information we have so far), but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation and will of course keep you, my loyal readers, updated too!
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