Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap may be new to me, but it definitely isn't a new game. It originally made it's debut on the Sega Master System in 1989 as Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. As someone who wasn't even alive at that time, I'd never even heard of the Sega Master System let alone Wonder Boy III. Wonder Boy at the time was very influential to the game industry and it laid the groundwork for a sub-genre that would eventually be dubbed Metroidvania.
The 2017 remastered version does the original 16 bit version a wondrous and well deserved favor. The new updated hand-drawn graphics are gorgeous and were actually the main reason I took the plunge and purchased the game in the first place. In a day and age where old games are constantly being re-released and remastered with no added features and slight graphic updates, Wonder Boy, in my opinion, does what all remastered games should be doing. A side by side comparison of the original title and the new title will show the amount of love and time that Lizardcube put into this remake. Instead of boring plain backgrounds, each area in the game now comes to life and feels unique to the area before it. In addition to these beautiful hand-drawn visuals, the new updated soundtrack to the game is also a wonderful upgrade to the original. There were actually a couple of points in the game where I hit the pause button to listen for a while longer because I was so blown away by the music! Do yourself a favor and play the video below from 49:42-51:54! The vampire dragons piano riff really blew me away. Seeing the comparison between the original and remastered version is a breeze even during gameplay. A simple tap of the shoulder button on the controller will instantly transform the graphics between the two versions, or a press of the R3 button can toggle the music. I feel that this really adds to the gameplay and helps give you an appreciation for the amount of work this remake took- even if you're like me and aren't familiar with the original version.
Enough about the gorgeous remastering work, let's talk about what this game is actually about. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap starts out like many other platforming titles, with the player navigating a landscape littered with enemies and platforms to jump between. After a brush with an enemy dubbed "Meka Dragon", Wonder Boy (or Wonder Girl if you chose the female option at the start of the game) has a curse placed on him and is cast out of the castle in a Lizard form. In an effort to lift this curse and find a way to restore your original form, you as a player set out to defeat other dragons.
Sounds simple right? Nope! You need to find the dragons first. The game is littered with different areas- some aquatic, some fiery, and some in the clouds up in the sky. Navigating these areas not only requires platforming skills, but the areas are also littered with enemies. Taking out these enemies may earn the player coins that can be used to purchase potions or armor/shields/swords, items that are useful for fighting, or maybe nothing at all! The drops for all enemies are completely random adding to the difficulty of the game. And if you die? All of those items that you worked so hard to get? GONE.
In the event that you make it to the end of an area and earn a new form/ability, different areas of the game start to open up to you. I won't ruin the details, but I found that exploring and learning the different sections of the map was one of my favorite parts of the game. Areas that you saw early on become accessible the more you play and it is very satisfying to solve the puzzles!
All in all, Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap took me about 6 hours to complete. While this may be a bit on the short side, taking the age of the game into consideration along with the cheap price tag of $9.99 I still believe that this game is a worthwhile addition to your game library. Despite finishing the game just last night I already want to pick it up and play it again and I'm actually considering learning to speed-run it.
Long story short, I completely fell in love with Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap. From the gorgeous art style to it's amazing remastered soundtrack, there isn't a single thing about it that I didn't like! All things considered I think Wonder Boy deserves a solid 9.0.
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