Wonder Boy Collection (Switch)

Inin Games are back with another collection, this time they are tackling Sega legend Wonderboy and 4 adventures spanning the series origins to the most “recent” official release in the series. 

The Wonderboy Collection compiles the following 4 titles. 

  • Wonderboy (1986)
  • Wonderboy in Monster Land (1987)
  • Wonderboy in Monster World (1991)
  • Monster World IV (1994)

Wonderboy and Wonderboy in Monster Land are based on the Arcade versions of the titles and the latter two are the Mega Drive versions, Monster World IV not to be confused with the version that was released last year also by Inin Games Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World.

Wonderboy (1986)

While a legendary title that has spawned re-releases recently such as Wonder Boy Returns Remix, more people would be familiar with the title as Master Higgins NES title Adventure Island. 

WonderBoy is an arcade platformer where you play as a Caveman who has to run across the island, eating food to stave off a timer, throw stone axes at demons and animals alike and occasionally Skateboard in order to save the love of his life.

Ironically WonderBoy (1986) despite being the first WonderBoy has the least in common with the series, due to some confusing rights issues and the like, the WonderBoy series took a different route after this title and left the caveman adventures to Hudson Soft and their mascot Master Higgins. 

WonderBoy in Monster Land (1987)

This title is definitely closer to what people think when they hear the name WonderBoy, an epic adventure disposing of evil creatures, collecting weapons and items while platforming. 

Being that this title is still firmly stuck to its arcade roots it’s a linear affair in contrast to later titles in the series, it also has quite a messy U.I which makes it feel like you’re piloting a spacecraft. 

This is still a fun title and it’s interesting to see where the true roots of the WonderBoy series took place, again it’s an arcade title so expect the usual coin munching techniques and the race against the clock, plus WonderBoy really looks quite wimpy to start with but you can acquire armour and weapons as you go on.

WonderBoy in Monster World (1991) 

This is the kind of title you think of when you hear WonderBoy, an action platformer with light RPG mechanics and just a smattering of “Metroidvania”. 

This is a port of the famous Mega Drive title and is likely one of 3 titles people think of when they think of WonderBoy, a decently paced adventure without the strings of it being an arcade title, developed for the Mega Drive. 

Brilliant sprite art and fantastic chiptunes await.

Monster world IV

The culmination of the series and one of the highest points of quality. It fully leans into the RPG elements and Metroidvania pacing and provides one of the best titles ever produced on the Mega Drive.

It’s not named WonderBoy because the main hero is a female called Asha but don’t let that put you off its 110% WonderBoy and if by chance you played the remake but wasn’t too sold on it. This version with its mastery of sprite art oozes more than in 1 enemy than all of the 3D models the remake had. 

The package.

So the collection is a fine package of games though anyone familiar with the series can already see the glaring flaw in this, it doesn’t have WonderBoy 3: The Dragon’s Trap, it also doesn’t have WonderBoy 3: Monster Lair but there is a reason people only talk about Dragon’s Trap. 

Missing out the most loved title of the series stinks and the only way to get that fix is either buy the Remastered version or pick up the physical, limited edition version of this collection which contains both omitted games and 21 ports of the games. 

Good for limited edition collectors but not too great for people who aren’t that interested in dropping top dollar and limited run chasing. 

Every game comes with button remapping, save state features and a helpful rewind button for when you don’t feel like being a complete purist. 

Finally the game comes with a fantastic gallery with tons of art to feed your eyeballs with and the usual aspect ratio and shader options. 

While initially quite a good package, the lack of console ports for the first two games and purposely missing out the best WonderBoy title to garner sales for a limited print really leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

On the plus side it’s cheaper than the Monster World IV remake and offers another fantastic game of near equal value and 2 fun arcade titles so there are much worse ways to experience the series. 

3

Summary

A fine collection and a good time just locking the best title behind a physical and limited run paywall

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