In 1989, Sega published Wonder Boy III The Dragon’s Trap for their Master System console. Wonder Boy III was a 2-D action – platformer that featured non-linear environments. Gameplay involved battling through enemies and bosses, gaining their abilities to transform into different creatures, who could then access new areas. Developed by the now defunct studio Westone, Wonder Boy III contained many of the design elements of the genre that came to be known as ‘metroidvania’. This was years before the Metroid and Castlevania franchises even began incorporating that style. Upon its release, Wonder Boy III received much critical praise. Electronic Gaming Monthly named it game of the year for 1989 and one of the greatest 8-bit titles of all time.
27 years later, Parisian developer Lizardcube have announced a full remake of the classic, updating the original gameplay and giving the source material a much-needed facelift. From the trailer, it appears as though Lizardcube have improved the loose movement style of the original, which was one of the very few criticisms that it received. The pixelated graphics have been replaced with handcrafted, cartoonish animation that looks right at home amongst modern indie games. The title of the game has also been slightly changed, dropping the III so that it’s now simply known as Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is the direct sequel to Wonder Boy in Monster Land. The story begins immediately after the final boss battle, who curses the hero by transforming him into a half lizard – half man creature. In search of a cure, the hero must explore Monster Land and defeat the other curse-wielding dragons, each granting the hero access to a new form. They include a mouse, piranha, lion and hawk.
Lizardcube have stated that Wonder Boy will feature a memorable soundtrack based on Shinichi Sakamoto’s original, each track re-imagined and recorded with classical instruments. Wonder Boy is expected to be released on PC and consoles soon. There is little else currently known about the game, including any info on a potential release date, or if the game will be just as challenging as the original. Stay tuned to PN2, who are excited to bring you more coverage of the game as information becomes available.
Michael Vane is a freelance writer for PN2. He remembers playing the original Wonder Boy as a kid and noting how significantly different a skateboarding caveman was to the later fantasy/medieval themed games in the series. You can find Mike on Twitter @DrVane