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Grazza

Wonder Boy: the Dragon's Trap

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So - is the game still good? I really want this as I loved the original when I was a kid (though I never completed it). But looking at it now, it looks a bit easy and straightforward. It appears that the only really good thing about this update is the visuals and sound, the rest is not updated at all.

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So - is the game still good? I really want this as I loved the original when I was a kid (though I never completed it). But looking at it now, it looks a bit easy and straightforward. It appears that the only really good thing about this update is the visuals and sound, the rest is not updated at all.

 

Well that was kinda the point!

The mechanics are bang on the same.

 

Honestly though, there are some small but very good updates that make the game less frustrating:

1) GUI update - layout for the in game HUD is loads better. Makes a surprising difference.

2) Modern save system (but you can still use old-school passwords if you want :p )

3) Can switch magic really easily and use it easily (there are more than two buttons! )

4) Hard mode give you a time limit where about every 30 seconds it's like you've been hit. Don't remember that ever being in the original.

5) Just a little more narrative bits here and there that tie the story together in a better way than the original. New players will have some idea of what the hell is going on.

6) I think that there's a little less insta-respawn on enemies.

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Well that was kinda the point!

The mechanics are bang on the same.

 

Honestly though, there are some small but very good updates that make the game less frustrating:

1) GUI update - layout for the in game HUD is loads better. Makes a surprising difference.

2) Modern save system (but you can still use old-school passwords if you want :p )

3) Can switch magic really easily and use it easily (there are more than two buttons! )

4) Hard mode give you a time limit where about every 30 seconds it's like you've been hit. Don't remember that ever being in the original.

5) Just a little more narrative bits here and there that tie the story together in a better way than the original. New players will have some idea of what the hell is going on.

6) I think that there's a little less insta-respawn on enemies.

 

Of course, but they could have added more or cleverer enemies, added some secrets or something else entirely while still keeping the original game.

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Of course, but they could have added more or cleverer enemies, added some secrets or something else entirely while still keeping the original game.

 

I see what you mean but I don't think that it fits with what the aims of the project were.

 

Having 99% completed the original (couldn't get into the final boss in the castle) I'm really enjoying this. I think that it helps that Indie games have moved back into this style of gameplay a lot more but it really feels like it fits in with current games. The graphical style and music really seems like the way that my imagination expanded the game inside my own head originally.

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Good to hear. :) How long did it take you to reach 99 %?

 

Ah right, sorry I meant completed 99% of the story... I'm not that good! Back in the day it took me a long time. Probably 15-20 hrs or so as I found the desert areas really hard ;-)

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I watched a vid with the developers, I'm sure you can actually use the password save system to load your original save state from back in the day.. if anyone would still have their password.

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I watched a vid with the developers, I'm sure you can actually use the password save system to load your original save state from back in the day.. if anyone would still have their password.

 

I actually have it on the Wii VC, so I might actually do just that :D

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It reminds me of the latest Shantae game. Gorgeous 2D HD visuals and amazing animation.

 

You can tell a lot of care and attention went into this. This is the kinda of style I imaged 2D games would look like when the HD era hit.

 

Yes indeed. Half-Genie Hero had a very nice visual style, but I think the sprites are better in this, and I prefer the game style.

 

Only trouble is, I'm stuck.

 

I defeated the boss that turned me into a piranha. Instead of going to the piranha dungeon, though, I found the transformation pad. I transformed into a mouse, because that gains you access to one of the best shops. However, you need to be a piranha to regain access to the transformation pad. Now I'm stuck as a mouse and literally can't find anywhere else to go in the whole game world. Is there a secret door somewhere?

 

 

This is the bit I'm stuck on. If any expert players could input the code and work out what I can do next, it'd be much appreciated:

 

C9yHMSZUQAAHzRN.jpg:large

Edited by Grazza

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Yes indeed. Half-Genie Hero had a very nice visual style, but I think the sprites are better in this, and I prefer the game style.

 

Only trouble is, I'm stuck.

 

I defeated the boss that turned me into a piranha. Instead of going to the piranha dungeon, though, I found the transformation pad. I transformed into a mouse, because that gains you access to one of the best shops. However, you need to be a piranha to regain access to the transformation pad. Now I'm stuck as a mouse and literally can't find anywhere else to go in the whole game world. Is there a secret door somewhere?

 

 

This is the bit I'm stuck on. If any expert players could input the code and work out what I can do next, it'd be much appreciated:

 

C9yHMSZUQAAHzRN.jpg:large

 

Would love to give you a hand but cant seem to find how to load the passwords!

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Would love to give you a hand but cant seem to find how to load the passwords!

 

Thanks very much. I started a new file and got past that point, but worked it out afterwards.

 

[spoiler=]There's a transformation room in the village. Once you have the ring from the shack in the Canyon (the one you need the Dragon Mail + piranha man to access), you can break the block in this house:

 

C93DZwEUIAAA5FU.jpg

 

It makes a door appear, which leads to another transformation room.

 

 

Love this game!

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Review - Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

 

Wonder Boy has a rather complicated history. It began in parallel with Nintendo's Zelda series - both had their original games in 1986, with a second entry each in 1987. Whereas the first Wonder Boy had been a simple platformer, the second introduced light RPG elements and thus it was the first in the "Monster World" series. The second Monster World game (and confusingly the fourth Wonder Boy) was released to a certain amount of acclaim in 1989. Sega hedged their bets and just called it Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. :heh:

 

Whilst I never owned a Master System, my friend did. I used to go round his house and try to assist him with this charming and mysterious game, full of strange environments and secret doors. We never beat it.

 

Fast-forward 28 years later, and developer Lizardcube has given this 8-bit classic the remaster it deserved.

 

First, let's address the elephant in the room - £17.99 is a lot of money for something you're not sure about. I was in two minds myself. So I thought I'd set out to describe the game as best I can, and explain why I personally think it is worth buying.

 

The Dragon's Trap starts with an evil dragon placing a curse on Wonder Boy. He must then traverse the overworld, accessing more and more transformations until he can (hopefully) return to human form. It's a mixture of combat, platforming and exploration - none of which are emphasised too heavily, and all requiring a reasonable amount of skill. There are three difficulty levels - Easy, Normal and Hard. I only tried Normal, but found it extremely well judged.

 

The graphics in this game are gorgeous. Line thickness, colours and character proportions are all expertly managed. There have been many beautiful hand-drawn 2D games over the years, but this is the first that has truly resonated with me. The Music is catchy, and superbly orchestrated. One thing I particularly loved was the feel of collecting a bag of money. The sound effect, combined with rumble, is pitch perfect. There's never been a more satisfying collectible in a game!

 

Combat is just right. This is a game where shields are genuinely useful for blocking projectiles, and whilst the bosses all have to be struck the same way, there is much variety in avoiding their attacks. The platforming requires some skill, but is not going to frustrate too much. Incidentally, there are six secret areas called "The Unknown", which provide a bit more optional challenge. They're not over-the-top, and have a stiff-but-fair learning curve.

 

As for the exploration, it's not a massive overworld, and the first half of the game flows very smoothly. Speaking of smooth, it's possible to switch between the modern graphics and the 8-bit visuals. Whilst these look basic, the gameplay in this mode runs much more smoothly than the original cartridge.

 

My only complaint is that the game can, at times, be too obscure. It's a short game, designed at a time when a Master System cartridge had to last a fair while. As such, there were moments when I didn't have a clue I had to use new abilities, even though I did actually have them. I would also say a couple of "The Unknown" entry points are overly difficult. Lion Man's, for instance, is hidden by a foreground object in the modern graphics, but visible in 8-bit. And as much as I like the charm of the secret doors, I really feel there could have been some subtle visual clues to highlight their presence. I wouldn't be surprised if Lizardcube had debated how closely to stay accurate to the original game in this case.

 

The Dragon's Trap is extremely faithful to the original, so much so that it is the one game I've played that actually could do with a "Zero Mission" style extra level (ie. return to human form and re-fight the enemy who placed the curse). I was fighting a rather difficult boss last night. Once I'd defeated it, it genuinely took me about 10 seconds to realise I'd completed the game!

 

Nonetheless, the Dragon's Trap is very replayable, just for the sheer enjoyment of it. I've already spent 14 hours playing - 7 hours with the male protagonist; 7 for the female. It serves as a perfect example of how many 8-bit (and 16-bit) games have inherently good designs; they just need a lick of paint and smoothening up. I'm hoping that Lizardcube extends the same treatment to my favourite game in the series, the Mega Drive entry, Wonder Boy in Monster World.

 

Score: 9/10

 

Pros

+ Gorgeous graphics

+ Smooth gameplay and controls

+ Good balance between platforming, combat and exploration

 

Cons

- Obscure at times

 

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C9t-cZqUMAADITb.jpg:large

 

C93DegtVYAA-3HG.jpg:large

 

C-BJCCLUIAQe3qh.jpg:large

 

Edited by Grazza

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Woah! That's a really nice review there @Grazza, nicely done indeed. :)

 

I've been meaning to play this glorious new take on an old classic but I just haven't got around to it yet. :(

 

Reading all the above makes me want to dive right into it though, sooner rather than later. :D

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Fantastic review @Grazza ! You should write for the main site :)

 

Just off the back of completing this and I have to echo all the prase. This is a series I always admired from afar, having only played the Monster Lair arcade game in the early 90s. Eventually, I got round to this and the Megadrive entries on Wii VC and fell in love.

 

Lizardcube have lavished it with just the right level of polish to allow the original core game structure to shine. I'm pretty stunned by how fun and captivating it is, given it's almost unaltered mechanically! That's a testament to the quality of the art - even little touches in character animation seem to clarify hit points and movement, making it more playable. The music is superbly arranged with real intelligence and flare as well.

 

Now to collect the remaining items and charm stones. I think I have a new favourite indy developer :love:

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Looks like a physical release of the game is on the cards.

 

With DotEmu we are now working on doing physical releases. There is an edition we are planning for Asian markets first (China/Korea) and then planning other things for the west, some deals are very close to happening so it may happen soon. We are probably going to do PS4 first because it is easier, while trying to figure out how we can do Switch cartridges.

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Looks like I'll be waiting for that potential physical release then. :)

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This didn't seem to have a thread either.

One of the great early E-shop titles. Getting a (expensive) physical release in january.

Anyway, the latest patch added video capture. I used it to tweet this little trick:

 

Edited by Sméagol
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  • Thanks 1

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6 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

 

I thought there was one, but it doesn't show up on the search.

Mod's can merge my first post, and delete this one (and presumably @Happenstance's post)

Edit: Search doesn't work if you just search for "Wonder Boy" like the lazy arse I am. It shows up if you search for the exact full title.

Edited by Sméagol

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Just now, Sméagol said:

I thought there was one, but it doesn't show up on the search.

Mod's can erge my first post, and delete this one (and presumably @Happenstance's post)

No let's leave my post, it'll be more confusing that way :p

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I bought this in the sale. Not s fan at all. Looks stunning, love the retro option. But the game I just found pretty dull and w bit infuriating. Dying and getting sent back to so far too much of the level over and over again is not my idea of fun in 2017. 

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15 minutes ago, Sméagol said:

I thought there was one, but it doesn't show up on the search.

Mod's can merge my first post, and delete this one (and presumably @Happenstance's post)

Edit: Search doesn't work if you just search for "Wonder Boy" like the lazy arse I am. It shows up if you search for the exact full title.

 

To be fair, I didn't know there was a thread for it either. :p

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34 minutes ago, dazzybee said:

I bought this in the sale. Not s fan at all. Looks stunning, love the retro option. But the game I just found pretty dull and w bit infuriating. Dying and getting sent back to so far too much of the level over and over again is not my idea of fun in 2017. 

If they had put checkpoints in the game it would have ruined it. The game is actually pretty short and it's the challenge of the game that gives the game its length. You're supposed to learn from your mistakes, look around for power ups/items and then do your best to progress forward.

I honestly think a big reason why the game got so much praise was because of the difficulty, much like the Dark Souls series. It's very old school and there's not many games like it these days. Far too many games these days hold the gamers hand and point them exactly where to go. This one doesn't.

@Grazza have you read the Q&A that ResetEra organised with the makers of the game? It's quite a good read.

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Wow, @Sméagol I had no idea you could do that trick though. That's really cool. So, what? Do you just keep spamming the "switch art style" button?

Edited by Glen-i

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