A remake of the Master System classic, a beloved metroidvania-style game that pushed the boundaries of what the Master System was thought to be capable of. I have a lot of nostalgia for the original, especially its soundtrack which is among my favourites.
Holy shit, this remake. I can’t overstate how emotional I became when I first started playing this game- I’d known about the remake for a long time and could obviously see it’s fricken gorgeous, but to actually play it for myself and see all the TINY details that went into making it the best representation of Wonderboy it could be, I was blown away.
The entire soundtrack has been remastered with live instruments and it sounds utterly superb– and in a really nice extra touch, with the push of a single button you can swap all the graphics and sound back to the retro versions at any time. I’ve especially enjoyed being able to show midgi the differences- and how much they managed to keep the SAME, too, while bringing it up to date. One of my favourite new features is how the dungeon music now has a different version for each of the themed dungeons- the haunting, desolate version that plays in the sunken shipwreck is a personal fave.
I already mentioned it, but the visuals are stunning. To see the game in motion is an experience akin to watching a wonderful animated sequence. From the way the backgrounds scroll to the subtle little turning animation each animal form has when you change direction while running, there’s no end of tiny details to catch.
I also really, really appreciate the addition of Wondergirl as a playable option. You only play as the human form of your character for 10 minutes before (spoilers) they fall into the Dragon’s Trap and are cursed into various animal forms, but they added an entire set of graphics and animations for her anyway- and didn’t give her animal forms any awkward lizard-boobs or make them uncomfortably sexualised. Commendable work.
The gameplay itself then- this is a through-and-through, frame-perfect recreation of the original game, warts and all- you’ll need a taste for slightly wonky retro platformer combat to get the most out of this one, as an early entry in a burgeoning genre of game. They did add difficulty options, but playing through on Easy I’m not really noticing a great deal of difference- probably enemy attacks are a little less damaging, but the trickiness hasn’t changed. Still, once you’re used to Wondergirl’s heavy movements and short reach, it plays very well.
Fin or Bin:
Time to wrap this one up then- I will OBVIOUSLY be Finishing this one, and will doubtlessly revisit it many times in years to come. I bought it with the OST included and it’s worth the purchase for that alone.