While most kids in my neighbourhood were bouncing off red and green turtles and collecting mushrooms, my gaming career was heading down a slightly different path; one that was filled with vitality. After brushing aside an old Spectrum and moving up to a Sega Master System (big news at the time), Wonder Boy in Monster Land blew my mind. It had wonderful sound, pretty graphics, a control pad that worked and – to my amazement – no loading times. The title ‘Wonder Boy in Monster Land’ also drew me in like a moth to a lit light bulb, too. How could a game based in Monster Land not be awesome?
The original Wonder Boy game played out more like a traditional left-to-right platform game (a Mario clone you might say), but the sequel opened up the world for a little exploration. Throw in the RPG system of using coins to buy better equipment and weapons, and the replay possibilities were endless. Should you spend your coins on a better sword or a shield? Or should you buy better shoes to move faster? It was all too much for my tiny little mind to take in.
Some serious platforming skills were still needed, though, as well as the ability to time your sword attacks just right on enemies – especially those end-of-level-bosses – that danced in your face. The purple bats were particularly tricky to nail down sometimes, especially when you’re trying to traverse mid-air platforms. Adding to the whole experience was the brilliantly coloured environment, which was a lot more bright and cheery than a monster land probably should be. The blue skies and orange caves were littered with secrets for you to discover as well.
Thanks to the wonders of Nintendo’s Virtual Console on Wii, my memories of Wonder Boy in Monster Land are still as fresh as they were in my childhood. If you’ve got some Wii Points burning a hole in your wallet, you could do a lot worse than revisit this action-platforming classic.