Together Retro: Wonder Boy/Adventure Island

tr-wonderboy-adventure-island

Presented by Fastbilly & Racketboy
New To Together Retro? Check out the introduction to the club

Wonder Boy, Adventure Island, Wonder Boy, Adventure Island.   Whichever one you choose, you are in for a fantastic time.  Two games that are so strikingly similar it is scary.  What is the cause for this duality of gaming?  Why do skateboards come out of eggs?  And where is that guys shirt?  More, and the weather, at 5.

wonderboy-adventure-island-

History

Where to start with this?  Wonder Boy is a game that a lot of gamers have played but they may not know it.  The original game was released by Sega and Westone for the arcade in 1986.  Sega owned the rights to the characters; Tomtom, Tanya and the gang, but Westone owned the rights to everything else.  So Westone approached Hudson Soft and released the game again as Adventure Island, starring our good friend Master Higgins.  Little do most gamers know, the game was later released by Tectoy in Portugal.  However, once again, the main character was changed, this time to comic book heroine Monica from Monica’s Gang.

Wonder Boy was created as a mid 80s arcade platformer.  The weapons you’re provided with often do not make sense (hello skateboarding Caveman), you collect fruit to get a high score, and the two player mode is alternative play (Which means that while it did age poorly, the gameplay is still intact).  When initially released, it was given high praise and accolades, but was also criticized for being a bit too similar to Super Mario Brothers.

Legacy

Wonder Boy spawned a series of sequels, as did Adventure Island.  The Wonder Boy sequels are a mix of genres, but they are all have the same charm of the first one.  Regardless of any RPG elements added, they all still have that mid 80s charm that died so long ago.

Releases

As Wonderboy:

  • Arcade – 1986
  • Sega SG 1000 – 1986
  • Master System – 1987
  • Commodore 64 – 1987
  • ZX Spectrum – 1987
  • Amstrad CPC – 1987
  • Game Gear – 1990
  • Wii Virtual Console – 2008

As Adventure Island:

  • NES – 1988
  • MSX – 1988*
  • Gameboy – 1992
  • Gamecube/PS2 – 2003 – Hudson Select volume 4
  • GBA – 2004
  • Wii Virtual Console – 2007
  • *Not able to confirm date from multiple sources

Gameplay

Since it was made in the mid 80s, it Wonder Boy plays like a mid80s platformer.  It is Mario inspired, plays alittle loose – the character slides a bit, and it can be very brutal sometimes.  You get hit and you are dead, unless you are riding the skateboard (then you can get hit twice) or have a fairy (superstar).  You have a “vitality” bar in the top middle of the screen which is your timer.  It is increased by picking up the random fruit that appears throughout the stage and is decreased by stubbing your toe on the rocks all over the world, or by standing still.  Being a platformer from this era also means that level design goes from being nice to mean with no middle ground.  There are several places were precision jumping at the fastest speed is the only way through.  So if you are a platformer fan, you are in for a treat.

Controls

Joystick – Movement
Button 1 – Jump
Button 2 – Attack

Emulation Help

Racketboy Emulation Forum

Together Retro Discussion

Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play some Wonder Boy or Adventure Island and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your favorite parts, your successes and your failures.
Discuss The Game In The Forum

8 Comments

  1. d says:

    Actually I dislike this game. it´s just too simple/old/frustrating, but if you like it get this:
    Sega Ages vol. 29 http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/segaages/segaages8.htm
    The other Wonderboy games are much better
    240p and 480p modes supported
    Westone rules. Wonderboy III is the best Wonderboy eva.

  2. Heider says:

    “Little do most gamers know, the game was later released by Tectoy in Portugal. However, once again, the main character was changed, this time to comic book heroine Monica from Monica’s Gang.”

    Tectoy is a brazilian enterprise. Turma da Mônica (Monica’s Gang) is the most famous comedy comic book in Brazil. Something like our Calvin and Hobbes, or even Peanuts ^^

  3. Patrick says:

    Wonder Boy 3 is one of the best SMS games. Bloody hard though

  4. The game was released by TecToy in Brazil, not in Portugal… same language, but not the same country 😛

    From the Wikipedia article:

    “In 1993, the game was released in Brazil by Tec Toy for the Master System under the title Turma da Mônica em o Resgate, with the game retooled to include characters from Brazilian comic book series Monica’s Gang (Turma da Mônica)”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Boy_III:_The_Dragon's_Trap

  5. Wow, strange coincidence. I just did a first impressions video over on my blog about Wonder Boy in Monster World. Was a little tricky early on (darn timed jumps) but I enjoyed it overall. Actually working on a write-up for it now.

  6. Humberto says:

    The “Mônica” game was released in Brazil, by Tectoy (a brazilian company, responsible for Sega’s representation in Brazil), not Portugal. Also, it wasn’t the FIRST Wonderboy game (the ‘Adventure Island’ one), but the others from the Wonderboy series, the ones Sega made with the characters but with another gameplay style (Wonderboy in Monsterland), because Sega didn’t owned the gameplay style, only the characters (as you already said).
    Another interesting thing is that Master Higgins is actually based on a real person, our beloved Hudson Soft executive, Takahashi ‘Meijin’. He could press a button 16 times in one second o.O.. Well, actually he could only do that by trembling his entire hand, it was bizarre.. but cool anyway

  7. Alienjesus says:

    Wonder Boy is one of my all-time favourite retro game series, it has some absolutely fantastic games in it. And yet it just seems so forgotten, especially compared to Adventure Island, which is actually just a port of the frst game. Maybe it’s because Adventure Island was on Nintendo? Maybe it’s because Adventure Island kept the same gameplay all through, whereas wonder boy had a mini genre identity crisis with each game? Either way, it’s a shame the series is out of peoples minds. It’s not even been on any sega compilations. I wonder if they still own the rights? I’d imagine they do though, with the series being on VC

  8. elmagicochrisg says:

    You forgot Super Adventure Island (SNES) in the releases.

    For shame…