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Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (SEGA Master System)

86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Staffan Bengtsson (4)
Written on  :  Apr 15, 2003
Platform  :  SEGA Master System

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Summary

Only platform rpg I know, one of the best games I played

The Good

I never fully understood what I liked so much with this game back in the old days. It was recently when replaying it for the tenth time I suddenly realised that it was the rpg aspects of the game that caught me in all thoose years ago. It was many years later I grew into a full-grown rpg fan.

Anyway, whats really the no:1 speciality in Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap is its 'non-linearity'. Thoose that really know that non-linearity is about will probably laugh at me when I declare this game to be non-linear, but let me finish. In Wonder Boy 3 you start in a town centre, and from there you can explore several worlds that all ends with a dragon that you must defeat to continue. Although you must take the dragons in a special order, you can visit each place at a much earlier stage, perhaps finding stuff that will help you when you are 'weak'. Later on you revisit the place after discovering new special abilities that lets you go further in that area into places you couldnt reach before.

This is truly unique for a platform game, and I have never seen anything like it.

The RPG bit is simple. You dont gain levels, but you can buy better armor, sword and shield that makes your life more easy. A few 'special' items can be found, such as a dragon mail (protection from lava) and thunder sabre (smashes stones). Theese also let you pass where you could not pass before.

The graphics is, for its time, really a piece of art. Compare this game to your average Nintendo game such as Super Mario and you will really see the difference.

The music is, if you like synthetic tunes, catchy, and you find yourself whistle the tunes after you finished the game.

The Bad

There is nothing bad I can say about this game. It is one of the most flawless game in time. Only its age and ageing graphics/sound can stop someone to like it, but that doesnt belong in a 'classic' review such as this one.

The Bottom Line

Wonder Boy 3: Dragons Trap is the only platform game with rpg elements I know about. It all starts with a hero (Wonder Boy) that smashed his way all through Monsterland to reach the Meka Dragon. (this bit is in Wonder Boy 2: Monsterland) After killing it, he is victim of the dragons curse that transforms him into a Dragon himself.

Finding himself into his new shape, he learns about an magical artefact that may restore him into his true form. The bad part is that the one that protects it is known as the vampire dragon and lives in a castle in the sky, unreachable to any landwalking creatures, however, all the dragons cousins have a similiar curse that is thrown upon whomever slays them. The curses transforms the unlucky hero to various animal forms.

The good part is that theese animal forms helps the victim to access places unreachable by human beings. For example the mouse can sneak through small holes and climb on walls. The piranha man can swim under water, and the lion man can with his brute strength shatter stone. All theese special abilities helps the player to solve the quest to reach the artefact.

The gameplay is like your traditional platform game, except that you can obtain better and better items such as shields, armor and swords. There are some unique items that you can find that gives you special powers. There are also spells that you can use, often to reach enemies from distance.