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SummaryThe Wonder Boy series just keeps getting better and better
The GoodI liked Wonder Boy ever since I brought the game for my old C64, which I played to the best of my ability, but I never got around to completing it. The same went when I brought Wonder Boy in Monster Land, which I brought a couple of years later. Unfortunately, the C64 versions were much worse than their Sega Master System counterparts. I just read about a Wonder Boy III in a magazine, but it was only released for the SMS, and I only checked this one out when I played the game through Massage. Fortunately, I don't use this emulator anymore, but I use MEKA instead (named after the final boss in Wonder Boy in Monster Land), designed by Omar Cornut. You've got to hand it to him - he tries his best to get every SMS game playable in his emulator, so every SMS game that is stored on one of my CDs work.
In Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, you start the game off as Hu-Man, not Tom-Tom like in the first two games. The game lets you relive the situation where you defeated the MEKA dragon in the last game. But only this time, the path that you must follow to get to him has changed, and when you defeat MEKA, you won't restore peace to the land, but instead, you are transformed into Lizard-Man if the blue flame it produced touches you, and you must get out of the castle and head to the village. And it is not just MEKA that you defeat. You see, there are about six dragons that you need to defeat in WB3, and for each dragon you defeat, you will get turned into other creatures. You have Mouse-Man, Piranha-Man, Lion-Man, and Hawk-Man. No matter which character that you are, you'll explore jungles, aztec temples, castles, and ship wrecks. You also even get to go underwater.
Pressing the pause button on the joypad will give you access to your inventory. Here, you can select what sword, shield, or armor you wish to use, plus any other weapons besides your sword, including fireballs, tornatoes, arrows, lightning, or boomerangs. Just before you defeat MEKA, I suggest that you collect the numerous gold coins that it gives out, as these will help you buy these three essential things in shops. (Me, I like to save up on gold coins until I have enough to buy all the shit that I want.) Each of these items has attack power, defense power, and charm point rating, and the higher the ratings, the better you become. Unfortunately, since you first become Lizard-Man, you won't be needing any shields, swords, or armor, so it's best to buy them and then save them for situations where you do need them. You will also need to collect charm stones on your journey so that you can buy any special items that you come across.
As usual, with any previous Wonder Boy game, there are a horde of enemies that are waiting for you to defeat with your weaponry. All of these characters besides Lizard-Man can yield any weaponry that you got. (Lizard-Man can breathe out fire, so there's no need for any weaponry here.) Of course, being shot or touched by enemies will result in you losing some life, but how much life you lose will depend on the enemy's attack power. If you defeat an enemy, you are likely to find a gold coin, a weapon, or a charm stone. You start the game with only one potion, so if you suddenly run out of life, that potion will be used to restore life back to its fullest. You can get more potions by purchasing them in shops, but the maximum number of potions you can have is three. Another way to restore life is to enter hospitals and ask to be cured. The nurse there will be happy to cure you, as long as you have the dough. In Wonder Boy in Monster Land, you can exit and re-enter the same shop only four times (approx.) before the owner decides to shut it down, but fortunately, in WB3, you can do this as many times as you like without it being shut down.
If you do lose all your life but have no potions left, you have the option of continuing, but in order to continue, you must match the white square with a red heart, not an yellow one, because if you do, you'll lose. However, your safest option is to get a password which can be obtained by entering the very first building in the village, and what password that you use will determine which character that you'll resume as. During your journey, you have to enter some doors that have a red- or green-colored lock on them, and can only be opened by going into secret treasure rooms and opening the chest to get a key that will have it unlock. But since these are treasure chests, it is likely that you find a lot of gold, potions, or weapons, or maybe a combination of the three.
You will be faced with some puzzles, which mainly be only done with other characters and getting special items that will overcome hazards. If you're Mouse-Man, for example, you'll be able to scale checkerboard blocks , and get through very small gaps. Piranha-Man can swim himself underwater with ease. Lion-Man can use his sword to get rid of gold blocks, and Hawk-Man can fly up to places that go beyond the game screen. If necessary, you'll find the transformation room where you can change into these characters, if some places require a certain character. As for special items, they will help you overcome obstacles. The Dragon Mail, for example, will let you walk through lava, whereas the Magical Sabre and the Thunder Sabre will let you deal with other blocks.
Whatever character that you're currently playing as, they are bigger in size compared to WBML, whee your character is small. The graphics themselves look a bit detailed, slightly better than the last game. The dragons and enemies are well done. The sound itself is excellent as well.
The BadThe final two bosses will take a massive amount of damage to be defeated - took me almost an hour to kill them.
The Bottom LineYou know, there is a version of WB3 for the PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 out there called Dragon's Curse, which is a much better title than the The Dragon's Trap, and contains better sound and graphics than the SMS version.