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(TurboGrafx CD version) The graphics have been reworked for this version - presumably due to some weird licensing brouhaha between Sega and Hudson - but the game is otherwise no different which, much like my leather ceiling harness, puts me in a very odd position. It's a pretty great game, you see. A platform game with RPG undertones that, while never as great as Zelda, is still a million times more charming and fun than most of its early 90s peers. But then, because this was a CD game for the Turbo Duo, they've nudged the price up to 800. So you get the same game, for the same price, but with clearer music and an animated intro. Contain yourselves.
It reminded me most of the time I first fired up Chrono Trigger back when SNES emulation was still a newfangled treat, and discovered that it was every bit as great as I remembered it. Wonder Boy has that same compelling and confident genre-straddling design, backed up by well-tuned gameplay and just the right amount of depth to keep you playing and exploring. With Paper Mario still AWOL in Europe, this makes for a surprisingly effective temporary replacement, ticking many of the same boxes and thoroughly deserving the 800 Wii Points it'll cost you to download.
The graphics are beautiful, with lush, scrolling backgrounds, a bright color palette, and a good amount of detail. The sprite animations are quite good, and the end result gives the game a unique feel, submerging players in this fantastical land. Complementing the delightful visuals is an even more impressive soundtrack. It has an orchestral feel to it, and each area in the game has its own music. The music really sets the mood for the adventure, which is most enjoyable. Wonder Boy in Monster World is a worthy addition to the Virtual Console library. Action and RPG elements are rarely combined with as much success as in this game.
When Wonder Boy in Monster World first came to the VC last Spring, our contributing reviewer Mark Birnbaum awarded it a final score of 8.0 and a hearty recommendation. And as The Dynastic Hero is essentially the same game, it would perhaps be easiest to give it the same grade. But, interestingly, playing this version of the design doesn't inspire the same confidence in me that Wonder Boy must have in Mark. I find a different game in the series to be more compelling, actually – Dragon's Curse, which is also on the VC but offers a more unique gameplay mechanic focused on morphing into different character types. If you're going to download a repainted TurboGrafx Wonder Boy game, I'd recommend that one over The Dynastic Hero, especially since it's two bucks less in the Shop.
You probably won't be blown away by anything you see or do in Wonder Boy in Monster World. Nevertheless, its levels are well designed, the boss fights are challenging, and the graphics and audio exude a sort of cutesy charm that makes going through the whole quest a thoroughly pleasant experience.