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Reviews (N-Z)

Wonder Boy

986 (1-2 Players)



Overview and game play

Wonder boy is a cartoon style platform game for 1-2 players that was popular in the arcades and was converted to the Amiga home computer shortly after its release. One coin is required per player and the player’s objective is to guide wonder boy through various terrains collecting fruit and other items while destroying enemies he encounters. The game begins with wonder boy standing in a forest wearing nothing but a loincloth, (Tarzan Style). Moving right on the joystick causes wonder boy to move in that direction and the screen will continue to scroll as wonder boy progresses. Moving the joystick left will cause him to move left until he reaches the edge of the screen, which will not scroll backwards beyond the visible area. Wonder boy moves at an ordinary walking pace but if button 1 is pressed while walking, wonder boy will run. The ability to run is a welcome game play feature as it is necessary in some sections of the game and also when wonder boy’s vitality is low and he needs feeding urgently. One can tell if what wonder boy’s vitality is by seeing a vitality gauge in the top right hand corner of the game area. Every time wonder boy eats some fruit or other edible, he gains some vitality. Fruits appear throughout the game and are often situated high above wonder boy’s head. The player can make wonder boy jump by pressing button 2 but if button 2 is pressed while he is running he will jump higher. As the game progresses, jumping well becomes vital to the players’ success. Moving platforms are in many areas and pixel perfect timing is an important skill to avoid loosing a life.



Wonder boy can obtain weapons and other power-ups by coming into contact with large eggs that can be found on his journey. The first egg he finds provides him with a stone hammer and an unlimited supply of hammers can be thrown at enemies by pressing button 1. Other eggs reveal different benefits such as a skateboard to travel on or a fairy godmother that floats alongside wonder boy making him invincible to enemies for a brief period. Contact with enemies or falling through a gap in the ground or into water means the instant loss of one of the 3 lives the player starts with. Similarly, if wonder boy’s vitality reaches zero, he will also loose a life. 

In some parts of the game, a Russian doll can be found and at the end of each stage a points bonus is awarded for the number of dolls the player has collected and for the remaining vitality the player has



The cartoon style graphics in wonder boy are quite cute and pleasant. The smooth scrolling backgrounds contain minimal details but have some varied and interesting areas including a forest, a hill, some totem poles and a sea covered place. Numerous obstacles designed to inhibit wonder boy’s progress are strewn across each level such as rocks and enemies ranging from wasps, snails and squids to swordfishes, shaman and frogs. The animations of the enemies are about average for 1986, when the game was released, but for wonder boy there are some special animations that make his movements better and sometimes humourous. One of the power ups wonder boy can collect is a skateboard, (complete with a dark blue helmet). As wonder boy rides the skateboard he holds out his arms similar to a bird in flight to maintain his balance. A nice animation is also used when wonder boy tries to stop his skateboard by putting his weight on the back end of the board, causing the front end to lift up.




Cheerful, chip-based music plays throughout the game that is of average quality for the mid 80’s. There are sound effects for most actions on screen such as collecting fruit and jumping that add something to the game.



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