Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Arcade

There were two Wonder Boy sequels released in 1988 – both prefixed with the title “Wonder Boy III“. There was this game – Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair – released into arcades, and also Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap for the Sega Master System. Both were developed by Westone and published by Sega.

This one is an auto-scrolling platform game with shoot ’em up sections, and – to be honest – it is nowhere near as interesting as The Dragon’s Trap, although it’s not a bad game.

In this game Wonder Boy is continually being pushed forward by a scrolling screen that only stops for a boss battle at the end of each stage. Just like the first Wonder Boy game: you must keep eating food to keep your vitality up, or lose a life. Along the way Wonder Boy can pick up various weapons to blast enemies that get in his way. Wonder Boy still holds a sword, only he doesn’t really use it. Weapons include rockets, rotating blades, wide-spreading rings, and a focused laser beam. Unfortunately these power-ups don’t last very long so Wonder Boy must often revert to his puny bullet-firing default weapon, and when it comes time to take on a boss battle it does leave you wondering why they even bothered with these extra weapons, because they are so short-lived.

After reaching the end of a side-scrolling platform section you then enter the mouth of a large skull and the game then switches to a shoot ’em up section with Wonder Boy riding a dragon and facing waves of flying enemies. At the end of these sections he then faces a boss battle, and some of these are ridiculously tough – especially without any extra weapons at your disposal. If the game ends at least you can continue where you left off by putting more coins into the machine.

The only real saving grace of this rather disappointing sequel is the simultaneous two-player mode, which is good fun and makes the game a lot easier. The second player plays as a pink princess called Purapril. Otherwise: Monster Lair is an unremarkable but playable game.

More: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair on Wikipedia

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