Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap is a platform action game developed by Westone and published by Sega in 1992. It is considered to be one of the best games on both the Master System and the Game Gear.
The game takes place immediately after the events of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, where Wonder Boy travels to the lair of the Mecha Dragon – to slay him – but ends up being inflicted with a curse that turns him into a lizard. This is depicted at the beginning of this game, during the playable prologue, which leads Wonder Boy on a journey to remove the curse and return to his normal, half-naked human self. This involves exploration of a non-linear series of levels in which Wonder Boy searches for clues needed to gain access to certain parts of Monster Land.
By defeating enemies and plundering treasure chests Wonder Boy can earn gold which he can then spend in shops on better equipment. He can also heal his heart meter at hospitals, if it’s running low. Some items – the ones with question marks on them – can only be bought if the player has “charm”, which can be increased by collecting charm stones, or by equipping certain special items.
During his adventures Wonder Boy will also find himself changing into different forms as he progresses, each of which have different abilities. Some can fly, others can breathe fire or swim underwater, and by transforming into these different forms he can get to places he otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap is an engaging mixture of platforming and role-playing game that translates perfectly to the Game Gear. The graphics are cute and colourful; the music is jolly and well-produced, and the gameplay is nicely-balanced and absorbing. It’s definitely one of the best games on Sega‘s diminutive handheld.
Note: in its native Japan this game is known as “Monster World II: Dragon no Wana“.