Wonder Boy, Commodore 64

Wonder Boy on the C64 is a conversion of the 1986 Sega arcade game. It was developed by Images Design for Activision and published in 1987.

Although it is a reasonably playable game, it does lack a lot of the details of the arcade original. Wonder Boy‘s movement isn’t the same as in the arcade game – particularly when he gets on a skateboard. In fact: he seems to move a fair bit slower in this conversion, which makes it considerably easier to play than the arcade game.

The inertia needed to make higher jumps is at least present and correct in this conversion, and you can run faster (and therefore jump further) if you hold down the fire button as you run.

The clouds that cycle from the top of the screen to the bottom (thus creating a platform below you that you can then use to cross a gap) have a disconcerting delay in re-appearing, which is the cause of some frustration.

The backgrounds in the ice cave levels are way too bright and busy – so much so that they make the overlaid sprites difficult to see. A little bit of thought in this area would’ve been good… Another thing that is annoying about these sections is that the ice spikes, that drop down and can kill you, move much faster than those in the arcade version and can’t be avoided by running past them – you have to turn around to dodge them. It does make me wonder if the programmers of this conversion actually paid much attention to the arcade original, or decided to “fix” it (which they shouldn’t have done).

The boss battles are a bit pathetic, with the bosses shuffling backwards and forwards gormlessly. Collision detection in these boss fights is also a bit suspect.

Overall, this conversion of Wonder Boy isn’t very good to be honest. Graphically, it’s a bit lame, and isn’t particularly authentic to the original. It does have some charm, but is a bit half-baked as conversions go. It’s not particularly memorable or enjoyable.

More: Wonder Boy on Wikipedia

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