Wonder Boy

Wonder Boy is a 1986 video game published by Sega and developed by Escape. It was the first in a long-running series of games and was followed up by five sequels, Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap, Wonder Boy in Monster World and Monster World IV.

Originally designed for arcades, it was later ported to the SG-1000, Sega Mark III/Master System and the Game Gear by Sega, and to the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC by Activision.

The “Wonder Boy” in question is a nameless character (called “Tom-Tom” in most localizations) – a tribal caveman-like boy whose girlfriend by the name of “Tina” (renamed “Tanya” in certain ports) has been captured by the dark King (sometimes known as Drancon). The player must guide the Wonder Boy through seven “areas”, each consisting of four “rounds”. The levels are made up of forests, hills, oceans, caves, ice palaces and occasionally mountains lands. The levels always run from left-to-right, with some vertical movement.

The boy can arm himself with a stone hatchet, which he can throw at oncoming foes, a skateboard with which he can rush through the levels and survive one attack by an enemy, and temporary protection by an angel which allows him to destroy foes by simply running into them. All of the aforementioned power-ups are obtained by breaking open eggs. These eggs can also contain unpleasant surprises – curses which cause him to lose vitality more quickly than usual, and poisonous mushrooms which reduce the boy’s vitality in one go. “Bad eggs” can be easily spotted, as they are covered in red spots, whereas “good eggs” that contain hatchets, skateboards and angels are plain white. The player must remain aware of the vitality meter, which constantly runs down at a steady pace and can only be refilled by collecting fruit throughout the level. There is also one doll to collect in each level, which doubles the bonus points awarded at the end of the level and, as already mentioned, if all dolls are collected “hidden levels” are unlocked.

At the end of every “area” (thus every four “rounds”), the boy will encounter an incarnation of the chief antagonist as a boss character. Once defeated, the mighty lord’s mask flies off and transforms into an item such as a tea cup or a piece of fruit for the boy to collect. The evil witch doctor then subsequently makes his escape.

A two-player mode was available, but as per many arcade titles of the era, it was a version of the one-player mode whereby each player would take alternate turns between lives.

The game also contained an hidden eighth area, which could be accessed by collecting every one of the 28 dolls in the game.

Check out this Wonder Boy playthrough below