Author Topic: Wonderboy Series  (Read 1453 times)

nat

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Wonderboy Series
« on: February 08, 2011, 02:22:42 PM »
Due to popular demand the below text has been made into it's own thread and stickied for easy reference.


The series started as the "Wonderboy" series, as developed by Westone for SEGA. Due to licensing issues what with SEGA retaining the rights to the "Wonderboy" name and Westone retaining rights to the actual game, the games are named something different on nearly every platform they were ported to. Sometimes they even differ in name on the same platform, between regions.

Without going into things too much, here's a quick legend for you:

Wonderboy (1st game)
Wonderboy (SMS)
Adventure Island (NES)

Wonderboy in Monsterland (2nd game)
Super Wonderboy in Monsterland (SMS)
Bikkuriman World (PCE/TG16 JP)

Wonderboy III: Monster Lair (3rd game)
Wonderboy III: Monster Lair (PCE/TG16 JP, Genesis)
Monster Lair (PCE/TG16 US)

The Dragon's Trap (4th game)
Wonderboy III: The Dragon's Trap (SMS US)
Monster World II (SMS JP)
Adventure Island (PCE/TG16 JP)
Dragon's Curse (PCE/TG16 US)

Wonderboy V: Monster World III (5th game)
Wonderboy V: Monster World III (Genesis JP)
Wonderboy in Monster World (Genesis US)
Dynastic Hero (PCE/TG16 both regions)

There are other platforms these games appeared on, but I listed the main/most common ones here. Only the first game saw a port on the NES. Speaking of the first game, it's also the only game that didn't make it to the PCE/TG16. The Turbo game New Adventure Island is very similar to the first Wonderboy, and it could be viewed as a "remake" of the original with greatly improved graphics (added parallax) and level changes. Some of the level cues are taken directly from the first game but it's not a straight port by any means.

As you can see from the list, "Adventure Island" on the NES and "Adventure Island" on the PCE were actually ports of different games in the series. You might also know that 3 sequels were made on the NES (Adventure Island 2, 3 & 4). These games have nothing to do with the "Wonderboy" series and were spin-offs done by Hudson (not Westone). This spin-off series continued on the SNES and eventually the Wii.

There was a 6th game on the Genesis called "Monster World IV." The "Wonderboy" name was dropped from the title on that final game (probably because the hero is a girl) so it's technically not a part of the series.

Screenshot Comparisons

Wonderboy

Left to right, top to bottom: Arcade, SEGA Master System, NES (Adventure Island), TurboGrafx-16 (New Adventure Island)




« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 04:56:24 PM by nat »

Tatsujin

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2011, 03:06:09 PM »
 :clap:

Also to mention the two 2 sequels were made on the SNES/SFC (Super Adventure Island 1 & 2 aka Takahashi Meijin no Daiboukenjima 1 & 2 (高橋名人の大冒険島1&2)). These games have nothing to do with the "Wonderboy" series and were spin-offs done by Hudson (not Westone).

Here also the Japanese equivalent for the respective titles (so far only one for FC)

Wonderboy (1st game)
Wonderboy (SMS)
Adventure Island (NES) Oversea
Takahashi Meijin no Boukenjima (高橋名人の冒険島) (FC) Japan
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esteban

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 03:12:03 PM »
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 03:15:03 PM by esteban »
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vestcoat

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 03:14:10 PM »
Very nice!

Two clarifications:
1)  It never came to the U.S., but don't forget that the 5th game was also released on the SMS as "Wonderboy in Monster World."
2)  Some SMS carts of the 2nd game read simply "Wonderboy in Monsterland" while others read "Super Wonderboy in Monsterland."  There is no difference between them.

At the risk of muddying the water once more, fans may also be interested in the following:
*Whomp 'Em (NES) - Sequel to the unlicensed, Japanese clone of Wonderboy in Monsterland called Saiyuki World; an entirely new Mega Man style game.
*New Adventure Island (TG16) - another Hudson sequel/spinoff, notable because it's the closest thing to the 1st game on a NEC console.
*JJ and Jeff (TG16) - Unrelated game that plays like Adventure Island.
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Tatsujin

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 03:23:01 PM »
It always amazes me how the PCE port of WB in monsterland aka Bikkuriman world is such true arcade port regarded to the BGs. even the color palette is so damn accurate.

Almost same thing can be said for the monsterlair port (minus some minor color changes (drops) and parallax). The redrawn grafx from the MD looks so shoddy and frowsy compared.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 03:51:10 PM by Tatsujin »
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nat

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 03:51:16 PM »
Just for clarification: the intent of the "guide" isn't to list every single permutation of the Wonderboy games, it's simply to provide examples of some of the name changes the games underwent in various regions on various consoles, while highlighting the entries that came out on the Turbo. I'm aware (and even own) many of the other variations.

To list every single Wonderboy-related game in the initial post would make things far too confusing for those looking to get into the series, but feel free to use the thread to discuss such titles. :)

It always amazes me how the PCE port of WB in monsterland aka Bikkuriman world is such true arcade port regarded to the BGs. even the color palette is so damn accurate.

Almost same thing can be said for the monsterlair port (minus some minor color changes (drops) and parallax). The redrawn grafx from the MD looks so shoddy and frowsy compared.

Agreed. Speaking of which, I plan to update the first post here with some screenshot comparisons of the games across different platforms as I have time.

What I find interesting in the comparisons I posted of the first game, is that the graphics of the NES port are actually much closer to the arcade original than the Master System graphics. Granted, the SMS graphics are colored better, but they appear re-drawn for the most part. Only the sprites appear redrawn in the NES port, with the background tiles taken straight & recolored.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 04:14:52 PM by nat »

Tatsujin

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 05:02:37 PM »
It seems that hudson ports of Wonderboy game used (could use) often the arcade pendant as a template, unlike Sega which did everything re-drawn.

This applies so far for adventure island (FC), bikkuriman world (PCE) & monster lair (PCE). also dragon's curse uses lot of exact tiles from its SMS pendant.

That is kinda strange, since sega was much closer to the rights of westone than hudson, which was more of a game thief. Nevertheless Hudson could/did use so much elements straight out of the original game, that they are far more arcade faithful than the MD ports.

Also I still wonder why hudson got the rights for a full arcade wonderboy monster lair, but not for any others of the serie? I think Meijin talked once about that.

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nat

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 06:15:05 PM »
Well, they clearly had license to all the "full" games, just not the Wonderboy name in all cases. I'm pretty sure it all had to do with SEGA. SEGA owned the rights to the Wonderboy name, at least in the case of the first two games. Westone owned the games themselves. Westone licensed the games to Hudson for NES/TG-16 porting purposes. Since they couldn't actually put the "Wonderboy" label on them, they "made" them part of other franchises.

In the case of Wonderboy in Monsterland, this involved changing the artwork for a few of the bosses to tie in with the alternate franchise. Since Westone owned the license to the actual games, I'm pretty sure they could have used all the original boss artwork if they'd wanted to (all the other enemies in the game are from the SEGA/Westone original), but then the game wouldn't have tied in to the Bikkuriman franchise.

In the case of the third game, Monster Lair, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Westone owned the rights not only to the game itself, but also the name which is why it's the only WB game on the Turbo that actually has "Wonderboy" in the title.

The fourth game, Dragon's Curse, again dropped the Wonderboy marquee for the non-SEGA ports but none of the characters were changed as they were with Monsterland. This further supports the theory that Hudson and Westone would've been free to use all original boss art in the Monsterland port if they'd chosen to do so.

Long story short, I don't believe it had so much to do with the fact that they didn't have full rights to the games (I believe they did), but rather that SEGA wouldn't relinquish rights to the "Wonderboy" name in most cases and as a result select characters were changed to fit with the new IP.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 06:17:33 PM by nat »

Tatsujin

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 06:32:20 PM »
Thanks a lot for your facts and thoughts.

All those facts and mysteries sure make this serie one of the most interesting serie to dig around.
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Joe Redifer

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 08:24:38 PM »
The SMS version was called Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, not simply "The Dragon's Trap".  The SMS version of part 2 was called Wonder Boy in Monster Land though the cartridge itself said Super Wonder Boy Super Monster Land.  The proper name of the NES version is "Hudson's Adventure Island".

guyjin

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 07:58:43 PM »
thanks for this, nat :)
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chris leach

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2011, 03:25:43 AM »
Wonderboy is one of my favorite arcade machines of all time.  I remeber there was a Wonderboy machine at the local skate arena when I was a child and I would get so good at that game on 1 quarter.  Maybe better at the game than skating, but hey...I paid to get in to the arena just as well as you did!
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rag-time4

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2011, 05:31:11 PM »
I think we need more screen shot comparisons, for clarification's sake, of course!!

Joe Redifer

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2011, 07:25:34 PM »
Don't forget my video dedicated to all things Wonderboy.


meka

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Re: Wonderboy Series
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2012, 07:38:08 PM »
Wonderboy 3 The Dragon's Trap is my favourite game, played both the PCE and SMS versions, I preferred the SMS version because I played that as a kid.