Last year, ININ Games released a smaller Wonder Boy Collection for fans to enjoy, featuring a small handful of titles to enjoy – including the original Sega game that started it all. But now, with its Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection, it’s really gone into “director’s cut” mode with six classic games spread across 21 (!) versions.
The bad part about this is that there’s no upgrade path for the previous game, which seems like a shame given people may have bought that one already. However, if you didn’t invest in it just yet, this is the definitive one for Wonder Boy fans, especially considering all the classic bases it covers.
What’s In the Collection?
So the Collection covers six key titles, as follows:
- Wonder Boy (6 versions)
- Wonder Boy in Monster Land (4 versions)
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (2 versions)
- Wonder Boy III: The Dragon‘s Trap (4 versions)
- Wonder Boy in Monster World (3 versions)
- Monster World IV (2 versions)
While it seems odd that there are some minor titles missing (including key TurboGrafx releases – must be a rights thing), what’s left standing is still a terrific compilation that literally covers every base you could want covered.
The Dragon’s Trap was previously released as a remastered title, but here, in its original forms, it’s still a treat, with items to find and such. The original game is probably the most basic, but still a fun arcade-style romp that would eventually lead to the Adventure Island games. Monster Lair is probably my favorite, mainly because it differs from the norm and goes into full shoot-em-up mode, with entertaining results. But those of you who prefer classic adventure will likely find pleasure with Monster Land, Monster World and Monster World IV, which, yes, remain as entertaining as when they came out.
That’s mainly due to the sharp emulation put into the games. Sure, some look better than others (the 8-bit titles do look somewhat ancient compared to today’s stuff), but they’re exact to the arcade coding. Plus there are extra options to play around with as well. If you’re a Wonder Boy fan, you’ll find pretty much everything you need here. But I’ll be in Monster Lair if you need me.
A Lot of History Here
Along with razor sharp emulation and plenty of game options, Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection also comes with bonus maps to show you each of the stages you’ll go through; along with other museum-style treats like artwork, sketches and even manuals. There’s no music mode, sadly, but the rest is covered pretty wonderfully here.
That said, I do wish something was done about the price. This collection is $50, which might be a bit tough for die-hard retro fans to cover. And, again, there’s no upgrade path for those that purchased last year’s smaller collection, which would’ve been a saving grace. Still, if you don’t mind the price tag, you’ll find hours’ worth of entertainment here.
Wonder If You Need It?
The thing that will really be the selling point for Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is if you’re a fan. If you’re not, this just might make you one, though you may need to play the superior versions of some games before you tackle the others. However, if you know your Wonder Boy worth here, you can dive right in and spend what feels like an eternity digging through this gem.
I do wish some options were a bit easier here, but overall, the Anniversary Collection lives up to the hype. And honestly, if more games took this route, we’d certainly be in a happier place. Can you imagine another Sega collection that covered territory like this?!
The Bottom Line:
Despite the deep price point and the lack of some older adventures, Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is a smorgasbord of retro gaming goodness.
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