Here in Ireland, this one had a huge popularity status in the arcade scene and it had people pumping coins left, right and centre. Most of the time I wouldn't bother as there would be up to 12 credits in the game once I got to it. Which is why I was one of the thankful ones whan Activision brought Wonder Boy to the CPC. Based on Sega's classic arcade, presentation is based on a sledgehammer of a plot involving your girlfriend being kidnapped while you have to bring yourself to rescue her. Brave young lad considering the little guy is still in nappies! Activision have given us a pretty mixed bag as far as games are concerned for the CPC is concerned so now it's time to find out once and for all, if their conversion of one of my favorite arcade hits of the 80's Wonder Boy is done well, or will Activision have given a glorified blank cassette. The tape is almost finished loading up so lets see what activision have to offer.
Wonderboy practing his showjumping skills
But he misses and lands into the fire. Ouch!
Wonder Boy is a horizontally scrolling platformer. And for this type of game, It's pretty damn big! There are eight levels to the game but each level consists of four rounds so you're looking at a total of 32 screens in the game. Difficulty progresses within both the levels and the rounds as more enemies such as spiders, snails, frogs etc. While the terrain gets scattered with fire, rocks and unstable platforms which will fall under your feet. At the end of each 4th round, the end of level baddie will approach thowing fireballs and trying to push you over the edge. You'll get five lives to start off and and a long bar of energy to get you started. Of course this bar can be topped up thanks to the various fruits and cakes that are up for grabs. Failure to keep the strength up and malnutrician sets in and boy wonder in pampers goes to the great creche in the sky. So it's not as if you're going to be short of stuff to do in this one.
With all of this goodness crammed into one game, is it a faithful conversion? Well loading it didn't take long at all. No multiload to annoy us. Presented well with a nice loading screen replicating the arcade's title screen. Game starts with the arcade soundtrack playing in the background and while it doesn't sound too bad, it will get on your nerves after a short while. Graphics are drawn in mode 1 and look good without being great. Getting into the game doesn't take a long time at all even if it can get a little slow at times. But as far as layout and gameplay is concerned then the CPC version doesn't have a patch on it's arcade parent. Which as unfortunate as that is, doesn't make this game unplayablevin any way shape or form. But a few more hours of effort into the programming of this one and it could have easily pushed this one up the ranks. But all this aside the game is very playable and even fans of the arcade would easily be as pleased as I was with this one.
Kiss the frog? Hrmů
It's just a shame that the game doesn't resemble the arcade. And this is just so important when it comes down to a conversion. The first two rounds get away with it but after the third round then the differences are noticible. But with the graphics and sound backing an already playable game, It's difficult to find any other fault with Wonder Boy. There are quite a few levels to get through before you even think of getting tired of it. The main drawback is that there isn't a hell of a lot to keep one interested for very long. As I mentioned earlier, die hard fans of the arcade might be disappointed with the lack of resemblance but won't be let down in terms of playability. It's not that the game's bad in any way, but there's nothing all that special about it either. With a bit more effort, this could have been a different story but as it stands, better luck next time Activision.
THE END RESULT:
Nice graphics, Above average sound.
Theme tune can be a tad annoying!
Fans of the arcade should lap it up...
... Even if the game doesn't resemble the arcade.
THE BOTTOM LINE: 69%