Wonder Boy in Monster Land (SMS)

Wonder Boy in Monster Land Box Art

Wonder Boy in Monster Land

System: SMS

Release Date: August 1988

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Action/Platformer

Tom-Tom is back in the follow up to 1987 ’s Wonder Boy, it’s Wonder Boy in Monster Land! It’s been eleven years since the events of the original Wonder Boy and Tom-Tom is now a teenager who has to take out a fire breathing dragon who is wreaking havoc on Wonder Land. He’s now equipped with a sword, which he swings with Button 1. Button 2 causes Wonder Boy to jump.

This is a different sort of game from the original. It’s now more of an action RPG, but I don’t feel comfortable calling it such. The platforming is still incredibly important, so I lean more in that direction. Wonder Boy slashes at enemies, who drop coins and items. You can’t farm for items, though, even though the monsters respawn, they will only drop things twice. It’s also dangerous to spend too much time in any portion of a level, as there is an hourglass that counts down. If all the sand falls, you lose a heart of life. Lose all of your hearts and if you don’t have a revival potion, it’s game over.

That’s a big problem I had while playing Wonder Boy in Monster Land, no continues. I guess it lengthens the amount of time you’re going to spend with the game, but getting near the end and dying would be infuriating. Wonder Boy can upgrade his equipment to help him through the game. Better shoes cause him to move more quickly and jump higher. Shields help by deflecting projectiles. Armor protects against damage. There are also magic spells including bombs, fireballs, tornadoes, and lightning flashes. These come in handy during certain points, but aren’t strictly necessary.

In order to collect enough coins to buy stuff, you have to jump around and uncover hidden coins and money bags. These are static in placement and can be found with trial and error. The same goes with shops. There are static shops that you can see and hidden shops that you can stumble into. What is offered for sale typically depends on what you have in your inventory. You can also buy hints from taverns, but I wouldn’t call them all too helpful.

There are bosses spaced throughout the levels. Killing them gives a lot of treasure and usually a key to the next level. You want to collect plenty of points to increase the number of hearts you have. There are also optional items that help make your game easier. One of these, the ruby, would have been super nice to have, but I apparently missed out on something I needed to earn it. This made the final boss very difficult. In fact, it took me about a dozen tries to take his two forms down, but I finally did it and got to see the ending.

Graphics: 2.0

The graphics aren’t anything special. I’d say they’ve lost detail in some areas, but are good enough.

Sound: 1.0

The music is subdued and unspecial. The sound effects, especially when close to death, are incredibly annoying.

Gameplay: 2.5

The controls are decent and you have access to what you need to win, even if poor money drops can doom you.

Difficulty: 2.5

Lack of continues, as well as randomized money will cause some fits. Level design in the final labyrinth is bonkers and I used a walkthrough for it.

Fun Factor: 2.5

I liked it enough to want to play it until the end. It kind of outstays its welcome, but only by a bit.

Overall Grade: 2.1

Wonder Boy in Monster Land gets a C. It’s better than it’s predecessor, but not an amazing game by any means.

Wonder Boy in Monster Land Video Review on YouTube