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Retro Game Club Discussion Thread - 02 - Wonder Boy/Adventure Island [community]

Wonder Boy is really where it all started. Developed by Sega and Westone for the arcade, the game was a fast-paced platformer starring some boy, presumably wonderful, trying to save his girlfriend from some monster, and doing so shirtless in a kilt made of leaves. Now that takes some brass balls.

Wonder Boy plays as a platformer designed to eat your quarters should: it is very challenging. A lot of that challenge comes from the slipperiness of the character, a one-hit-kills-you design philosophy, and especially a strict time limit. Oh, no, there is no countdown ticking away in the corner of the screen. Instead, you have a "hunger meter" which slowly drains away unless you can keep feeding Wonder Boy fruit.

The title did well for Sega, and Wonder Boy became one of their mascots, enjoying about the same level of popularity as Alex Kidd (who?). But interestingly, Sega only owned the rights to the character and the lore of the game. The level design, the gameplay, the code, all of that belonged to Westone, who decided to team up with Hudson Soft to create an NES version of the game. The character still wears only a bunch of leaves, still uses the same weapons, still has to satiate his hunger with fruit, except that this time, the hero is not the blonde and lean Wonder Boy, but instead a chubby guy with brown hair and a cap, named Master Higgins after Hudson Soft's spokesperson in Japan. He looks nothing like him.

The games are almost identical, except that most people would agree that Adventure Island looks much worse.

So, you can chose whichever version you like (both are 500 pts on the Virtual Console) and start playing and discussing (and possibly cursing!).

Thank god for infinite continues...

edit - As Roykoopa suggested, why not add either Wonder Boy or Adventure Island to your collection, and indicate you are currently playing it?

List of Awesome:
ludist210 (finished Wonder Boy)
anon_mastermind (finished Wonder Boy)
nate38 (finished Wonder Boy)
RoyKoopa64 (finished Wonder Boy)
X‑pert74 (finished Wonder Boy)
Zero (finished Wonder Boy)
TriforceBun (finished Adventure Island)

Guillaume (finished both Wonder Boy and Adventure Island)

URL to share (right click and copy)
04/09/11, 03:07    Edited: 05/05/11, 04:30
@anon_mastermind Do you want the original game for the Master System (Wonder Boy), or the port with revamped character design, which happens to be more popular (Adventure Island)? They're both the same basic game, and for the same price, so it just comes down to preference really.
04/10/11, 03:15   
Hmm, I never played a Sega Master System game before, I think I'll go with that one!
04/10/11, 03:47   
Well, I beat Adventure Island.

It was INCREDIBLY difficult! But it's pretty satisfying to finally complete, considering I've owned it for quite awhile and had never gotten to the end. What's pretty cheesy is that after the first few worlds, the levels repeat themselves, just with more/tougher enemies, etc. The game became a little less interesting once I realized that.

What makes things rough is that in some levels, when you die, the game doesn't give you a weapon for very long stretches (occasionally the entire level!). Since you die in one hit, you end up having to weave through scores of foes, all while doing it quick enough to keep the chubby Higgins from starving to death. Oh, and the Eggplant is pretty much in every stage past a certain point too, ready to make Higgins lose his appetite and consequently, his life.

These weapon-less stretches can be extremely demanding of the player--7-4 in particular took me nearly an hour alone. There's a section (amidst plenty of other very hard sections in the stage), where you must perfectly do a running jump between two spiders right when one of them is at the apex of his climb. If not timed right, you'll most certainly hit the spider and die. It is quite literally a moment of pixel-precision, and I could pull it off only about once every ten lives. Pray you're good enough to survive after that, because it's a pain to do it once, much less over and over. Or better yet, try getting through 7-4 when you first arrive with your weapon to save yourself from a massive headache later. By the way, 8-4 is even worse, since they throw in an un-missable Eggplant to put the pressure on you while you make that nigh-impossible spider jump.

Even aside from these weaponless runs, there're some incredibly tough moments. 8-2 is swarming with foes and cheapness, and very very crowded and difficult. 8-3 is infamous and known by many NES gamers as one of the toughest platforming feats in history...needless to say, I was quite close to turning off the game and giving up on AI forever.

But no! I persevered through the game's nightmarish final few stages and saved whats-her-face, complete with an underwhelming ending! So, boom. That's definitely one for the "Ridiculously Hard Games I've Beaten" list. In terms of difficulty, AI's end stretch sits right there with Ninja Gaiden's for me. What a beast. I don't think I'll ever beat this game again in my life.

Good luck to the rest of you!
04/10/11, 05:58   
Remember, people: this is the game you voted for.
04/10/11, 06:37   
@TriforceBun Dude! Congratulations! I expected nothing less from T. Bun himself.

Anyway, I made it a bit further on Wonder Boy, and I'm going to take a break for now.

This is the first time I have ever played any game in this series.

Some of the difficulties you described in Adventure Island are also a part of Wonder Boy's challenges. Here are just a few random notes I made while playing the game:

-The platforms that drop you to your doom are a pain, and there's no indication which platforms will do this. (Well, there are some platforms that have a slightly different color, so those have a tell).
-Actually there is more than one background song in the game. There's actually another one! I think it plays on round 4 of each area, on the levels where you fight a boss.
-The bosses are ridiculously easy! Jump and throw your axe repeatedly at his head while he slowly progresses to the left. I have yet to see a boss actually do anything like a projectile or something.
-I swear some of these levels are simply repeating themselves, with the only difference being enemy placement. It makes the game a lot less interesting.
-There are definitely some tricky platform jumps to be had in this game, making my heart race as I land that perfect landing.
-One thing that makes the game even more difficult is losing your hatchet every time you do. Sometimes after I die, there won't be a new hatchet to pick up for a long time, and avoiding the enemies as well as executing the tricky jumps is a bit crazy.
-The skateboard is kind of cool, once you get the hang of it. You can easily slow down or speed up and blaze through certain areas.
-Going to the bonus stage is pretty funny. Some lady just floats down toward you, then you both float toward the sky, where the bonus stage takes place in the clouds. A bit of a nod to the Mario cloud bonus stages?

Anyway, I don't think it qualifies as spoilers to say I'm currently at Area 6, round 1. According to the in-game manual:

Manual said:
The game consists of nine areas, each of which has four rounds. Advance to the right side of the screen until you reach the goal, located at the end of stage 4, to clear the round.

At the end of round 4 in each Area awaits the Area Boss. Attack his head by throwing your hatchet until you defeat him.

Note: There is also a tenth area which you can reach only by collecting dolls.

Well, I've missed some of the dolls, so I won't see Area 10, but that's cool.
04/10/11, 06:48   
Edited: 04/10/11, 06:53
Ooh, a tenth area? I wonder if anyone has ever reached it before?
04/10/11, 08:45   
@Guillaume Personally, I blame you.
04/10/11, 08:53   

Yeah if I remember right I was at the last stage of the last world awhile back and lost my weapon after a death. I tried many times to get by those freaking spiders but to no avail. And then I made a mistake trying to continue and had to start over again.
04/10/11, 09:39   
I'm at Area 6, Round 2 now. This game is cool There are some levels which are basically re-used, but Super Mario Bros. did the same thing too. It doesn't bother me here.
04/10/11, 12:44   
I am also at 6-2, and the game is a great deal of fun.

One thing I don't like, however, is how more and more the enemies blend in the background. I don't mind a challenge but I like to see the obstacles...

Other than that, it's awesome. Getting the skateboard in the later stages gives me a strong BIT.TRIP RUNNER vibe, it's an awesome feeling when you manage to keep it for the rest of the level despite the auto-scrolling and the ridiculous enemy placement.
04/10/11, 18:21   
Woohoo! I managed to get through 7-4 with one life! After Bun hyping it up, I was stressing out more and more about losing my weapon as I neared the end of the stage, haha.

Someone commented at the bosses not doing anything, but the past three take enough hits to have time to chuck a fireball or two at you. Watch out, they bounce on the ground!They're pretty easy to avoid, though, make sure to jump high, or stay close-ish to the boss so the fireball will go over your head. But that's pretty hard to do without running into the boss, due to the slippery controls.
04/10/11, 19:36   
Guillaume said:
Getting the skateboard in the later stages gives me a strong BIT.TRIP RUNNER vibe, it's an awesome feeling when you manage to keep it for the rest of the level despite the auto-scrolling and the ridiculous enemy placement.

Same, except for the earlier stages since I'm not at the later stages yet.
04/10/11, 19:48   
Wonder Boy 8-4... the difficulty just went up another notch.
04/10/11, 20:18   
Downloaded and played Wonder Boy for 20 minutes. Got to the third world...I think? Used a few continues, no idea what half of the items do (if anything...mushroom?), kind of slippery and ugly and weird...but sorta fun nonetheless.
04/10/11, 22:00   
@nate38 You can see what items do what in the VC manual; press the Home button.
04/10/11, 22:18   
Finished the game! Well, 9-4 anyway. I probably will never go through the trouble of collecting every doll just to get the last 4 stages, sounds like more trouble than it's worth to me. Especially since some of them are hidden in the rocks that you normally have to avoid, and reduce your satiety bar (or whatever it's called).

The fact that I don't want to collect the dolls doesn't mean I'm not in love with the game, though. I totally am! In fact, I couldn't stop playing after finishing it. I played all the way through area 5, trying to get the best score I could on one continue. Fun!

I really have to agree with X-pert74, these levels must have been thoroughly playtested. They're just so fun to run through, and there are so many obstacles that are either all about rushing without hesitation. You hesitate, you're dead. Alternatively, there are also moments where you should slow down, and those got me every time.

After T-Bun hyping up the difficulty, I'm consumed with curiosity. Is it my time with BIT.TRIP RUNNER that prepared me for this game? Or is Adventure Island actually that much harder than Wonder Boy? I feel like finding out for myself... I'm still not sick of this game.

I now want to play the Adventure Island and Wonder Boy sequels...

Anyway, for those who haven't finished, here is a piece of inspirational art. I don't know what it's actually called, but I like to think its title is "Dreams can come true".

04/11/11, 02:53   
I really like this game a lot! I've been playing a lot of older games lately (like pre-NES era), and this feels kind of like a platformer/sidescroller from that time, like B.C.'s Quest for Tires or Cabbage Patch Kids. I'm at 7-1 now.
04/11/11, 02:55   
I'm at 4-1.

This is going to be a pretty quick RGC I think. Not that that is a bad thing. I hope I can keep up though, it seems like everyone will be done within a few days.
04/11/11, 06:17   
I'm guessing it must have taken longer to beat back in the day on an original Sega Master System, unless you didn't turn it off. With the VC's save states and the infinite continues, I found Wonder Boy to be a relatively painless game to get through.
04/11/11, 06:54   
Did it not have infinite continues in the past?
04/11/11, 07:24   
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