Sunday 23 August 2009

Dragon's Curse

Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap is probably one of the Sega Master System's better titles, and also one of the better titles in the whole strangely numbered Wonder Boy series. Because of this it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Sega are planning to port that game to the Wii's virtual console... except...

It's already been there a couple of years in the form of Dragon's Curse! You see, Sega owned the trademark "Wonder Boy" and wanted to keep it primarily on Sega hardware (well... they did after the second game anyway). Westone, the developers of the Wonder Boy games, owned the code though, so they were able to approach Hudson/NEC with the same games for release on the TurbografX-16 (PC Engine in Japan) but with different characters and title screens. The benefits? Well... the TG-16 outclasses the SMS in almost every way imaginable, so Dragon's Curse outclasses Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. This happened a lot in the early 90s and any description I try to write about it will be flooded with Sega's stupid Wonder Boy naming scheme, so look it up elsewhere.

Supposedly following on from Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Dragon's Curse initially has you playing as a fully equipped character who can slay pretty much anything who gets in his way. You're quickly "cursed" by the dragon you're off to kill, and then you spend the remainder of the game killing all the other dragons, attempting to get your human physique/weapons back. There's a lot of platforming to be had, and plenty of snakes to slaughter, as is the style of the series. To describe it in "Nintendo terms" it's a mixture between Metroid and Zelda II.

Though it has a surprisingly good soundtrack, time hasn't let Dragon's Curse sit down with a good book and a cup of hot tea every morning. Despite the emphasis on "graphics" in the console's title, they're not miles ahead of the SMS's and they're definitely not up to par with the MegaDrive and Super Nintendo. Later TurbografX, Turbo Duo and SupergrafX games put it to shame too but at the end of the day it's still the best version of Wonder Boy III out there and that's a plus. Wonder Boy III is a brilliant Master System title as well, but at only 100 more Nintendo points, the TG-16 version is a much better option so just go for that. I know I did.

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