Game: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Developer: Alfa System
Release date: 1989
I’m pretty sure I’ve told this story a number of times before, but I’m going to share it again just in case my memory is failing me (it certainly wouldn’t be the first time): Monster Lair was the game that prompted me to buy the TurboGrafx-16 CD attachment way back when. I’d never played–or even heard of–the arcade original, so that wasn’t what attracted me to this platformer-shooter hybrid. No, what attracted me to it was its bright, beautifully drawn graphics–especially its so-cute-they-could-make-you-puke enemies and bosses. There’s more to Monster Lair than fetching foes, though; there’s also a rockin’ Red Book soundtrack and a whole lotta challenging levels (14, to be exact). All that said, I wouldn’t buy this game expecting it to become your favorite PC Engine title, but I would expect it to be well worth whatever you pay for it (which, at this point, should be less than $20).
See also: Previous PCE Reviews
Here’s something I didn’t know about Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair before my copy of the game arrived a few days ago: In lieu of a traditional instructional manual, it comes with a 10-inch-by-14-inch piece of paper that’s been folded into a square.
The front side of said piece of paper is a poster:
The back side, on the other hand, contains all of the instructional stuff:
Click on either of the images above to get a better look at them.
My recent purchase of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair prompted me to recall my fondness for the art that graced the cover of the North American version of the game. (Honestly, it was one of the few pieces of TurboGrafx-16 box art that I liked.)
Here’s a scan of the game’s North American cover art, in case it’s been a while since you’ve seen it:
And here’s the Japanese version’s cover art:
I have to say, I think I prefer the art used for the North American release. Which one do you prefer?
See also: ‘Which box art is better? (Exile 2 edition)‘
I recently ordered–though online import game shop wolfgames.com, which is having a going-out-of-business sale–a heavily discounted copy of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (aka Monster Lair in the States).
While flipping through the game’s manual a few minutes ago (it arrived earlier today), a small piece of paper slipped out of it and fell onto the floor.
This is what I found when I unfolded it:
I can’t read a word of Japanese, so I have no idea what the note says. That hasn’t stopped me from obsessing about it, of course.
Was the author of this note a previous owner of the game? Did he or she like it, or hate it? Is he or she warning me that this copy of Wonder Boy III is cursed?
Those are the kinds of questions that are going through my head at the moment.