Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap review

The Dragon’s Trap’s HD sheen belies the simplistic gameplay of its era, but there’s undeniable charm in that simplicity.

By Ewen HosiePublished 18/04/2017Version tested PlayStation 4

Somewhere in an alternate universe, Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap is mentioned in the same breath as Mega Man 2 and The Legend of Zelda as one of the great classics of the 8-bit console era. In our reality, however, it settles for more of a cult status. Originally released in 1989 for the Sega Master System by Japanese developer Westone, The Dragon’s Trap was the second entry in the action-adventure series Monster World, itself a spin-off of the action game Wonder Boy, first released in arcades in 1986.

The Wonder Boy series can be hard to make sense of: Ryuichi Nishizawa holds onto the copyright for the character designs, while Sega owns the name, and a large number of ports and spin-offs have been released in different markets for various consoles. When The Dragon’s Trap was ported by Hudson Soft for the Turbografx 16 (aka PC Engine) it became known as Dragon’s Curse in the US and Adventure Island in Japan – not to be confused with Adventure Island on the NES, which was Hudson’s port of the original Wonder Boy. But localisation muddles notwithstanding, The Dragon’s Trap is generally considered to be one of the best games released for the Master System, and arguably the best game in the franchise. A love letter from childhood fans, French developer Lizardcube’s remake (which ditches the “3”) is about as impressive and lavish a refurbishment as one could find.

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