Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is out now

Wonder Boy

So here’s a thing I’ve never heard of up until now. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap [official site] is a remake of a Sega Master System platformer from 1989, and it’s out now on PC. Our Alec played a little bit for this week’s Unknown Pleasures but perhaps you missed that (for shame!). Am I just going to annoy people if I say that the reason I haven’t heard of it is that it came out before I was born? Well, there you go, I’ve said it.

Anyway, below is the release trailer, showing it as a cutesy platformer in which you, Wonder Boy, are cursed by a dragon and turned into a variety of animals, each of which has their own ability.

This remake has a new hand-drawn art style and fresh soundtrack, but if you really want to ramp up the nostalgia you can switch to the original version on the fly, as Alice explained here.

It’s non-linear as well, and different parts of the world open up as you progress. And here’s something cool: password codes from the original release will work in it. Just on the off chance that you neatly filed away scribbled notes on ’80s games for such an occasion. Come to think of it, does that mean I should be doing just that for games I’m playing now in anticipation of a 2035 remake?

You can pick it up on Steam, GOG, and Humble Bundle for £14.99.


  1. Philopoemen says:

    Was Wonderboy the one where you wore some leaves and threw hatchets at everything? And jumped on clouds?

    I ask because this looks nothing like that, and I’m wondering if I played the right game back then

    • dangermouse76 says:

      I recall a skateboard and buying trainers with wings…… I think.

      Plus finding the hidden Sega letters to gain an extra life.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Yes, the series started as arcade action (which got rebranded as Adventure Island on some systems) and later forked off an action RPG lineage. This is Wonder Boy 3 or something like that. Most of the action RPG ones are called Wonder Boy in Monster Land.

      Sometimes it gets all weird with naming, e.g. the Turbo CD version of one of these is called The Dynastic Hero.

    • Titler says:

      That was the first Wonderboy, a sideways scrolling game; an arcade machine and SMS conversion of it.

      Wonderboy in Monsterland was the second, also converted straight to the SMS from Arcade. It was an RPG/Platform hybrid, and thus something rather unusual for coin-ops of the time.

      Wonderboy 3: The Dragons Trap is a sequel to the second game, and starts with a re-run of the final level of Monsterland, but the final boss curses you at the point of death, opening up the plot for the rest of the game.

      SMS only originally… and a fantastic game. Got 97% in Mean Machines if I recall, and universally loved when played. Everything was so fantastically polished too; the graphics were some of the best seen on the little Sega, the soundtrack was a perfect fit and didn’t fall pray to the flaws of the often badly abused sound chip…

      Had the SMS taken off world wide as well as the NES did, history would have been interestingly different… Dragons Trap had all the playability of Mario, and so much more besides, and perhaps we’d still be going to game conventions with little leaves around our nether regions instead of red hats on our heads to this day.

  2. Risingson says:

    This is based on Monster Land. It was released on arcades (I had one next to where I lived: I used to visit the bar that had it because it was one of the most fascinating games to see it being played, with such amount of secrets). Really hard and imaginative game.

    It’s pretty alright that you were born after it was released. You are young and healthy. It is just that I wish that you people here invested at least 30′ to check the sources, as it takes barely any googling to verify that this is monster land inspired game we talk about. If you want to check how monster land was there are several gameplay videos on YouTube. And then you have a better article before uploading it (though 30′ less of your life). I don’t know, journalism and stuff, so underrated.

    • orient1 says:

      You realise it’s called The Dragon’s Trap because it’s based on The Dragon’s Trap (as the article says, a Master System game), *not* Monster Land? You should’ve taken 30 before you posted that moment.

    • Daum says:

      You missed the point completely. This isn’t “based” on anything, it’s a remake of a well known Sega Master System game. It was never released on arcades.

  3. Det. Bullock says:

    Small guide to the series (yeah, I’m new too but I tend to do a lot of research on the stuff I intend to buy), I’m not counting the retitled versions for PC-engine and TurboGrafx-16 since I don”t think I can remember them all off the rop of my head:

    Wonder Boy (Arcade and Master System): action platformer with a timer, health depleted over time and you needed to gather fruit to stay alive, you also had a hatchet to throw and occasionally a skateboard to move faster.
    Has also been published as “Adventure Island” on some platforms due to Sega owning the characters and title but not the game.

    Monder Boy in Monster Land (Arcade and Master System): first RPG elements (you could buy equipment and points allowed to get more heart containers), instead of fruit you needed to gather a hourglass powerup, and instead of dying you’d lose a “heart” when the time ran out. One of the few titles that can’t be played with a Genesis/Mega Drive controller if using a Master System on Mega Drive adapter, if you use a flashcart there are romhacks that correct the bug.

    Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap (Master System and now PC, PS4, Switch, etc.): Direct sequel to the above, only less linear and without the hourglass mechanic (it’s there for the hard level in the remake but it wasn’t there in the master system original), much more of an ur-example of a metroidvania, still a very playable game thanks also to the fact that you can pause by plugging in a second controller to pause in the Master System original instead or reaching for the pause button on the console or Master System to Mega Drive adapter.

    Monster Lair: Wonder Boy III (Arcade and Mega Drive): parallel sequel, essentially the first Wonder Boy with shooter elements. A bit nostalgic for me since it was my first Mega Drive game toghether with Tow Jam & Earl. The only “arcade” Wonder Boy I managed to finish since it has various difficulty options in the Mega Drive version.

    Wonder Boy in Monster World (Mega Drive and Master System): another metroidvania similar to Dragon’s Trap but with various callbacks to Monster Land both in gameplay and look of the levels (the starting location is more or less the same as Monster Land for example). This too is still very playable today if a bit difficult towards the end.

    Monster World IV (Mega Drive): this one never made it out on Japan and wasn’t translated until Nintendo put it on the Virtual Console with other Mega Drive games. The protagonist this time is a girl and it has a very “arabian nights” style. I still have to play it but it has a bit of a cult status and supposedly is the inspiration behind the Shantae series.

  4. Ack says:

    Was so young when I played this on the master system. I remember being genuinely pleased with myself when I realised I needed to change in to other creatures to reach different areas. A bit like those portal “aha!” moments. Wonder if I can still find all the secrets.

  5. Urthman says:

    what the heck when did rps start hiring goddamn babies to write about video games

    • Urthman says:

      whatever happened to the “you must be older than Pong” to write about video games rule?

  6. Optimaximal says:

    WE5T 0NE