Super Wonderboy in Monsterland logo

ACTIVISION £24.99 * Joystick and Keyboard

Occasionally, arcade games veer away from the space shoot-em-up or racing simulation, and appear with some of the silliest plots imaginable. One of these games popped up several years ago, placing the player in control of a nappy-clad, adventuring toddler carrying out tasks that would make a muscled docker flinch.

The game was, of course, Wonder Boy, and proved such a success that Sega came up with a sequel: Super Wonder Boy. This time the hero no longer seems like a frightened toddler struggling to stay alive. Oh no, this time the courageous adolescent is kitted out with sword and armour. He has a quest to undertake and, more over, despite his diminutive stature he can bally well do the job too!

Tom-Tom (our junior hero) must enter the realm of Monster Land, home of the vicious Meka dragon. For too long the scaly turant has dominated the poor frightened folk of Wonderland and it's about time something was done. Enter one fully-armed sprog, who you control on the start of his journey into Monster Land.

First stop is a local wizard's hut, where you are kitted out I the latest line in adventurer's tin fashions. Then it's time to tackle the terrible tyrant's terrifying tools of termination (that means monsters), such as snakes, giant squid and the evil Red Knight (gasp)!

Not all the inhabitants of Monster Land follow the Dragon ruler's lead, however, and additional help can be had from various store owners and inn-keepers, who are only too happy to let you have some additional gear or information provided that the price is right. You can pay them for their services with gold, gained by finding secret locations or by killing the Monster Guards.

To get to the Dragon himself you have to kill off his guardians in a one-to-one battle and steal the keys to the gates that divide Monster Land.


As is usual in games of this type, the graphics have attempted to be cute and cuddly rather than realistic. To be honest, the designers have succeeded in doing this, but it would have been nice to have "cute and cuddly" on a larger playing field. Most of the screen is taken up by display panels, not leaving much space for the game screen.

The sound also lets the side down, as it consists of extremely weak beeping soundtracks that fail to add any atmosphere whatsoever. It looks as though the game hasn't been programmed to make use of any of the Amiga's features, which for a £25 game is rather annoying.


The game starts off quite easy, then gets very hard very quickly, causing yo to die somewhat abruptly. As in the arcade version there is a continue play option, but the Amiga version only allows you a maximum of three credits. It also includes the annoying feature of not giving you the chance to finish after one credit, so that your score resets to zero, which means that there is no way to keep your high score. That might seem petty, but once you've completed the adventure (which, incidentally, shouldn't take THAT long), what is there to keep you playing if you can't obtain a high score?


It seems that Super Wonder Boy is another in the sadly increasing number of games that has simply been ported over from the first conversion, so that none of the features that make Amiga games stand out are included. Activision have supplied us with some top-rate games recently, including arcade conversions, but unfortunately Super Wonder Boy misses the mark by a considerable distance.

Super Wonderboy in Monsterland logo

Konsolen-Kennern ist der kleine Knirps mit den großen Kulleraugen längst ein Begriff, dort treibt er seit Jahren in mittlerweile vier verschiedenen Abenteuern sein Unwesen. Jetzt gibt der Liebling aller Japaner sein Debüt auf dem Amiga.

Die Reise durchs Monsterland ist der ursprünglich zweite Teil der Wonderboy-Saga und gibt sich als Action-Adventure ganz besonderer Güte: Das Game erschien für nahezu alle Konsolen und wurde auf jeder ein echter Mega-Hit! Auch auf dem Amiga macht die gelungene Mischung aus Schatzsuche und Geschicklichkeitsspiel, einem Schuß Action und einer Prise Rollenspiel tierisch Laune...

Das Monsterland samt seiner friedliebenden Einwohner ist in Gefahr: Ein übler Drache terrorisiert Land und Leute! Zu allem überfluß hat das Vieh noch die Freundin unseres Helden verschleppt - da gibt's kein langes Fackeln, unerschrocken macht sich der Hosenmatz auf die Socken, um dem Lindwurm das Lebenslicht auszublasen. Dazu bedarf es einer langen Wanderschaft durch 12 Level einer horizontal scrollenden Bonbon-Grafik. Ob Landschaft, Feinde oder das eigene Sprite - alles ist knallbunt und zuckersüß gezeichnet. Das ist geschmacklich zwar nicht jedermanns Sache, aber das fesselnde Gameplay hält auch solche Spieler beinhart bei der Stange, die sonst gar nicht genug Blut sehen können. Allerdings ist die technischen Präsentation nicht ganz ohne Fehl und Tadel: Das Scrolling ruckelt leicht, und David Whittaker hat auch schon viel bessere Sounds produziert...

Unterwegs kommt Wondy an zahlreichen Türen vorbei, an denen man unbedingt durch einen Druck auf die Leertaste anklopfen sollte. Dahinter verbergen sich Kneipen mit redseligen Barkeepern (Tips!), Ärzte, die den Knaben wieder auf Vordermann bringen, oder Shops, die wunderbare Ausrüstungsgegenstände und Waffen in unterschiedlicher Qualität und Güte bereit halten. Natürlich hat alles seinen Preis(der von Laden zu Laden variiert!), aber jedes dahingemetzelte Monster - und davon laufen genügend durch die Gegend - schlägt sich in Goldstücken nieder. Wer außerdem noch gegen Bäume oder Felsen hüpft, findet oft noch mehr Bares oder Herzen, die in Kämpfen verlorene Lebensenergie zurückbringen. Trotzdem ist stets Vorsicht geboten: Hinter mancher Tür lauern grimmige Gegner, von denen man besser die Finger läßt. Außer natürlich, sie bewachen Schlüssel zum nächsten Level!

Ihr seht schon, obwohl die Fähigkeiten unserer "Freundin" bei weitem nicht ausgereist werden, ist spielerisch wirklich eine Menge geboten: Wer nicht jeden Level genauesten absucht, verpasst versteckte Schätze oder interessante Geheimgänge! Ein Vergleich mit "Great Giana Sisters" drängt sich förmerlich auf, aber was die wahnwitzigen Schwestern an technischer Brillanz voraus hatten, macht der sympathische Wicht durch seine tolle Spielbarkeit wieder wett! (ml)

Super Wonderboy in Monsterland logo

PRice: £24.99

Jack is back! No he isn', it's Wonderboy, now Wonderteen racing through city centres, buying weapons and stabbing people. What happened?
I'll tell you what happened. Boy put on a lot of weight and also didn't grow. And his world has got a lot smaller, thanks to the progression of quadternary industry. What this means is that on screen, Wonderboy is as wide as he is tall and things like score and lives counters have been placed on large computer screens that run along the top and left-hand edges of the screen, cutting the playing area down considerably.

As far as I can make out, all boy really has to do is travel from town to town killing everything he finds. Simple. Now and again he'll come up against someone unpleasant like a Vampire or Death and have to kill in order to collect the key for the next town or a special weapon such as broadsword.

Along the way you can also buy objects, like boots that increase your jumping capability. Or magical weapons such as grenades, or a whirlwind that you launch at your adversaries. All this costs money, and to get money you have to kill all the little baddies and collect the gold they drop.

I loved the original Wonderboy with that certain special kind of love that means you can't leave somebody. I kept playing it and playing it long after I'd completed it. Now its sequel has appeared I can't help but feel disappointed with the way it has turned out.

For a start, the graphics are poor. May of the characters are short and stumpy, whilst the backdrops seem of of have been nicked from Boulderdash. The scrolling is slow and jerky - this game shows little of the visual excellence of its predecessor.

It plays terribly too. Because of the slowness of the game, it's far too easy. You have ages to time a swing at a bad guy, and the chances of them hitting you are a million to one.
Not the hottest conversion around.

Super Wonderboy in Monsterland logo

Activision, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Wonderboy has reached puberty! But the adolescent Tom-Tom has more pressing matters to deal with than chasing girls and squeezing spots. A ferocious dragon must be slain before peace can return to Wonderland.

But to reach the fire-breathing reptile Tom-Tom must first get through a multitude of multiloaded, horizontally scrolling levels. Among the hostile creatures encountered along the way are venomous snakes, flying bats, and hostile skeletons: all these can be avoided or dispatched with a quick thrust of Tom-Tom's sword. A large end-of-level baddie must be defeated to reveal a key to open a door to the next level. If Tom-Tom comes into contact with a nasty his energy is reduced, removing his only life when it reaches zero. However, if Tom-Tom has some revival medicine he gets another life, and on later levels he gets a limited number of continue-plays.

To make life even easier there are a number of useful shops on the way; just knock on the door to go in. Items such as bombs, whirlwinds, and leather boots (extra jumping power) may be purchased with gold collected from dead nasties. General advice and a cure for Tom-Tom's wounds can also be bought.

Phil King Compulsive coffee drinkers will be glad to know that the Amiga version features an innovatively slow multi-load allowing you to put the kettle on between levels. In fact, if you didn't have any coffee in the house, you could go down to the supermarket and buy some in the time it takes to load each (often very short) level - on further consideration, you could probably grow your own coffee plants! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if there was something waiting for, but the graphics are small and undetailed with the cute monsters looking about as dangerous as a dead tortoise.
The C64 game is marginally more impressive graphically and definitely more playable than it's dull 16-bit counterpart. However the platform action of both versions is more than a bit jaded and, with revival medicine and continue-plays, hardly challenging. In fact you'll need all that coffee to keep you awake!
Stuart Wynne Graphically simple coin-ops often make the very best conversions, so I had high hopes for Super Wonderboy. Initially I was quite impressed; there's a fair bit of combat (although most of the baddies are too cute to kill), a nice selection of goodies to buy (from shields to leather booties) and some vicious super-baddies - usually guarding the end-of-level-key.
Unfortunately, the further I progressed, the more daft the multiload got. The length of time needed for the Amiga to load levels in is silly, and while the C64 is much speedier some of the levels are so short and easy as to be a complete waste of time. The later levels also lack anything really new to keep you coming back for more. Super Wonderboy certainly isn't a bad game, and the C64 game is a great conversion for disk owners with some quite nice gameplay, but neither is it anything special.