Wonder Boy is another example of an old favourite, the running, jumping, standing-still game. Based on a hit arcade from Sega, it features the activities of our cute little hero as he tries to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend Tina. Sexist little program, huh?
Clad in a very fetching leopard-skin nappy, Wonder Boy has to run through the jungle grabbing fruit off the trees and avoiding snakes, killer bees, really strange plants and some not very nice chasms. The fruit scores points and the rest kill you, so it's important to know the difference! As usual, helpful objects just happen to be lying about (fell off the back of a safari, guv). These take the form of eggs - kick one and it'll fly through the air. When it breaks, a useful item pops out. There's a stone axe that can be thrown at things, knocking them out of the way, and a skateboard which you can run over snakes on (reminds me of that old country song "Dead skunk in the middle of the road..."). Best of all are the fairies, which give you immunity, as long as you don't do something stupid like jump into a bottomless chasm. Pressing fire, if you're moving, speeds things up a bit - you'll run faster or jump higher, which'll often be necessary if you're to grab the available food or avoid all the hazards.
Graphically Wonder Boy is nothing to beat the jungle drums about. Don't be fooled by the screenshots on the cassette inlay - look below the pix and you'll see, in very small letters 'Commodore version'. On the Speccy there ain't no multi-coloured graphics - Wonder Boy is a lime green sprite against a gripping lime green background. The other big problem is the way the different levels have been set up. There are seven 'bizarre and dangerous territories', the insert says, each of four lands, which then break down further into four areas, each of which is made up of loads of screens. Trouble is, every land has to be loaded separately...
This really breaks up the flow of the game. There you are, charging through the jungle, clobbering the flora and fauna as you go, and all of a sudden you have to stop, load in the next level and start again. Fine if you have a disk version, but for everyone else it's a reet pain in the leopardskin-clad fundament.
So all in all, not the greatest example of addictive gameplay I've ever seen, though if you really feel like a scream in the jungle you could certainly do worse. If you like the original, then give it a whirl - otherwise leave the jungle to the monkeys.
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