bomba's House Of Flancakes

Posted on Feb 3rd 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (bombatomba)
Posted under SMS, Wonderboy, Sega Master System

I thought for once I should do an article on a remake of a retro classic.  Okay, so that is pretty much all I've done as of late (save Yo-kai Watch), and truth be told I was holding out for a new(er) game, but it just didn't happen.  Anyway, I just happened to look at my Switch wishlist and saw Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap on sale for $9.99 USD and picked it up.  Looking back, I think I just needed something new to play and this seemed about right.  It was a remake and mostly modern looking, so I though maybe it would scratch that itch, and boy did it ever.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap was developed by Lizardcube and published in 2017 by Dotemu for a variety of platforms.  It is a remake of the Sega Master System classic, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap released in 1989, and lets you live the exploits of Wonder Boy, who one day going to defeat his nemesis and picks up a nasty little curse that changes his life.  In a nutshell, that is The Dragon's Trap.  However, there is just so much more going on in the remake that doesn't really take anything from the original game.  I don't know about you, that not only sounds appealing, but also quite magical.

An excellent example of the games parallax. Note that the statue is 3D but the effect isn't overdone

I have never played the original game the remake is based on, but I am certainly familiar with it.  Fundamentally, this feels like a Wonder Boy game, so grinding for spells and getting juggled between enemies (especially bosses) didn't shock me.  But despite the fresh coat of paint, the gameplay is nearly identical, warts and all.   Just like in any of the series, you can grind so much that you walk into the last boss with enough lightning spells to turn him to ash without even using your sword.  I don't know how anyone new would react to this kind of gameplay, but personally I found it refreshing.  I actually laughed when the first boss started juggling me around the room, and responded with the ol' "jump and attack" that is a mainstay in the series.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a massive success in my eyes, because it builds on the original without compromising core gameplay, and also somehow manages to reach across the aisle (in a manner of speaking) to make it feel fresh.  It does this by completely re-creating the entire original game over top of the old one.  Basically, at any point while playing, you can press a button (ZR on the Switch) and the screen will perform a wipe and reveal the lovely SMS game lurking below the surface.  I saw this several times while watching preview videos for Dragon's Trap, but assumed it was simply an editing trick.  Nope, that is what happens, and boy does it look slick.

I love the original SMS game, but some of the remake is breathtaking

What this meant for me was that I ended up playing in both worlds, sometimes flipping over just to compare and contrast.  This is pretty surprising, as more often than not when given a choice I will always pick retro over modern, but along Wonder Boy's journey, I fell in love with the new graphics.  There is a ton of parallax scrolling, and there also appears to be 3D objects in the background that you pan around as you move by them.  Very pretty.

While I do love the graphics (new and old), I have to tell you about the sound.  Not just the music or sound effects, but it as a whole.  Generally speaking, if somebody told me I would be playing a retro remake with the original game built into it, I would picture something like Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, where the old and new were present but entirely separate.  In Dragon's Trap you get to mix and match.  Want to play with new graphics by old music?  Can do.  Old graphics with new music?  Yup.  Let's mix it up a bit:  Say you want to play new graphics with old music, but new sound effects?  All of this can be done.  You even get to switch up the inventory screen, so that you can have old everything (graphics, sound, and music).  After playing for ten hours, I can't even decide on what I like!  For most of the game, I played with new graphics and sound, and old music, but I couldn't leave well enough alone.  I think I had about as much fun playing with these settings as I did with the game itself.

Overall, the efforts of Lizardcube in the development of this game are outstanding, and it truly feels like they treated the source material with the love of an adoring fan.  Picking up The Dragon's Trap is an easy recommendation, as the price is pretty nice and it is available for several platforms (the three major modern consoles, PC, as well as Android and iOS).  It even has several physical releases, with the Switch version going for only a fraction more than the digital release.

Thanks for reading!

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So I'm an odd ball. So I am usually the last to post on a blog/forum. So I only post about weird games on weird platforms. So I have a strange relationship with commas and parenthesis. So what? Hey, at least you don't have to car pool with me to work, right? So have a heart, eat a blueberry, and don't forget to drop the empties in the box on the way out. I get deposit on those.
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