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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: WonderBoy III: Monster Lair
A long, long time ago, when I was still in High School (or very shortly thereafter, which would make it c.1990) I bought a TurboGrafx 16 CD ROM system.  This expensive behemoth was being cleared out of the shops and I picked it up brand new for a mere $150.  It was a monster, the box it came in was nearly waist-height on account of the massive carrying case it came in, and the fact that all its components were packaged in separate compartments inside the box.

It was huge, and it was first-gen CD: a single-speed player that was totally underwhelming spec-wise: It had a mere 64kB RAM.  Not 64 MEG, but two sixty four KAY.   Despite being a single-speed drive (150kB/s transfer) it loaded really fast 'cause, let's face it, 64kB doesn't take long to fill at 150kB/s!  Two seconds was the typical wait time.


The game I got with it was WonderBoy 3: Monster Lair.  This game looked awesome and sounded better, thanks to the CD soundtrack.  It was, in fact, a very accurate copy of the arcade game.  Released in 1988 by Sega & Westone (the relatively unknown Westone had a long relationship with Sega, and they developed the WonderBoy franchise), it was a platform/shooter with a cute theme and vivid colours.

I never did finish the TG-16 CD version, it had a fixed number of credits you could continue with, and I'd always die around the sixth stage, in the castle.   It's not an easy game, but the graphics and colours are very appealing, and last night I fired up MAME and gave the arcade version a shot.

It's a really simple and fun run/jump/shoot game.  The second half of every level is a flying boss fight, where the bosses throw miniature versions of themselves at you.  In the first stage (shown below) a giant fish turns its own scales into mini-fish which swim towards you.  In later levels a bat opens its wings to reveal mini-bats, a skull hurls little skull ghosts, etc. 

It's great fun.  It's also 2-player, so you can have a go with a friend.





You can download the ROM from here, and if you don't already have MAME, you can get the Windows version right here.  Simply save the game ROM into the ROMS folder that MAME creates, and you're good to go!

The TG16 CD version of this game actually used the system's audio RAM - normally reserved for sound effects - for extra graphics storage.  When emulator programmers added support for this extra audio hardware it was a rare occasion: improving audio support enhanced the graphics!   

Try to arrive at the final boss with either the lasers or the rockets.  The former gives you much-needed autofire, the latter will wipe out most bosses in a couple of shots!

You can rush the scrolling by running against the right edge of the screen, but this is a sure-fire way to get yerself killed fast-like.

The TurboGrafx CD version had some great cheat codes.

You might also be interested in these other posts:
WonderBoy V: Monster World III
WonderBoy VI: Monster World IV
Monster World Soundtrack CD from Sega
This post was edited 5 times, last on 2011-01-10, 09:20 by NFG.
Edit reason: 64kB, not 256kB.  Thanks Chrly.
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