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WONDERBOY 3 - MONSTER LAIR
game Cover
game CDRom
ワンダーボーイIII モンスターレアー
©1989 Hudson Soft/Alfa System
©1988 WESTONE
Release : 1989-8-31 (¥5800)
CDRom² HCD9006
Action / Shooter game

American Version
country
Released in America as
MONSTER LAIR
( TGXCD1003 )
Monster Lair is a side scrolling action/shooter by Hudson Soft and conversion of Westone's arcade game originally released in 1988. Monsters have been sighted in the kingdom and they now bring fear and panic throughout the country. The legendary armor and weapons of valor have been stolen and the thieves have vanished without a trace. Just when all hope appears to be lost, a green haired boy and his princess friend come to the rescue and embark on a long journey to prevent the world from being cast into darkness. Although they both come equipped with magic weapons (a sword and a staff), things get a lot more challenging and new weapons can be collected along the way. Some of them fire laser-rings, some shoot rotating stars while others short range missiles. Fairies can also be rescued along the way and will reward our heroes with temporary invulnerability or dump large cakes for extra health. The game has an unusual structure and each stage is divided into two sub-areas - the first half is a traditional side-scrolling platform phase featuring a 'run and jump' gameplay. There, the kids' health constantly decrease and they have to periodically eat fruits in order to avoid exhaustion (interestingly, picking up a new weapon also restores some life back). Larger fruits can even be "powered-up" by firing repeatedly at them to generate even more smaller fruits. Then the second half of each level has our heroes riding their beloved pet dragons. This phase of the game is similar to a traditional horizontal shooter where an end-of-level boss awaits the player and must be destroyed before proceeding to the next stage. Finally, Monster Lair features a two-player simultaneous co-op mode.
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Arcade Version Wonder Boy III - Monster Lair was first released in the arcades in 1988 (picture on the left) and is the third episode of the Wonder Boy series. It was developed by Westone and released on Sega's hardware. The PC Engine conversion is actually really close to the original game - although it features a CD quality remastered soundtrack (unlike the original), it has sadly lost the two-level parallax scrolling. The game was also ported to the Sega's Megadrive in 1990, however this version shows some slight design changes (such as the first fish-boss who happens to be overall smaller with rounder eyes).

Teaser text from the american version:
It's your wildest nightmare come true - times 10. Indescribable mutants will boggle your brain. Worse yet, you have 14 levels of mountains, oceans, incredible obstacles. But there's no turning back. You have found the Legendary Sword and Shield - and you must rid the land of these monstrosities. Power up, increase your life force to survive. Go it alone or with a friend... into the Dragon Jaw of Death!

Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :

Programmer
Naoki Hoshizaki

Character Designer
Rie Ishizuka
Hiromi Suzuko

Music Composer
Effect Designer
Shinichi Sakamoto

Director
Ryuichi Nishizawa

Assistant
Takanori Kurihara
Yoshihiti Saisho
Supervisor
Michishito Ishizuka

Special Thanks To
Tsutomu Watanabe
Nasanori Yoshihara
Mina Morioka
Kohta Kikuchi

Anzu Oohori
Shooting No Kamisama
PC ENGINE STAFF

Music Arranged by
A. Chikuma

Graphics Design
Tetsuya Sasaki

Programmer
Kouji Yamamoto
Takeshi Takamine

Assistant
Kenichi Sakai
Bokegi
Yoshinozui
Sound Effect
Masahiro Teramoto

Test Player
Mika Yamamoto

Manager
Tomofumi Matsumoto

Special Thanks
Toshinori Oyama
Toshiyuki Sasagawa

PRESENTED BY
HUDSON SOFT/ALFA SYSTEM
WESTONE

THANK YOU


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Wonder Boy III Monster Lair manual Monster Lair Turbografx-16 manual Game illustration Advert Advert
Click on picture to enlarge

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Monster Lair for the PC Engine system is probably the best home conversion of Westone's cute run and jump. I still remember playing the arcade game as a kid, and this version certainly brings back childhood memories to me. But nostalgia shouldn't bias my opinion here. Let's step back for a moment. Indeed, Monster Lair is unique, cute, lovely and fans of the original game will feel right at home. Controls are crystal clear, flawless and the game is gigantically huge (14 levels !). But, on another hand, it is also repetitive and the gameplay is almost the same throughout the whole game. Each stage consists of the same leitmotiv - run to the cave, fly to the boss, kill it then repeat. I personnaly would have also expected more eye candies from the PC Engine system - sprites are fairly large but a two level parallax scrolling (like in the arcade) would have been welcome, especially during the shooting parts. Finally, the new CD 'enhanced' soundtrack is correct but the rocky beats and electric guitars Hudson Soft added to the mix do not really fit the overall atmosphere of the game to my taste. All in all, Monster Lair is a thoroughly fun game to play and a faithful and accurate conversion of the arcade game.




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