Video Game: Wonder Boy

Wonder Boy and Tina.
Wonder Boy is a side-scrolling platform game by Sega and Escape (now known as Westone Bit Entertainment) originally released for the arcades in 1986. The player controls the eponymous Wonder Boy, a young boy in a tropical setting who sets out to rescue his girl friend Tina from an Evil Witch Doctor known as King. Along the way he picks numerous power-ups such as skateboards and throwing axes while trying to maintain his vitality by eating as much food as possible.

Wonder Boy was ported to various Sega platforms such as the SG-1000, Sega Master System and the Game Gear, as well as a few 8-bit home computers (namely the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum). The game also received a licensed re-release for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Hudson Soft titled Adventure Island, splitting the franchise into two directions. While the "Adventure Island" sequels remained true to the style of the original game for the most parts, the Wonder Boy sequels would take on a fantasy-themed action RPG approach.


Tropes in the original Wonder Boy:

  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Here is the Japanese cover art of the Mark III version, and it looks way more cheerful that its incredibly bland Master System counterpart. Now, check out the western Game Gear cover... hoo boy.
  • Chest Monster: The spotted eggs contain a Grim Reaper-type monster that drains your vitality.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite Wonder Boy himself returning in two of the game's sequels (according to their respective manuals), his girlfriend Tina (along with the evil King) is nowhere to be found outside of a small mention in the home manual of the direct sequel, although this may have something to do with the Adventure Island confusion.
  • Country Switch: The Master System port changes its title to Super Wonder Boy when played on a Japanese console.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The extra desert levels of the Master System, where food is obviously scarce. As well as many of the later levels.
  • Dub Name Change: The names of the characters were gradually changed with each localized home port compared to the Arcade original. For example, in the English Master System version, Wonder Boy (or simply "Boy") was renamed "Tom-Tom" while his girl Tina became "Tanya" (presumably to distinguish her from that "other" Tina); the main villain King was the last character renamed, as he was called "King Drancon" in the North American localization of the Game Gear version.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This game is the only game in the series to feature a prehistoric theme, not to mention the only game where the protagonist does not handle a sword... unless one counts the Adventure Island series as the true successor to this game, in which case the basic changes include the main character given a new identity, the redesigned damsel in distress, and the main antagonist replaced by other villains.
  • Hard Mode Filler: All of the boss stages have the exact same template with different enemy and item placement, and most of the other level templates are reused at least once.
  • Head Swap: The boss in each world is literally the same boss with a different head. After being defeated he changes to his next head.
  • Market-Based Title
    • The Mark III version was titled Super Wonder Boy, presumably to distinguish it from the earlier SG-1000 version released exclusively in Japan, since the Mark III was backwards-compatible with all SG-1000 games (also doubles as an Updated Re-release, as two extra areas were added and the dolls were given purpose besides points).
    • For some reason, the Game Gear version (based on the above release) was titled Revenge of Drancon in North America (it was simply called Wonder Boy everywhere else).
  • Reformulated Game: The SG-1000 version is essentially a different game, with its own (smaller) set of original stages and music. The same goes for the home computer version (released for Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum).
  • True Final Boss: In the Master System version, the last area and King's true form can only be reached by collecting all of the dolls hidden throughout the game.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Wonder Boy has to stay well fed, or else he'll die. In his two other appearances as Bocke Lee Temjin/Book the Hero in Wonder Boy: Monster Land and again as Wonder Boy in Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, this has been done away with.