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Video Game / Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

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Jin, surrounded by his monster transformations.

After more than twenty years of silence (if not for the worldwide release of the English version of Monster World IV in 2012) , the Wonder Boy series was suddenly Un-Canceled in early 2015, when the trailer for a new installment was released. Instead of being titled Monster World (like all Metroidvanias in the series were called in Japan) or Wonder Boy (like they were still called everywhere else) , both titles were combined to form Monster Boy.

What finally became Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom was originally merely a Spiritual Successor to Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap created by the French developer Game Atelier called Flying Hamster II: Knight of the Golden Seed. After an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign, the project nevertheless could find a publisher (FDG Entertainment) and, better yet, was noticed by one of the founders of Westone Bit Entertainment and the creator of the Wonder Boy franchise, Ryuichi Nishizawa, who went on to collaborate on the game, and gave the studio the green light to turn the Spiritual Successor into a full-fledged sequel, with a story integrated in the overall Monster World continuity.


The game has a new protagonist, Jin, who one day discovers his uncle Nabu drunk as a skunk, flying on a barrel, wielding a magic wand, transforming people into monsters and otherwise wreaking havoc.

Originally slated for a 2017 release, the game was finally released on 4 December, 2018, available for direct download and limited physical distribution on the the PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch platforms.

Its official website is here, complete with a trailer, a developer blog and pre-order information. The original Kickstarter campaign can be found here.


Tropes in this game include:

  • Ability Required to Proceed: It's a Metroidvania game.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The game kicks off when Jin's bewitched uncle gets his hands on a magic wand and a lot of booze, and starts flying around randomly casting Baleful Polymorph on people for the lulz. The key to defeating him in the penultimate dungeon is to sober him up.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Parodied. The Pig's eyepatch switches from one eye to another depending on where he is facing, but if you let the Pig idle for a minute he will intentionally switch his eyepatch to the side facing the player and will continue that way until you make him turn around.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: In relation to Monster World IV. Is Pepelogoo the same one who accompanied Asha on her adventure or is it a descendant? The previous three protagonists are explicitly refered to as "Ancient Heroes", but no hint is given of how much time has passed since the fourth hero's victory. A secret ending, however, reveals that the game at least takes place within Asha's lifetime.
  • An Ice Person: The ice equipment allows you freeze water, solidify molten lava and trap enemies in ice so they can be used as platforms; Metroid-style.
  • Animorphism: A prominent feature from Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap that was brought back in the game. Most of the Monster World's inhabitants have also been transformed into animals prior to the game's beginning. Others were this originally, but the curse did change some of them into animals... of different species.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you're having trouble beating a boss Zeke will eventually start flying across the top of the screen and dropping hearts.
    • Because one specific equipment upgrade (Freeze enemies with the Ice Sword) is required to proceed, the game makes non-required upgrades involving legendary gems unavailable until you've gotten the mandatory one; preventing players from accidentally using up their legendary gems and making the game unwinnable.
    • The rough location of all Golden Equipment fragments can be found on a map in the final dungeon. The location of all treasure chests and music sheets you don't find yourself can be purchased from a store in the second village once you have the Dragon Orb. Said hint does not say how to get said items, however, just what map square to find them on.
  • Armor of Invincibility: Two candidates, the Golden Armor starts off with a strong 3 rating for defence. It also prevents all status effects!! Unfortunately if you have the complete upgraded set, you'll get a huge damage increase but you also take significantly more damage which puts the Golden Armor down to just respectable protection. The Onyx Darkplate starts off with a respectable 2 rating and prevents stun/slow when upgraded. But if you have the complete upgraded set, you take half damage on top of the armor's normal protection. The game then rates the armor at a unique 4.
  • Attack Reflector: Different shields can reflect different types of projectiles back at the attacker. If a shield cannot reflect it, then the projectile disappears upon contact.
  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack is worth a listen, with a special mention for the final battle theme, courtesy of one Motoi Sakuraba.
  • Baleful Polymorph: People who Nabu turned, including Jin's brother Zeke.
  • Blackout Basement: The Lost Temples and undersea trench require lighting torches and activating glowing crystals respectively. Fortunately, wearing equipment with the "shiny" property lights up a larger area around Jin depending on the percentage of shininess.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: After Nabu found Mysticat talking to Lord Xaros, they decided to get rid of him this way... and that's why he started turning everybody into monsters.
  • Boring, but Practical: The set bonus of the Fire Equipment lets you regenerate hearts by walking. This remains useful for most of the game thanks to the high defense of the Crimson armor and the game's overall stinginess with dropping hearts.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Pepelogoos from Monster World IV make their return.
  • Call-Back:
    • The four heroes from the past games (Boy, Bocke Lee Temjin / Book the Hero, Shion, and Asha) make an appearance on stained glass from a local chapel. Their relics also become collectible items as part of necessary Fetch Quest to advance the plot.
    • Pepelogoo you meets early in the game claims it's looking for "green-haired girl," which'll ring a bell if you've played Monster World IV.
    • Using an ocarina during a cutscene temporarily transports Jin to Alsedo, the fairy village in Wonder Boy in Monster World. A fairy opts to teach you how to use your ocarina, just like how she did to Shion in that game.
  • Carry a Big Stick: The 2nd last weapon you get is the Morningstar for the heavy Onyx set. This beast can break any block including the ones requiring bombs (it just can't break through Dark Matter). It can be upgraded to do a powerful Shockwave Stomp making this the Infinity -1 Sword and later it can be further upgraded to do a Ground Wave.
  • The Cavalry: After the first phase of the final boss, Lord Xaros traps Jin in an unbreakable cage... and then Nabu appears, throwing bottles of liquor at Xaros's face to distract him as Zeke breaks Jin free and Pepelogoo eats the orbs powering Xaros up.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: Every boss dies in this fashion.
  • Chest Monster: One is fought in the haunted mansion. A second one can be fought in the castle if you refuse to give him 500 coins in exchange for his treasure.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Dark Realm.
  • Dénouement Episode: The main villain in this game is unrelated to the aliens Bocke, Shion and Asha fought against in the other Monster World games. That threat is completely gone and isn't even referenced in this game.
  • Denser and Wackier: The game's beginning looks this way. After having multiple installments where the protagonists fight off Biomeka and his armies of monsters and aliens, this game's plot is kicked off by the protagonist's uncle getting drunk and somehow obtaining magical powers. Things do get more serious as the game progresses though.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Golden equipment, with each part split into five pieces and scattered across the game map. Only the Golden Sword is required for completing the game.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Started out as a sequel to Flying Hamster...
  • Double Jump: Gained by equipping the Prince Boots and any of the later footwear.
  • End Game Results Screen
  • Extreme Omnivore: Pepelogoo can eat ghosts... and the cursed monster orbs that power up Lord Xaros. In a single bite.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Nabu starts transforming everybody into monsters after drinking too much "Royal Nectar". To get him to wake up, you need to make him drink water. Yeah. Almost makes you forget the game was once called "Wizard of Booze".
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Lord Xaros doesn't get any characterisation or backstory beyond "Evil bad guy wanting to conquer/destroy the world"
  • Gonk: The King's ..ahem.. "gorgeous" wife, she doesn't look that much different as a human then she did as a hippo.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: With the game being a tad stingy with hearts and several other methods of recovering health requiring a fight (such as blocking an attack with an upgraded Crimson Scutum), getting the Crimson Set Bonus is a godsend as you slowly regain health when you walk (it has to be walking). An upgraded Knight Gleam-Targe lets you regenerate when it's reflecting light.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The means of opening the corked well in the village are never hinted at anywhere in-game and at one point requires basic knowledge of morse code to work out a combination. There's even less indication that the glitched error message is a timed puzzle.
    • All barriers required to be destroyed with bombs in order to finish the game are clearly labelled as brown blocks with cartoon bombs drawn on them. Because of this a normal playthrough never demonstrates to the player that unlabelled walls and floors can also be destroyed with bombs.
    • One of the Power Gems is acquired by talking to a specific person in Lupia Village (The boar blacksmith, who first appears after acquiring the Frog Orb) instead of inside a chest, and therefore never appears on the map and the location cannot be purchased.
  • Heart Container
  • Hearts Are Health
  • Homing Projectile: Courtesy of the fully upgraded Teleport Rod.
  • Hub City: The Village of Lupia is this, more or less.
  • Indy Escape: The temple has a sequence with a very persistent boulder of questionable physics. There is a point where the boulder can be dodged, which allows accessing a chest without having to revisit the area.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Golden Sword is likely the final item you get in the game, as the last piece of it is in a chest shortly before you fight the final boss. It's by far the most damaging weapon in the game: it's the only weapon that has more than 2 power, when upgraded it has a whopping 50% chance of doing a critical hit and when you have the complete Golden set - you are Berserk and do double damage but with take 50% more damage, making the Golden Armor go from top-notch to being just respectable.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Haunted Manor, right before the boss battle, the Undead Wizard will speak an odd language that you can't comprehend, then he'll push you away in the closest save point. Do it again, and Pepelogoos then asked you, "Don't you have an option to understand ghost language?". When you check the Option Menu, the Ghost Language Translator will be available under the Language Options. This option is available just in Haunted Manor and useful only for this moment.
  • Legacy Boss Battle: The Myconid Master / Mushroom King shows up for the third time.
  • Legacy Character: Jin is a new protagonist.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: All the previous protagonists get this treatment. The humble ocarina, which Shion used to open a few doors in the first dungeon and then traded away for info shortly after, is now labelled "a legendary relic of an ancient hero" with a plaque instructing visitors to marvel at it.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Volcano.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Like other Wonderboy games, your magic is all single use. Luckily enemies can drop magic and it's pretty cheap to recharge.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Once you get all monster orbs, Mysticat reveals that this was his plan all along.
  • Metroidvania: Much like The Dragon's Trap, the protagonist needs to gain new transformations in order to be able to access new areas.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • The pig transformation, being a curse from Nabu, gets no magical orb to represent it, which means that you never need to use it against Lord Xaros. In fact, you can just forget poor Pig in the final dungeon and never rescue him, as the game tucks him away in an optional area, though he is necessary to get the final Golden Gem.
    • Despite being featured on the stained glass windows of the sanctuary, Asha is the only one of the previous legendary heroes who does not get a relic representing her, and doesn't appear in spirit form to help out Jin. However, this turns out to be justified because she's not dead.
  • Mythology Gag: When the game became part of the Wonder Boy continuity, Pig gained an eyepatch to match the shopkeeper from The Dragon's Trap. He was also supposed to smoke during his idle animations, but that was removed to keep the age rating low.
  • Multiform Balance: Every form has a special power, which is used to access new areas, solve new puzzles and/or fight enemies with different tactics.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: The amoebas you face in the Dark Realm can only harmed by laser obstacles and having the Frog yank out their nucleus with his tongue and then attacking it. The ghosts are immune to your attacks when they're intangible, but if you have Pepelogoo with you - he'll instantly kill the weaker ones by eating them and other undead can be roasted by his light beam.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Killing Lord Xaros instantly cures everybody in the kingdom who'd been cursed by Nabu.
  • Nostalgia Level: The first area of the game matches the layout of the first level of Wonder Boy: Monster Land with its music being a remix of that game's first level theme. Additionally, the sewer maze's layout is identical to the opening level of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap.
  • Oxygen Meter: A first for the series. Only the frog form is able to stay underwater indefinitely.
  • Palmtree Panic: Skullrock Beach.
  • Poltergeist: The haunted mansion uses this as a gameplay mechanic, with both Jin and the ghostly enemies being able to possess furniture.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: This game gets pricey pretty with all the equipment you need to buy and supplies to restock. The best way to rack up the money is after leaving the Village of Aeria and going to the volcano. At the entrance of the volcano is a save spot and lodes of bricks full of gold. Using a form with a downward attack, smash your way to the bottom of the entrance while harvesting the gold and then die in the lava lake. You'll revive at the save spot hundreds of coins richer, repeat until you can afford everything.
  • Power Up Let Down: The morning star's shockwave ability. On paper, it should be awesome, after you stun an enemy with your Shockwave Stomp, a shockwave immediately comes out to hit the enemy for more damage. In reality, it's rather worthless. The shockwave has mediocre range, but even if you're in range, the tremor tends to knock an enemy over the incoming wave and even when it doesn't, a Mercy Invincibility kicks in for your enemy as the shockwave comes too early.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: Both the title sequence and the ending are anime-style cutscenes.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Exaggerated. The only ones who don't make an appearance are Leo and Purapril from Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair. And even these two have a mural dedicated to them.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Pig's eyepatch. He constantly swaps it from one eye to the other due to his Ambidextrous Sprite, and even plays with it during his idle animation.
  • Recurring Riff: The soundtrack borrows a lot of music from previous games, including the recurring "Last Dungeon" theme. That's not to say that it doesn't have original music, far from it.
  • Random Drop Booster: The Mage Bracelet improves the drop rate of magic ammunition and the Set Bonus for the Prince equipment causes Rainbow Drops to, uh, drop.
  • Retcon: Unlike the lore described in the western Wonder Boy in Monster Land Master System manual, and more recently a reference in the character select menu from the Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap remake, this game clearly shows Boy and Bocke Lee Temjim / Book the Hero as two distinct legendary heroes.
  • Retraux:
    • To regain his transformations in the Dark Realm, Jin has to complete a mini-dungeon depicted in Atari-style graphics for each form.
    • Playing the console in the hidden room underneath the village and getting past the glitched screen lets you replay the first boss of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, with Jin re-drawn in that game's pixelated style.
  • Ribcage Stomach: No ribs are actually shown, but getting swallowed by the Ancient Frog gives you access to its heart.
  • Riddling Sphinx: The Multiple-Choice Quiz-ing Sphinx returns once again. This time a Mayan feathered serpent version who is implied to be the cousin of the traditional Egyptian Sphinx from the prior games.
  • Sea Mine: Some underwater areas are loaded with those, some of which start off anchored to the floor and rise up when a crab cuts the rope.
  • Set Bonus: Every piece of equipment barring the starting gear has a special bonus earned by wearing a full set of fully upgraded matching armour. For example, wearing the full set of ice gear grants complete fire damage immunity, whereas the full onyx gear halves all damage at the cost of severely reducing your mobility.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The upgraded morningstar can generate a tremor that affects every ground enemy on the screen, making the morningstar one of the best weapons in the game. The morningstar can be upgraded further to do a Ground Wave as well though this is an underwhelming upgrade.
  • The Stinger: If 100% completion is achieved before fighting the final boss, an extra picture after the credits reveals that the green-haired girl Pepelogoo was seeking was Asha herself who is still alive.
  • Standard Status Effects: Introduced for the first time in the series. Fortunately certain gear can be upgraded to grant immunity to specific status ailments.
  • Storming the Castle: The penultimate dungeon.
  • Suddenly Voiced:
    • For the first time in the series, Jin is not a Heroic Mime. Shion also speaks for the first time.
    • And apparently the Pepelogoos can talk now.
  • Sword Beam: With the proper upgrades and bracelets, Jin can shoot an unlimited amount of two fat fireballs from his Fire Blade and two ice bolts with his Ice Sword. With the Fire Blade, you can only shoot the fireballs if you are 100% healthy unless you have the upgraded Crimson Bracelet.
  • Sword Plant: Most forms get this as a standard move.
  • Three Strike Combo: Jin can perform this by tapping the attack button while holding forward in his human form. Amusingly, the only animal form that retains this skill is the pig, who uses his hooves and belly instead of a sword.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Mysticat.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Foximus, the fox blacksmith in the woods. He only works with gold.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Right after defeating the first boss you get transformed into a Pig and lose the ability to use armor and swords. It's particularly jarring for those who bought the game after playing the demo (which ends with the aforementioned transformation) expecting a sword wielding boy going on an adventure only to find out that the Pig and Snake forms can't use any weapons, and you don't see your sword again until you acquire the Frog form.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Each transformation after pig gets an artifact which unlocks a new ability - including human. The dragon form even gets A Taste of Power by starting out with the artifact and then having to reacquire it again permanently.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: In a departure from The Dragon's Trap, the character is able to transform into any previously acquired form at will without needing a special item.
  • We Need a Distraction: In the penultimate cutscene (just before the final battle), uncle Nabu rushes in and pelts the big bad with bottles, drawing his attention while Zeke rescues you and Pepelogoo saps his power.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lord Xaros 'rewards' Mysticat with this once he hands over the orbs needed to revive him.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: When a guard asks you for a password, it renders as a multiple-choice question for you. If you haven't yet unveiled the clues about the password, you get a different set of choices, all obviously wrong.

Alternative Title(s): Monster Boy And The Wizard Of Booze


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