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Video Game / Monster World IV

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Japanese cover art with various Asha poses plastered all over the box.
See the artwork for Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World. 

Monster World IV is the sixth installment in the Wonder Boy franchise, originally released for the Mega Drive before the franchise's 20 years long break. The player controls Asha, a young girl who embarks on a journey to help out spirits calling for her, and is accompanied by an amorphous Ridiculously Cute Critter known as a Pepelogoo and a disgruntled genie who escorts Asha to the Kingdom of Rapadagna. Notable for being the only "Monster World" game without a male protagonist and thus was originally released without the usual "Wonder Boy" branding.

Monster World IV remained exclusive to the Japanese market until Sega released an English-language version of the game for the Wii Virtual Console, Play Station Network and Xbox Live Arcade (the XBLA release is part of Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World along with the original versions (in Japanese and English) of Wonder Boy: Monster Land and Wonder Boy in Monster World) in May 2012, and included the game into the built-in library of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Mini in 2019.


A remake called Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World was announced in August 2020 and released on May 28th, 2021 on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, with a PC version released through Steam coming on June 29th.

Tropes in Monster World IV:

  • Achievement Mockery: The PS3 port awards a trophy for jumping off the cliff at the start of the game. It returns in the PS4 version of the remake.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Fear Incarnate/ BioMeka is renamed as Warera in the remake.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The remake includes some changes that will make Asha's journey easier for newcomers and veterans alike.
    • Players no longer have to talk to the Sage to save their game, and can save whenever they please as long as they're not in a boss battle. On the other hand, the game has no auto-save feature, so players must save manually to avoid losing progress.
    • Multiple items are now stored as one, allowing Asha to carry up to nine of each item, which means that players no longer have to worry about the Inventory Management Puzzle of the Ice Pyramid.
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    • Speaking of the Ice Pyramid, Asha can now obtain a map that reveals the stage layout for all three sections, the door spells are now directional inputs, and the arrows always fire in the same pattern if you get it wrong, making them easier to block. The Sphinx also doesn't send Asha into a bunch of spikes for getting a question wrong. She's simply sent into a room with a fountain to wash her face.
    • Asha can now perform a Magical Hit by filling up a gauge and holding down a button while attacking. The gauge only depletes when you've landed a successful hit.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The game's setting style, in a departure from the Middle Ages setting from the other games. Examples of this include:
    • A genie
    • Scimitars
    • A magic carpet
    • A merchant who uses a camel
    • A Taj Mahal-esque palace
    • Caravans
    • Some of the music is done in an Arabic-style
    • Princess Purapril XIII looks different from her predecessors resembling more of a Bedlah Babe than a Princess Classic.
  • Auto-Revive: If Asha has both a Healing Medicine and Pepelogoo with her when she dies, the Pepelogoo will automatically use the medicine on her, reviving her on the spot.

  • Breakout Character: Asha has become the most well-known character in entire franchise thanks to her being (not the first) a major playable female heroine and her expressive personality. Even Sega treated her as a series' representative character such as Monster World Collection, both in the cover art and title screen, featured in Sega Gals figurine line-up, and in a free-download wallpaper on Japanese Sega Ages Online site suited for mobile devices. She also has the most artwork created by various artists compared to the other heroes.

  • Back from the Dead: Three examples: 1) Pepe returns to help you during the final battle. 2) The final boss, Fear Incarnate, is Biomeka from Wonder Boy in Monster World. 3) Pepe is revived again during the ending credits by Asha.
  • Badass Adorable: Asha fits this trope to a T. Not only does she go out and fight against the evil threatening the world. She is also the one to finally put an end to Biomeka. All that while looking so cute and childlike at the same time!
  • Badass Cape: Asha gets a pretty impressing one from the Queen after defeating Evil Incarnate, complete with shoulderpads of doom.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Appear as enemies in Handera Volcano.
    • The Remake adds more of these to each of the Gates and the Underground Fort, each with different elemental alignments.
  • Beneath the Earth: The setting of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Big Bad: Fear Incarnate. Who is actually Biomeka.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A fully grown Pepe gets to be the hero twice.
  • Book Dumb: Slightly implied with Asha, who considers almost every book in Rapadagna palace library boring or impossible to read. This even includes a book about the Magic of Eleanora (the same magic Shion used) thus probably explaining her lack of magic abilities besides the magical hit.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • The Queen, and also the citizens to a minor extent.
    • The Yellow Pepelogoos were responsible for the brainwashing, but were, as it turns out, brainwashed themselves to serve Biomeka.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • One of Rapadagna Palace Guards comment on how silly it is how some videogame characters like him always repeat the same lines.
    • On your first visit to the Kingdom of Rapadagna, one of the townspeople who tells you about the monsters that are multiplying as of late will also say "People always say stuff like that in RPGs."
    • The hidden Magic Merchant in Rapadagna outright says he was there solely for "debugging purposes."
    • In the remake, the Sage points out that he would normally save the game for Asha, but now that players can save whenever they want, that puts him out of a job.
    • At the end of the game, the Lamp Spirit addresses the player and tells them that they helped bring peace to Monster World. In the remake, depending on how many Life Drops were collected, he'll suspect that you've played the 16-bit version before, and in regards to a possible sequel, decides it's better not to say anything.
  • Call-Back:
    • The four elemental spirits are actually Shion's temporary sidekicks from the previous game.
    • One of the books in the Royal Library is called Magic of Eleanora, Eleanora being the fairy queen from the previous game.
    • Shion and his heroics are mentioned in one of the books.
    • Biomeka, the villain from Wonder Boy in Monster World IS Fear Incarnate.
    • The last stage's theme song is a sort of remix of the sky castle stage's theme of Wonder Boy in Monster World.
  • Cat Smile: Asha gets one in the remake when she watches the Pepelogoo hatch from its egg.
  • Cheat Code: In the remake, putting in a code at the title screen unlocks the 16-bit soundtrack to use in the game.
    • Mythology Gag: This same code was also usable in the original Genesis version, where it unlocked the Sound Test.
    • A different one can be inputted on the second controller if it's plugged in, allowing access to a debug menu and level select.
  • Chest Monster: Giant coins and giant bags of money attack you in the Sky Castle.
  • The Chosen One: It's written in one of the books in the library that "When cataclysm befalls the land, a hero shall appear to battle the Dark Ones and restore peace", obviously referring to Asha (and possibly Wonder Boy heroes in general). Biomeka realizes this far too late.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Asha is unique amongst Wonder Boys/Wonder Girls in that she has no ability to attack at a distance. For her it's all about slashing something with a sword.
  • Collision Damage: Averted with most enemies (the ones that do hurt you are the ones that look painful, like the ones that are on fire), despite being played straight in the rest of the series.
  • Continuity Nod: The aforementioned final boss. Also, the four spirits you rescue are Shion's companions from Wonder Boy in Monster World.
    • The Lamp Spirit's Lietmotif, "Lamp de Godjarre" has musical nods not just to the Recurring Riff of this game, but to the tracks "Theme of Purapril" from Wonder Boy in Monster World, "Monsterland" from Wonder Boy in Monsterland, and the Stage Start fanfare from the original Wonder Boy.
    • "A Cradle Song of Pepelogoo" sung by the recently revived Pepe serves as one to the aforementioned "Theme of Purapril", taking place in the throne room of Purapril XIII.
  • Creepy Centipedes: The Tower of Silence has an Oomukade as the boss. She's a Warm-Up Boss, as she only has one attack and goes down with a dozen stabs.
  • Critical Hit: Some swords have a 20% chance of landing "Magical Hits", which will deal more damage than a normal strike. In the remake, Asha can perform these after filling up a gauge.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: The crazy old woman walking around with a pan on her head, telling you the Pepelogoos are harbingers of doom and despair is completely correct.
  • Cute Is Evil: The yellow Pepelogoos turn out to be malevolent little critters whom Fear Incarnate and the Wizards are using to emotionally control the inhabitants of the town.
  • Darkest Hour: After the yellow Pepelogoos reveal themselves, possessing everbody, the background music in town switches to an ominous tune. The villagers are apathetic and some are very rude to you (including the rich lady, who won't buy gold bars from you) and the armor merchant is no longer there. On top of that, the previously nice queen is going mad with power, and after confronting her, Pepe nearly dies and can't follow you anymore.
  • Dem Bones: Skeleton fencers who show up in the Sky Castle.
  • Disney Death: Pepe's second Heroic Sacrifice, as he goes down with Biomeka, only to be brought back in the ending.
  • Double Jump: A rare justified example—Asha can hold onto Pepe as she jumps, then leap off Pepe for an extra boost.
  • Embedded Precursor: The physical versions of the remake include the original Genesis version. The Playstation 4 version includes a download code, while the Switch version has both games on the same card, which both appear on the main menu.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The Pepelogoo egg. Asha has to find it and hatch it before she can go to Handera Volcano.
  • Evil All Along: The yellow Pepelogoos through Demonic Possession that took place well before Asha came to town.
  • Evil Costume Switch: In the remake, when the Queen gets turned evil by the brainwashing, she switches to a black, skimpy outfit.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of Ancient Arabia in particular.
  • Famed In-Story: Shion, the protagonist from the previous game seems to be remembered by everyone as a saviour in past times.
  • Flying Carpet: Used to reach the sky dungeon.
  • Frictionless Ice: Shows up in the third Ice Pyramid. Once Asha starts sliding, she can't stop unless she grabs Pepe or bounces off a wall or an enemy.
  • The Goomba: The slimes. Generic slimes are the first enemies Asha encounters, and due to the lack of Collision Damage, they can't even hurt her. More harmful variants show up later, but they still move in the same basic pattern.
  • Guide Dang It!: Finding all of the game's life drops, but more so in the remake, as several more have been added in hidden areas and can't be collected after certain points in the game.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Ice Pyramid is a mix of Temple of Doom and Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • Harping on About Harpies: The bird-woman who appears as a sub-boss in the Handera Volcano stage.
  • Heart Container: Collecting 10 Life Drops will permanently increase Asha's maximum health by one heart. There's actually more Life Drops than is necessary to max out Asha's health, so don't worry if you miss a bunch.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Done twice by Pepe. First, he takes the missile that the possessed Queen shoots at Asha. Then, in the final battle, he blocks the boss from using his petrifying gaze, getting turned to stone himself in the process.
  • Honest Axe: In the Stream Sanctuary, there's a part where you must throw a bucket in a well and then honestly tell the magician which of the buckets is yours. If you lie, you have to restart the conversation. If you tell the truth, you can go fight the Water Wizard.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Just after completing the Sky Castle/Aegis Island, Asha must encounter the brainwashed Queen again. This time there is no winning the fight as any attack you try does nothing to her and her attacks do triple damage compared to the rest of the game. It is subverted after you are down to one heart when Pepe returns and sings the Cradle Song of Pepelogoo that reverses all of the corruption that occurred in the town. However, in the remake, you have to decrease her health halfway through for Pepe to arrive.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Queen fights with fans. They do a lot of damage.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: In the Sky Castle. They're tiny, and they move.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: At a certain point in the Sky Castle, Asha has to enter a door that shrinks her to half her size. This has also happened to the castle's residents, and only by shrinking herself will Asha be able to hear them.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Asha only has room for 10 items in her pockets. This doesn't come into play until you reach the Ice Pyramid, where you must make room for each of the five statues in your inventory.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: The Pepelogoo. During the adventure, he gets into all sorts of harmful things (like serving as a platform while in contact with lava or getting frozen) without a scratch on him.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Handera Volcano.
  • Lucky Seven: Acquiring exactly 777G at any point will earn you 7000G. If you're lucky to get this bonus as early as you can, then you can easily afford some good equipment early on.
  • Macro Zone: A portion of the Sky Castle where Asha has to shrink to proceed. Mouse enemies become much more dangerous to her, and she can't even damage the mini-boss until she returns to normal size.
  • Mega Neko: Pepelogoo looks like a big cat when fully grown.
  • Not Quite Flight: Asha can glide by holding onto Pepe in midair.
  • Obviously Evil: The Wizards in their human forms. Scowling faces with black beards, pointy ears, Evil Laugh... Come on! And they don't even try to hide from Asha they are spies even in the city.
  • Opening Scroll: This will occur after waiting on two title screens and one play demo that served as the prologue. This happens first thing in the remake.
  • Our Genies Are Different: The Genie in this game doesn't grant any wishes, and instead serves as Asha's personal escort to the Kingdom of Rapadagna whenever needed.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Once you clear a level, you cannot go back to it. If you missed any valuable items such as Life Drops and Gold Bars...well, you won't be able to go back for them any more. The remake initially allows you to go back to levels (except the starting area), but certain Life Drops can't be obtained if they weren't collected the first time. If you let the story progress too far, Pepelogoo becomes unavailable...
    • The armors become unavailable after the armor salesman leaves town toward the end, including the best one, the Legendary Armor. He comes back with legendary gear once you've gone far enough in the final dungeon.
    • The Magic Merchant will not spawn if you interracted with any Sages of Save up until you find him in Rapadagna.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: There's a ghost-like minotaur creature who appears in the Ice Pyramid.
  • Pop Quiz: The Sphinx, yet again, gives you one before you enter the third part of the Ice Pyramid.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • Nearly the entire soundtrack consists of rearrangements of the game's main theme.
    • The final dungeon theme contains a snippet of "Last Dungeon", a recurring theme in the series first heard in Wonder Boy in Monster Land.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Pepelogoo, especially Pepe.
  • Sequel Hook: Played With in the remake. If you get most but not all the Life Drops at the end, the Lamp Spirit figures that the player wants to know if there's another game in the works, but points out that they probably don't want to know the answer.
  • Series Fauxnale: Asha is the one who finally puts an end to Biomeka. This game used to be the Series Finale until the announcement of a new game in 2015. It is also the final game of the series to be released under Sega's helm, and the last one to sport the familiar Monster World title.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Pepe does not follow Asha during the final two levels after nearly getting killed.
  • Shock and Awe: The Sky Wizard's attacks consist of lighting bolts and turning his cloud hands into electricity. A few other enemies have electric attacks too, such as electric slimes.
  • Shop Fodder: Gold bars. They can be sold to a woman in the Kingdom of Rapadagna for extra cash.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Ice Pyramid, but particularly the final section, where Asha can slip on ice and render her vulnerable.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": This Sega Gals figurine of Asha and Pepelogoo, which predated the English version, spells their names as "Arsha" and "Peperogu" respectively (despite the latter used in the Sound Test).
    • In the remake, Purapril is spelled as "Prapril".
  • Super Drowning Skills: Unlike most heroes in the series, Asha cannot swim, so she has to call Pepe to rescue her if she falls into deep water.
  • Taken for Granite: One of Biomeka's attacks.
  • Underground Monkey: The slimes come in a few different varieties to match whatever world they're in, including fire slimes, electric slimes, and ice slimes. The green cyclopses also have red Palette Swap counterparts who take more hits to defeat.
  • Underwater Ruins: Stream Sanctuary.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Asha does this whenever she yawns if you don't touch the controller for a while.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Underground Fort.