A series of side-scrolling platform games developed by Sega and Westone. Originally began as a trilogy of thematically-related arcade games (Wonder Boy, Monster Land, and Monster Lair), each with drastically different play mechanics from the last. The second arcade game spun-off the Monster World sub-series on home consoles, which adapted an action RPG approach.
- Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Arcadenote ; PC Enginenote , Master Systemnote , Famicomnote , Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, and i-mode and Vodafone live!note )
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (Arcade; PC Engine CD-ROM2note , and Mega Drive)
- Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (Master Systemnote ; TurboGrafx-16note , and Game Gearnote )
- Wonder Boy in Monster World (Mega Drivenote ; Master System, and TurboGrafx-CDnote )
- Monster World IV (Mega Drive; Japan only until May 2012)
- Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World (2021 remake for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC)
- Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC)
Young Nastyman does not feature in this series, nor is the title in any way related to the couple of Spear Counterparts to Wonder Girl titled Wonder Boy that have appeared infrequently in Wonder Woman comics.
Wonder Boy general series tropes:
- Aliens Are Bastards: There isn't a single non-malicious alien in the series.
- Alien Invasion: The sneaky infiltration variety occurs in Wonder Boy in Monster Land with the reveal that the dragon leading the evil monster invasion was actually a robot crafted by aliens in flying saucers. They try it again in Wonder Boy in Monster World by brainwashing the Darkworld prince and making him the head of a new monster army. Finally, the last surviving alien tries to take over using a Hate Plague spread by cute fuzzy pets in Monster World IV. It doesn't directly come into play in The Dragon's Trap, in which Wonder Boy instead deals with the ramifications of having thwarted the first attempt.
- Clothes Make the Legend: Quite literally with the Legendary equipment, canonically worn by each successive Wonder Boy (and Asha) since Monster Land.
- Compilation Rerelease: The Monster World: Complete Collection (PlayStation 2, Japan only) not only has all six main games, it also includes all of the cross-platforms ports (at least the ones that came out on Sega consoles) and some of the different regional releases.
- Genre Shift: The three arcade games in the series are different from each other. The first Wonder Boy is a straightforward platformer, Monster Land is an action RPG/platformer hybrid, and Monster Lair is an Auto Scrolling platformer with Shoot 'em Up segments. All of the console sequels though, stuck to the action RPG/platformer format of Monster Land.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Each new threat of evil monsters turns out to be yet another world conquest attempt by the technologically-advanced space aliens from the previous game. Averted in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, where the main threat is otherworldly in nature and no aliens are present.
- Legacy Character:
- Boy from the original game, Bocke Lee Temjin (AKA Book the Hero) from Monster Land and The Dragon's Trap, and Shion from Monster World (at least in the comic) have been called Wonder Boy, and as a result, the former two have been confused for each other until Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom finally disconfirmed it. In any case, Leo from Monster Lair and Jin from Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom are clearly different characters, and Purapril and Asha are girls, thus obviously unfit for the "Wonder Boy" title.
- Likewise, Shiela Purapril from Monster World and Purapril XIII (or "Praprill XIII") from Monster World IV are both separate from the Monster Lair heroine (seemingly Purapril I).
- Limited-Use Magical Device: In Wonder Boy fantasy games, magic is single use though the Boomerang magic doesn't disappear from your inventory if you manage to catch it.
- Medieval European Fantasy: Wonder Boy in Monster Land to Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom all have this setting with the exception of Monster World IV, which features an Arabian Fantasy setting instead.
- Metroidvania: After experimenting with different genres, the series settled for this form with The Dragon's Trap.
- Oddly Named Sequel: The lineage of the series is hard to keep track of thanks in part to the various name changes each installment has gone through between localizations, cross-platform ports and licensed remakes made by other companies.
- Outside-Genre Foe: Most of the games present the initial premise of a heroic youth fighting to save the land from an army of evil monsters in a Medieval fantasy setting. Then it turns out the leader of the monsters was being controlled by extra-terrestrial aliens with robots and flying saucers
- Recurring Riff: Multiple tracks will get reused in some form in different games, but "Last Dungeon" is probably the most iconic, appearing in four of the five Monster World titles (Monster World IV is the lone exception).
- Sudden Name Change: The setting's name was suddenly changed from "Monster Land" to "Monster World" as the sequels and ports went on. Notably, The Dragon's Trap includes both interchangeably (the remade text even went with the former in English and the latter in Japanese). And according to the Monster Land Master System manual, it was formerly known as "Wonder Land" before the dragon and his monsters invaded. For the most part, the series settled with Monster World, or "Monster World Kingdom" in Monster Boy.
- Title Confusion: There are two games titled "Wonder Boy III" and both are justified since they're the third Wonder Boy games for their corresponding platforms. Monster Lair was the third arcade game and The Dragon's Trap was the third Master System game. Officially speaking, the latter is known as Monster World II in Japan, where it is recognized as the fourth Wonder Boy game, since the following game (Wonder Boy in Monster World) was called Wonder Boy V: Monster World III over there.
- To Be Continued: The original versions of Monster Land and Monster World explicitly end this way.
- Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: Happens to the many protagonists throughout the series when they die.