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Video Game / Wonder Boy

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Boy/Tom-Tom & Tina/Tanya in the forest with an angel & many of their mooks.
See the artwork of Wonder Boy Returns 

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 Boy (aka Wonder Boy), a young boy in a tropical setting who sets out to rescue his girlfriend 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.


Surprisingly, long after the announcement of Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom and the Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap remake, Korean company CFK released a follow-up called Wonder Boy Returns via Steam on October 12, 2016. It uses the same arcade gameplay as the original, but redesigned levels and bosses, with the main antagonist being a Big Red Devil. On November 22, 2016, the Ver 1.0 update was released to address issues players had with the initial release, and included two additional playable characters: Classic Boy and (New) Tina. Unfortunately, Wonder Boy Returns had been delisted on March 23, 2019, with an actual remake using the same assets, Wonder Boy Returns Remix in place later released on August 8, 2019.


Tropes in the original Wonder Boy and Wonder Boy Returns/Returns Remix:

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Tina/Tanya in Returns/Returns Remix.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Returns Remix allowed you to throw 3 weapons on-screen as supposed to 2 in original & a Charged Attack ability to destroy rocks, boulders, & many enemies at once. Boy or Tina/Tanya will no longer stumbled & lose damage if you run into specific hazards that contained hidden dolls & also can be appeared by destroy them away with charged weapons. Also in Returns/Returns Remix, the life counters always resets at 5 upon entering any stages in Normal Mode, making get 1-ups rather useless & more like a chances.
  • The Artifact: Returns Remix had many teases where some Returns' unique assets was carried over because the removal most of exclusive & original contents of the latter, as well as the Remix part of the title. Notably, the visual stage background behind the characters in the title screen shows a snow & volcano level stage tile that wasn't part of actual level, every stages had kept the same order of unique level theme tunes intact, the same old Head Swap bosses, same old enemies, & even the same cutscenes; therefore the same Big Red Devil that you can't fought at all in Returns Remix.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The skateboard item is making the progress much faster but there's no way to backtracking at will as it keep continuously move & press left button will slows him down instead.
  • Babies Ever After: One of the endings of Wonder Boy Returns Remix shows that Boy and Tina had four boys and four girls.
  • Battle Boomerang: Tina's weapon in Wonder Boy Returns is a boomerang instead of a stone axe.
  • Chest Monster: The spotted eggs contain a Grim Reaper-type monster. If Boy touch one, they will along with him & drains energy meter faster. They will lasted in certain seconds or until at the very low energy.
  • Country Switch: The Master System port changes its title to Super Wonder Boy when played on a Japanese console.
  • Decoy Damsel: Applied in both Wonder Boy Returns & Returns Remix, after defeating the Big Bad in very last stage, Boy finds Tina on a sun lounger. Despite not seeming to be too distressed a damsel, she is still pleased to see him and hugs him...while looking over his shoulder at the now defeated devil, who winks. The animation suggests him playing a cupid-style role in kidnapping her in the first place, and sure enough the next scene shows Boy and Tina married.
  • Distressed Damsel: Pratically every splash screen of the Master System version has Tina tied up and squirming.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In Wonder Boy Returns's intro, after finding Wonder Boy ogling some girls, Tina mercilessly beats him to pulp.
  • 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: Boy and Tina became Tom-Tom and Tanya in the Master System and Game Gear home ports, and King became King Drancon in the latter. The Japanese releases and all other versions (except Returns Remix) use the original names, however.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Wonder Boy and Returns are the only games in the series to feature a prehistoric theme which created a Fashion Dissonance explained below, not to mention the only instance where the protagonist does not handle a sword... unless one counts the Adventure Island series as the true successor to the original game, in which case the basic changes include the protagonist given a new identity, the redesigned damsel in distress, and the antagonist replaced by other villains.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Picking up the skateboard power-up will automatically garb you in safety gear too, which does nothing but heaven forbid it set a bad example.
  • Fashion Dissonance: The game set in prehistoric theme, yet there's modern items exists like a skateboard, a helmet, a cake, & Tina's accessories that King stole, so Boy & Tina's sister (in Master System port, anyway) need to collect them back. Averted in Returns/Returns Remix as the characters wear more modern design costumes, the endings didn't try to hide the moderness of in-universe lifestyles too.
  • 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: In Wonder Boy and Returns Remix, King in each world is literally the same boss with a different head. After being defeated he changes to his next head. This was averted in Returns that featured many big creatures which was has been controlled by Big Red Devil to attack the heroes in their way.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The fruits can be turned into modern era foods & beverages, as well as boost up item score ten times if you touch a mushroom item in certain eggs. This wear off after you died.
  • In Name Only: Returns Remix is actual remake of arcade game; saved from playable Tina/Tanya & difficulty modes, without containing new contents of Returns provided.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Certain normal eggs contain an Angelic Beauty. If Boy touch one, they will give you invincibility in certain seconds & score chains from running through various enemies & hazards. Boy is also do V-sign pose if you running long enough without jump or throw an axe.
  • Moon Rabbit: In one night-time forest stage in Returns.
  • Obvious Beta: The initial release of Wonder Boy Returns, which resulted in the Ver 1.0 update.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: The only actions that don't result in instant death are tripping over rocks and encountering The Grim Reaper-type monster from spotted eggs as mentioned above.
  • Only Idiots May Pass: Practice Mode in Returns Remix is having play as Tina/Tanya with unlimited Invincibility Power-Up through all stages, & your rewards to beat it is... an intro cutscene of Wonder Boy Returns.
  • Point of No Continues: The arcade version doesn't allow you to continue anymore once you reach the final area.
  • Power-Up Letdown: On some levels, the skateboard's speed becomes a liability as it makes timing jumps between platforms more difficult. Downplayed in Returns/Returns Remix as like its divorced series counterpart sequels, it only used once per level.
  • Promoted to Playable: Tina in Wonder Boy Returns (Ver 1.0) and Wonder Boy Returns Remix.
  • Put on a Bus: Poor old unique enemies, bosses & diversive level themes in Returns had not been returned again after the game delisted, except the tease of The Artifacts in Returns Remix's title screen & promotional mockups. And neither these remakes have an exclusive themes, enemies, & Tina/Tanya's sister from Master System port.
  • 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). Wonder Boy Returns is also marketed as a remake, but features an entirely different set of stages as well, complete with exclusive themes and hazards.
  • Remember The New Girl?: The Girl that bring you to bonus level in Master System port is Tina/Tanya's sister, Pina; which does explained only in Japanese manual as well as its Wii's Virtual Console description. Also the aformentioned girls in the intro cutscene of Returns above had no any significant information about them whatsoever.
  • They Do: One of the endings of Wonder Boy Returns Remix shows that Boy and Tina got married.
  • True Final Boss: In the Arcade and Master System versions, the true final area and King's true form can only be reached by collecting all of the dolls hidden throughout the game.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Boy has to stay well fed, or else he'll die; if he dies of hunger, you'll be told "NO VITALITY !!".
  • You Gotta Have Green Hair: Tina in most versions (became a shade of blue in Returns and Returns Remix) and Boy in-game in the SG-1000 version. In older artwork, Tina has brown or blond hair instead.


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