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Video Game / Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair

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Japanese arcade flyer, depicting Leo and Purapril as well as the game's mechanics.
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, sometimes shortened to simply Monster Lair, is the third game in the Wonder Boy series. An auto-scrolling platform game/Shoot 'Em Up hybrid, it is the only game in the series to offer 2-players co-op play. Players control either Leo or Purapril, as they set off to follow in the footsteps of Book the Hero and free their land from a monster invasion.

Originally released in 1988, it was the last "Wonder Boy" game released for the arcades and saw home versions for the TurboGrafx-CD in 1989 and the Mega Drive in 1990.

Tropes in Monster Lair:

  • Adaptational Badass: The Myconid Master. In Monster Land, it's a coward who relies on minions. In Monster World, it's a Warm-Up Boss. In this game, it's a ruthless late-game boss who can only be defeated by its heart getting struck, and it has to be revealed through shots and a slot machine. And it even takes you on alone.
  • Astral Finale: The final battle happens in space, where you fight teleporting saucers and the Big Bad.
  • Battle Couple: The main heroes are this according to the TurboGrafx-CD manual, although the Mega Drive manual considers them at least close friends.
  • Bee Afraid: Round 4 and its boss. It's full of bees to act as mooks, and the boss has two phases. A beehive that summons minions, and an agile queen bee right after.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Round 6. The prior round has you ascending a mountain to reach the castle. Rounds 9 and 13 are also castles, though much more perilous and darker.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The arcade version's ending text. "The invaders from the space were destroyed by your courageous fight..." The Mega Drive's ending screen isn't much better.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The manual for the TurboGrafx-CD version calls the protagonist Adam, but the high scores still show his name as Leo.
  • Evil Doppelgänger: At first, the final boss appears to be Book the Hero (hence Wonder Boy in the title), but it turns out to be an alien imposter. He still uses the abilities of the hero, though.
  • Gameplay Roulette: The first half of each round is Auto Scrolling platforming, the second half, where you fight the boss, is Shoot 'Em Up.
  • Gaiden Game: This picks up from the ending of the arcade version of Monster Land, showing that the dragon was part of an alien scheme. The SMS sequel indicates that Book the Hero left the Legendary equipment behind in the collapsing castle after being cursed, explaining how it may have ended up in alien clutches, although he can optionally regain it near the end of the game.
  • The Great Serpent: The second boss is a gigantic flying snake several times larger than the player hero. The snake's head sprite is roughly the same as Wonder Boy's for starters.
  • Hard Mode Filler: Rounds 11, 12, and 13 are mainly rehashes of Rounds 1, 5 (with a touch of 7's Slippy-Slidey Ice World) and 9 (also iced over) respectively.
  • King Mook: About half the bosses, including a giant snake, a giant fish, a giant bat, the queen wasp, a cactus jack-o-lantern, a Giant Enemy Crab, etc. The Demon from Monster Land also returns.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Most of the rounds, as well as the boss battles, end before you get to hear the entirety of the music, at least in the TurboGrafx-CD version.
  • Market-Based Title: The TurboGrafx-CD version drops the Wonder Boy III part of the title and is simply called Monster Lair. This does not apply to the PC Engine version, which still used the arcade game's full title.
  • Monster Town: Round 10 is a village inhabited by the Myconid mushroom mooks from Monster Land, and the boss is a giant version.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Big Bad and Final Boss reveals his grotesque true form after you slay his dragon.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Mostly vampire bats. You face a Dracula/Frankenstein-inspired boss at Round 9.
  • Point of No Continues: Once you reach the Final Boss, you'll no longer be allowed to continue should you lose all your lives.
  • Rocket Punch: Round 13's boss has this. His fist is very fast and homes on the player.
  • Segmented Serpent: The boss of Round 2. A giant snake whose parts must all be shot enough times before it can be defeated.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Rounds 7 and 12. And 13 to an extent. The ice makes platforming difficult.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Purapril is also called "Pappilo" and "Papillo" in the European arcade flyer, and "Pricilla" in the Mega Drive version (Purapril is an accurate official translation of her name that comes her apparent descendants in Wonder Boy in Monster World and Monster World IV).note  In the TurboGrafx-CD manual, the playable characters were instead called "Adam" and "Laura", but this has issues (see Dub-Induced Plot Hole above).
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Just like the first game, with the food acting as timer. Fruit can extend your decreasing time limit; but there is a fairy who can turn them into even more useful sweets, and a grim reaper who turns them into useless flowers.