Jul. 8th, 2017

xyzzysqrl: (Sqrl Barbarian)
Or as I played it, "Wonder Girl". Changes the title screen and everything. A nice touch.

So here's what I DIDN'T like about Dragon's Trap:

A: The challenge rooms were really very challenging.
B: The momentum from running and jumping was still a bit slippery.
C: Maybe the level design is a little biased towards flat planes.

That's it. The rest was gold.

So you're already starting off with a great game: 1989's "Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap" for the Sega Master System. Linear stages but lots of reasons to revisit them and grab collectables, with an exploration-focused hub structure and several different cursed forms to play as: Dragon, Mouse, Piranha, Lion, Hawk. Each with its own talents, lots of collectible weapons, hidden secrets, okay that's all in the original game.

Then you paint over it with absolutely gorgeous drawn backgrounds and character sprites and play wonderful beautiful mixes of the level music over all that. There's a button that toggles between updated and original graphics, and I kept switching back to the original to go "But... how did this become THAT?" and then I'd sway back to the updated visuals and just... let it WASH over me.

I want to speak objectively about this, but I can't. This game was part of my childhood. I got a Master System and a crate of games (bought from the local rental store when they went out of business) well after I had a Super Nintendo. I didn't have a lot of inherent bias at the time -- a game's a game, right? -- but I quickly learned that a lot of that crate was kinda crap.

Wonder Boy 3 wasn't. It was special and fun and weird and silly. The remake is all of those things, maybe moreso. It fills in the blanks the way my imagination USED to, by showing a big world surrounding the events of the game. Instead of a simple blue horizon there's deserts and forests, mountains and beaches. It reminded me a little of why I started loving video games in the first place and why I still love the medium today.

Those challenge rooms will probably make my blood pressure skyrocket though, I'm not kidding. They're hard.

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