Occasionally, arcade games veer away from the space shoot-em-up or racing simulation, and appear with some of the silliest plots imaginable. One of these games popped up several years ago, placing the player in control of a nappy-clad, adventuring toddler carrying out tasks that would make a muscled docker flinch.
The game was, of course, Wonder Boy, and proved such a success that Sega came up with a sequel: Super Wonder Boy. This time the hero no longer seems like a frightened toddler struggling to stay alive. Oh no, this time the courageous adolescent is kitted out with sword and armour. He has a quest to undertake and, more over, despite his diminutive stature he can bally well do the job too!
Tom-Tom (our junior hero) must enter the realm of Monster Land, home of the vicious Meka dragon. For too long the scaly turant has dominated the poor frightened folk of Wonderland and it's about time something was done. Enter one fully-
First stop is a local wizard's hut, where you are kitted out I the latest line in adventurer's tin fashions. Then it's time to tackle the terrible tyrant's terrifying tools of termination (that means monsters), such as snakes, giant squid and the evil Red Knight (gasp)!
Not all the inhabitants of Monster Land follow the Dragon ruler's lead, however, and additional help can be had from various store owners and inn-keepers, who are only too happy to let you have some additional gear or information provided that the price is right. You can pay them for their services with gold, gained by finding secret locations or by killing the Monster Guards.
To get to the Dragon himself you have to kill off his guardians in a one-to-one battle and steal the keys to the gates that divide Monster Land.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
As is usual in games of this type, the graphics have attempted to be cute and cuddly rather than realistic. To be honest, the designers have succeeded in doing this, but it would have been nice to have "cute and cuddly" on a larger playing field. Most of the screen is taken up by display panels, not leaving much space for the game screen.
The sound also lets the side down, as it consists of extremely weak beeping soundtracks that fail to add any atmosphere whatsoever. It looks as though the game hasn't been programmed to make use of any of the Amiga's features, which for a £25 game is rather annoying.
The game starts off quite easy, then gets very hard very quickly, causing yo to die somewhat abruptly. As in the arcade version there is a continue play option, but the Amiga version only allows you a maximum of three credits. It also includes the annoying feature of not giving you the chance to finish after one credit, so that your score resets to zero, which means that there is no way to keep your high score. That might seem petty, but once you've completed the adventure (which, incidentally, shouldn't take THAT long), what is there to keep you playing if you can't obtain a high score?
It seems that Super Wonder Boy is another in the sadly increasing number of games that has simply been ported over from the first conversion, so that none of the features that make Amiga games stand out are included. Activision have supplied us with some top-rate games recently, including arcade conversions, but unfortunately Super Wonder Boy misses the mark by a considerable distance.