Your Sinclair

Super Wonder Boy

Author: Duncan MacDonald
Publisher: Activision
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Your Sinclair #49

Super Wonder Boy

Yaaaaarrrghhh! It's a 'cute' game! A conversion of one of those coin-ops that the Japanese (and Matt) seem to be so fond of. The hero, Wonderboy (who's been promoted to the rank of 'Super' for some reason), is about as macho as Sue Pollard - at the beginning of the game he's even wearing a nappy, for Gawd's sake! Luckily, though, he soon gets given a suit of armour. I suppose I'd better tell you what happens next.

Well, you've seen Wonderboy (we gave it to you last ish, remember?), so you'll know the general format - an up/down, left/right scrolling platformy shoot-'em-up (in various hues of monochrome). Not unsurprisingly, Super Wonderboy is along the same lines, the main difference being that in this game you collect money after dispatching any nasties, and then have the chance to purchase your 'upgrades' in the shops which are scattered around the landscape. You can buy stuff like armour (which makes you harder to kill), shoes (which stop you getting horribleness between the toes when treading on doggy-doos - oh, and help you jump higher) and weapons (such as bombs, whirlwinds and lightning). Some of the shops aren't actually shops at all though. They contain mega-nasties, which, when killed, release absolutely loads of dosh and either an extra weapon or a key to the next level.

The levels themselves are quite varied (as in the Wonderboy we gave you). There's land to cross, water to cross, lava to cross, the latter two with the aid of little platforms, both static and moving. There are castles to enter, dungeons to trek through, ramparts to hop, skip and jump along, all the time waiting for the next nasty to come into view. There are loads of little 'surprises' in store for you as well as you trundle your way along the pathways. One second you'll be thinking something like "My word, what an incredible easy stretch of the game this is" when, all of a sudden, 'Poof!' ('Ere, are you calling Super Wonderboy a poof? Ed), you fall down into a hidden section of the game. It's more of the same, of course, but there are about eight billion juicy power-ups, so if you're particularly skill you can actually emerge from them (back into the main game) with roughly the same amount of energy as you had before you left, but with a whole bundle of bombs, armour and cash to boot.

Super Wonder Boy

The aim of your quest is to reach a giant dragon at the end of the game and kill it. (Which is probably why Wonderboy is wearing a nappy - in case it's scarier than he'd anticipated.) Killing the dragon means that, as you'd expect, you win the game. But it's not going to be easy - 'cos Super Wonderboy is big (big, big). And it's got a fair old rake of multiload waits to prove it. Too many in my opinion. I'm sure they could have squeezed bigger loads in if they'd wanted to. Another thing that I don't like is the way your main sprite sort of 'floats around' when you move him (make him jump, that is). This was far more 'solid' in the game we gave you.

Graphically, Super Wonderboy isn't quite as good as its predecessor either - things tend to be a little tricky to make out at times. It's not that bad though, so I won't have a mega-moan. Playability -wise, certainly, Super Wonderboy is a bit corky. The learning curve is well thought out and you really feel as if you've made good progress before you die. You also learn enough in the process to enable you to get much further the next time you have a go, but you still need to be a mite on the tenacious side.

It's quite lucky that we gave you Wonderboy last month, because it means that I know you've all played it. And what that means is that I can say this - if you absolutely loved Wonderboy, then you're really going to like Super Wonderboy too (but possibly not quite as much). But then if you absolutely loathed and detested Wonderboy then you'll hate Super Wonderboy with even more venom. Quite simple really, isn't it?

Duncan MacDonald

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