Hello, this is Omar and Ben from Lizardcube! We are the developers of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. Like DotEmu, the game’s co-publisher, we are based in lovely Paris, France—a land of croissants and fermented grapes. And most notably, a land where kids born in the ’80s equally shared their love between the NES and its Sega counterpart: the Master System.
When we decided to bring back Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, a cult classic and one of the finest 8-bit titles ever made, we saw a double opportunity. First, we wanted to make the fans happy, and that included ourselves! It was always our favorite game and as fans we often dreamed of a modernized version. Secondly, we wanted to bring it to the younger generation of players, and the older players who didn’t have a chance to play the original back in the day. After all, Wonder Boy games were to Master System players what Zelda and Metroid were to NES players, so we felt it deserved a second round of love! So, we crafted this version, trying to recreate the sense of discovery we had when we were kids.
Today, we are immensely happy that we partnered with Nicalis to make our dream even more tangible. The game is being released on physical media for both Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, and it will be available on February 13th! Our nine-year-old selves would have been proud.
In Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, you start the game as Wonder Boy (or Wonder Girl) seeking the Meka Dragon. Fully equipped, the fight seems like a formality. But upon slaying the dragon, it casts a curse on you and transforms you into Lizard-Man: a half-animal, half-human monstrosity. Without your equipment, you will have to explore the large and interconnected world of Monster Land to find a cure. The only way you can return to human form is to find the Salamander Cross, a magical item with the power to remove curses. But be careful—with each dragon slain, the curse intensifies, transforming you into different animals!
As fans and developers, we tried to be as respectful of its roots as possible. The game was already great on its own, so we focused on preserving its gameplay qualities and improving what we could. We recreated all of the art and characters using classic 2D animation techniques, and likewise recreated the soundtrack with beautiful instruments instead of the original 8-bit sounds. We also added a few new features and secrets, but tried to preserve the original experience as much as possible. You can pretty much think of this version as a definitive “remaster cut”!
But, never fear, you have a choice! The game allows you to switch between modern and retro visuals and sounds at any time with the press of a button! (Actually two buttons, as you can switch graphics and music separately). It’s a little time machine on its own, and it’s fun to compare the 1989 version with the 2018 one during gameplay.
We also support retro passwords from the 1989 version, so if you still have some of them scribbled on a piece of paper, your saved game should be intact as long as you can still read your old handwriting.
What makes this release unique? In addition to a physical copy of the game, here are the bonus items you’ll be able to find in the launch-edition package:
A reversible cover insert using original retro artworks. Thanks to Mr. Nishizawa, creator of the original Wonder Boy series, we sourced and printed a high quality version of the beautiful artwork used in the Game Gear release of the game in Japan. The Westone team made a gorgeous original model and used a photograph of it on the box art (they did the same with their later release of Monster World 4, which only got released on the Mega Drive/Genesis in Japan).
A full-color instruction booklet.
A mini-CD featuring the best music tracks from the game. 12 tracks based on the original Shinichi Sakamoto melodies and reimagined by Michael Geyre for the modern release. If you would like to hear more about the music, you can watch this early “making of” video we made about it.
A Lizard-Man PVC cell phone strap.
The game also supports multiple languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese.
European friends: Headup Games will publish these physical releases across Europe. The exact date will be announced a little later, and we are working on making it as soon as possible. Stay tuned!
We’d like to thank the fans for making this possible! When we first released the game digitally, we had no idea it would become so popular. It really exceeded everyone’s expectations, and that’s what enabled us and the team at Nicalis to make this wonderful physical version of the game.
Omar & the teams at Lizardcube, DotEmu and Nicalis