ININ’s Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is out now for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Should Wonder Boy fans rush out and pick this one up?
Included in the collection are Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Monster World II: The Dragon’s Trap, Monster World III, and Monster World IV – six Wonder Boy titles that come in 21 variations. That might sounds confusing, but collectors will love that these games come with their alternate versions from other regions as well as the various versions that were released for different systems over the years.
And although some of these versions are clearly inferior to others, it’s nice to have access to the games like they were made for the SG-1000, Master System and Game Gear. There’s a good array of emulation options for all of these as well, giving you access to things like an artificial CRT screen for a retro feel but also modern conveniences like a rewind option when you mess up or a save system for when you want to take a little break whenever you feel like it. In addition, this package comes with a nice museum-like treatment that offers you concept art for the games – nice stuff like that for fans who are nostalgic for the series.
But if you’re having a sense of deja vu at this point, you might be right, to a degree. We reviewed the Wonder Boy Collection last summer, and although there are differences there’s a big overlap between the two collections as well. Content is the major difference, as the Anniversary collection features Wonder Boy III and The Dragon’s Trap, and both were missing from the previous release. And although that’s the major difference (pushing the number of games from four to six), collectors who already bought the previous pack will also lament the fact that they have to grab another full collection to get access to the various ports of these games.
The issue with this is that Wonder Boy fans will have likely already purchased the games on offer in some form – perhaps even through last year’s collection. For them, it would have been great if there had been a digital upgrade option, at least for those who went the digital route. The Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is an almost full price release at $50/€50, which is a hefty sum to pay if you’re only interested in playing Wonder Boy III and The Dragon’s Trap and don’t consider the other ports to be essential.
But despite that little rant, this is a great collection of classics, together in a package for the first time. Let’s hope we don’t see another collection that includes the more recent remakes in six months, as that’d drive people mad – although that would definitely be the ‘ultimate’ of Wonder Boy collections if it happened. Recommended, but with a big warning sign in case you already picked up the last collection.