|Developers||Westone Bit Entertainment|
Wonder Boy (ワンダーボーイ Wandā Bōi ), also known as Monster World (モンスターワールド Monsutā Wārudo ) in Japan, is a series of video games published by Sega and developed by Westone Bit Entertainment (formerly Escape).
The series itself consists of the main Wonder Boy series, and the Monster World sub-series. Games may be part of one, the other, or both. This has resulted in a sometimes confusing naming structure resulting in titles like "Wonder Boy V: Monster World III". In North America and Europe, the whole series is kept under the Wonder Boy brand, but in Japan there is one title that belongs exclusively to Monster World and is not part of the Wonder Boy series.
To further complicate matters, Westone had a unique licensing arrangement with Sega whereby Sega retained the rights to the names and characters of the games in this series, but Westone retained the rights to everything else. Westone, in turn, had a licensing arrangement with Hudson Soft, who created new characters and titles and ported these games to non-Sega platforms. The most well known of these is Adventure Island, which was more commercially successful than Wonder Boy was.
Condensed series chronology 
There are a combined six official titles in the Wonder Boy and Monster World series with original release platform.
- Wonder Boy (Arcade) - Ported to Master System as Wonder Boy and to the Game Gear as Revenge of Drancon.
- Wonder Boy: Monster Land (Arcade) - Ported to Master System as Wonder Boy in Monster Land.
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (Arcade) - Ported to Mega Drive as Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
- Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (Master System) - Ported to Game Gear as Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap.
- Wonder Boy V: Monster World III (Mega Drive) - Titled Wonder Boy in Monster World for overseas releases.
- Monster World IV (Mega Drive)
Series overview 
The first game of the series was initially an 1986 arcade game simply titled Wonder Boy developed by Escape (later known as Westone) and published by Sega. It was a side-scrolling action game where the player controls a young boy seeking to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, making use of items such as throwing axes and riding skateboards in order to proceed through eight worlds, each consisting of four stages and a boss. During the same year the arcade version was released, Sega developed a version of Wonder Boy for the SG-1000, available exclusively in Japan, that was a great departure from the arcade version due to hardware differences. The following year, Sega released a second home version titled Super Wonder Boy, this time for the Sega Mark III. In contrast to the SG-1000 predecessor, the Mark III was a more faithful conversion of the arcade original, but with added content such as a new set of eight additional stages and all-new bonus stages. Since the SG-1000 was unavailable outside Japan, Super Wonder Boy was the first console game in the series released in North America, Europe and Brazil. The overseas releases for the Master System had the title changed to simply Wonder Boy (omitting the "Super" prefix).
In 1987, Wonder Boy: Monster Land was released for the arcades exclusively in Japan. The sequel was a complete departure from the original, eschewing the original game's tropical setting with a medieval world and changing the game's format from a traditional platform game to an action RPG with elements such as a health gauge, collecting currency to purchase new weapons and equipment, magic spells and supporting character who provide the player with information. This sequel was ported to the Sega Mark III the following year under the title of Super Wonder Boy: Monster World, making it the first game in the series to be released under the "Monster World" banner. This home version was released in North America and Europe as Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Home computer versions were also made by Activision which bore the title of Super Wonder Boy in Monster Land on their cover art.
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, released in 1988, was the final arcade release in the series. This installment also featured a different format. This time the stages were composed of two segments each, in which the first segments featured auto-scrolling platforming action with rules and mechanics similar to the original Wonder Boy, while the second segments involved the player fighting his way to the boss' lair while riding a dragon. It bears the distinction of being the only Wonder Boy game with a 2-player co-op mode. Home versions were released for the TurboGrafx-16 in 1989 (making it the only Wonder Boy game that was ported unaltered to the platform) and the Mega Drive in 1990.
Around the same time Monster Lair was released, Westone began developing a sequel to Monster World specifically for the Sega Mark III titled Monster World II: Dragon no Wana ("Dragon's Trap"). However, when the game finished development in 1989, Sega already discontinued sales and support for the Mark III in Japan, but still sold the Master System overseas. As a result, an English-language version was still released for the Master System under the name of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (titled as such since it was the third Wonder Boy game for the Master System, even though its officially recognized as the fourth Wonder Boy game in Japan). The game eventually saw a Japanese release for the Game Gear in 1992.
Wonder Boy V: Monster World III was the final game in the Monster World series to be given an international release outside of Japan, and the last game in the Wonder Boy series. Known as Wonder Boy in Monster World in the west, it was made the first game specifically for the Mega Drive and its American counterpart, the Genesis. A version was also released for the Master System exclusively in Europe, making it the only Wonder Boy game to be released on both platforms.
Monster World IV was the series' last installment, released only on the Mega Drive exclusively in Japan. Exclusive to that title is a main, female character named Arsha. Instead of boasting a medieval look, it features a Middle Eastern style. This is the only game part of the Monster World series while not being part of the Wonder Boy series.
Game classification by series 
Part of both series 
Exclusive to the Wonder Boy series 
Exclusive to the Monster World series 
Complete list of games 
- Wonder Boy (Arcade (System 1))
- Wonder Boy (SG-1000)
- Super Wonder Boy (Sega Mark III/Master System, released outside Japan as Wonder Boy)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (NA: 03/31/08, JP: 04/08/08, EU: 04/11/08)
- Wonder Boy (Game Gear, released in America as The Revenge of Drancon)
- Ported to the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 by Activision
- Wonder Boy: Monster Land (Arcade (System 2), Japan only)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (JP: 06/21/11)
- Super Wonder Boy: Monster World (Sega Mark III/Master System, released outside Japan as Wonder Boy in Monster Land)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (JP: 12/24/08, EU: 01/23/09, NA: 01/26/09)
- Ported to the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amiga by Activision as Super Wonder Boy in Monster Land
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (Arcade (System 16))
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM², released in North America as Monster Lair)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (NA: 12/17/07, EU: 12/21/07, JP: 04/15/08)
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (Mega Drive, released only in Japan and Europe)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (JP: 01/06/09, EU: 03/06/09, NA: 04/20/09)
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM², released in North America as Monster Lair)
- Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (Master System, a Japanese version titled Monster World II was planned but unreleased)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (EU: 10/09/09, NA: 11/09/09)
- Monster World II: Dragon no Wana (Game Gear, released in Europe as Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap)
- Wonder Boy V: Monster World III (Mega Drive/Genesis, released outside Japan as Wonder Boy in Monster World)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (JP: 03/27/07, NA: 04/23/07, EU: 05/04/07)
- Wonder Boy in Monster World (Master System, Europe only)
- Monster World IV (Mega Drive, Japan)
- Re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (JP: 01/15/08, NA + EU: 05/10/12)
- Sega Ages Vol.29 : Monster World Complete Collection (PlayStation 2, Japan only)
- Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)
- Consists of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World and Monster World IV
Modified ports 
Westone, the developer of the series, owns the copyrights to each game in the series, while Sega owns the Wonder Boy trademark. Because Westone was an independent company from Sega, this created a unique situation which allowed other game companies, namely Hudson Soft and Jaleco, to publish ports of the games to non-Sega platforms under license from Westone, provided that they changed the titles and characters to remove all references to "Wonder Boy" or "Monster World".
The first of these modified ports was Adventure Island (originally released in Japan as Takahashi-Meijin no Bōken Jima) for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Hudson Soft, a modified version of the first Wonder Boy in which the main character replaced with a caricature of real-life Japanese video game expert named Takahashi Meijin. Adventure Island was followed by a series of sequels that were independently produced by Hudson Soft with no involvement from Westone.
Following the launch of the PC Engine (aka. TurboGrafx-16 in the US), Hudson Soft released ports of all the subsequent Wonder Boy games for the platform with the exception of Monster World IV. The ones that were modified included Bikkuriman World (a port of Monster Land released exclusively in Japan with characters from the Bikkuriman trading stickers), Dragon's Curse (a port of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap released as Adventure Island in Japan) and The Dynastic Hero (a port of Wonder Boy in Monster World released as Chō Eiyū Densetsu Dynastic Hero in Japan). The PC Engine port of Monster Lair was the only PCE version of a Wonder Boy game that was left unchanged from its source game (although, the US version omitted the "Wonder Boy III" portion of the title).
A port of Wonder Boy: Monster Land was also released for the Family Computer titled Saiyūki World, developed by NMK for Jaleco and released in Japan in 1988. This was followed by a sequel unrelated to the Wonder Boy series titled Saiyūki World 2 in 1990, which was released in North America Whomp 'Em.
Mônica's background 
The first three Monster World games were published in Brazil by Tec Toy, Sega's official Brazilian distributor. The games were translated into Portuguese and the characters were replaced with characters from the Brazilian comic book, Turma da Mônica (Monica's Gang). Other cartoon characters were superimposed on the Brazilian releases of Teddy Boy, Ghost House, Astro Warrior, Psycho Fox, and Kung Fu Kid. (The latter three forming the Sapo Xule series)
Mônica games 
- Mônica: No Castelo do Dragão (Monica in the Dragon's Castle) – Sega Master System
- Turma da Mônica em O Resgate (Monica's Gang: The Rescue) – Sega Master System
- Turma da Mônica na Terra dos Monstros (Monica's Gang in Monster Land) – Sega Mega Drive
Comic books 
Wonder Boy was adapted into two stories that ran in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, which were loosely based on Wonder Boy in Monster World. "Wonder Boy in Demon World" ran between issues 2-9 and saw Shion, the protagonist who has a dislike of being referred to as Wonder Boy, fighting to save some people while staving off a demon curse. "Wonder Boy in Ghost Land" ran between issues 22-27, and saw Shion travel to a world of ghostly dinosaurs.
- Official Monster World Complete Collection website from Sega (Japanese)
- Westone Bit Entertainment (developers of the series) (Japanese)