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The game is similar to the likes of The Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana and borrows many ideas from these games. Game play elements include large dungeons, fighting and puzzles. It had a whimsical manga-inspired look that makes use of both 3D and 2D graphics.
You play as Monkey, the goofy top-knotted main character. Monkey is sent to the Waking Realm to defeat the Nightmare King and under the guidance of Master Sage, must reclaim all of the pieces of the Magic Storybook. The various pieces of the Magic Storybook are displayed on an in game map. At the time of the game's creation the playable area was very large, especially if you take into account the various dungeons.
You start the game outside a mine with your friend Tiger. She asks you to take a cart into the mine. You oblige and while in the mine there is an explosion which causes you fall to the lower levels. In the mine you find a treasure chest with a bamboo staff in, which becomes your weapon for the rest of the game. After much wandering you find your way out and meet Master Sage, who gives you a headband which he can use to communicate with you. He then sends you to the library to stop the Nightmare King from stealing the Magic Storybook.
The main character, he has appeared from the dream realm to restore the balance, he is friendly and easy to get on with, and is well known throughout the waking Realm.
Master Sage is your teacher. He provides you with information from your headband and teaches you how to play. He also supplies you with new weapons and tells you about your past. He wears a blue cloak and has long grey hair.
The leader of the Nightmare World and the main villain in the game, he resembles a roach and is the first boss you fight, however in this fight he is just the head and is very simple to defeat. He leads all of the nightmares in the game.
Your health is measured in peaches. When you perform certain tasks whilst you are underground you acquire items called Big peaches, which increase your total health. When you get them monkey speaks aloud saying "Wow, a big peach, I love these. Now I feel stronger than ever."
At the end of dungeons, similar to the Zelda series, there is what is known as a boss, the "leader" of the dungeon or the one you must defeat to complete it. On monkey hero, the main boss, is the Nightmare King, however throughout the game you face many more than just him.
In the game, here are three realms, as underlined in the manual, the Dream Realm, the Nightmare Realm, and the Waking Realm. During the course of the game, the player makes constant visits to these locations. The Nightmare King has invaded the Waking Realm and upset the balance, and it's up to Monkey to remove the Nightmares and restore the balance.