Monster World IV

Monster World IV ending

… So I just wrapped up the Genesis game Monster World IV after putting it off for some time. As the name implies, it is the sequel to Wonder Boy in Monster World … Well, there seems to be some confusion about the “sequel” part since it is in fact the first game with a girl lead, and thus also the first game without “Wonder Boy” in the title. Other than that though, there’s more continuity between Wonder Boy in Monster World and Monster World IV than any other game in the series.


I should perhaps start out by saying that Wonderboy in Monster Land was one of the very first games I owned, and being in the age of fanboyism I didn’t have ready access to wonders such as Zelda or Metroid. It would be unfair to call the Wonderboy games mere substitutes, though, since they have always sported a unique mix and gameplay that no other title had at the time (even though it is quite honorable in itself to be compared to Zelda and Metroid). Being that I
hold the series in very high esteem, and that I am basically comparing a 13 year-old game with romanticized memories of my early days as a gamer, this text might be a little biased.

The story in Monster World IV centers around Asha, a girl in Monster World (that is now a lot more like “Arabian Nights” than before). Asha can hear voices no-one else seems to hear – voices calling for her help – and in true careless-heroine-fashion, she decides to leave the small village where she grew up and go out adventuring. After a short trip, it turns out the four elemental spirits need help so Asha travels to the four temples in order to see what she can do.


Gameplay of Monster World IV is made up of side-scrolling action/exploring – similar to that of Wonder Boy in Monster World, although Asha is a bit more acrobatic than Shion was. Like Shion, she is accompanied by a helper through most of the game, but unlike Shion Asha can interact with her helper whenever she wants – something that is necessary to complete a lot of the puzzles. Were it strictly about the game mechanics, Monster World IV would’ve been a much better game than it’s predecessor.

But this is were the problems of the game appear; it is too linear. Most of the exploration and illusion of a huge world has been dropped, instead you are handed four doors that each lead to a short level before you tackle a temple full of puzzles, enemies and finally a boss – warp back, buy equipment and repeat. This works okay in a sense, the platforming is good enough to be interesting and the puzzles – albeit repetitive in each single temple – are different enough between areas to make the game feel varied. But Monster World IV is at best a decent platformer, while Wonder Boy in Monster World was a great Action/Adventure game.

Monster World IV is a good way to kill some time if you were a fan of the earlier games in the series and no stranger to some retro gaming, but if you are skimming previous eras for the best games out there, it can safely be passed on.

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Posted on Jul 31/07 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »