Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap is a platforming and action-adventure video game developed by Westone. It was published by Sega and released for the Sega Master System in 1989 and for the Game Gear in 1992 under the title Monster World II: Dragon no Wana. It was ported by Hudson Soft in 1991 and was released for the PC Engine in Japan under the title Adventure Island and for the TurboGrafx-16 in North America under the title Dragon's Curse. It was also ported in 1993 by Brazilian company Tec Toy under the title Turma da Mônica em o Resgate, with the game retooled to include characters from Brazilian comic book series Monica's Gang (Turma da Mônica). The game takes place immediately after the events of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, which Wonder Boy has been cursed by the Mecha Dragon and must locate the Salamander Cross to lift it. The game is nonlinear and features varying landscapes in which players must navigate. Players find items and clues needed to access different parts of Monster Land, and they can transform into other forms and gain different abilities.
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap takes place immediately after the events of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy travels into the Mecha Dragon's lair in order to slay him. (Some sources refer to this creature as the 'MEKA dragon'.) However, upon doing so, he is inflicted by a curse that transforms him into 'Lizard-Man'. In the game, the player controls Wonder Boy as he tries to undo this curse by journeying across the land, defeating other dragons, and defeating finally the Vampire Dragon to obtain the Salamander Cross – the only object that can remove his curse.
After completing the first level in the game (a simplified version of the final level from the preceding game Wonder Boy in Monster Land), the player begins as Lizard-Man from Alsedo, a town in Monster Land, and the gameplay becomes nonlinear. From there, the player explores and finds items and clues needed for Wonder Boy to access different parts of Monster Land. Gold and additional secondary items can be found by defeating enemies and opening treasure chests. With gold, players can buy additional items and better equipment in shops and restore their life meter in hospitals. Shops are normally designated as doors with windows on them, located in town or in caves. Items with question marks displayed cannot be bought unless the player has 'charm', which can be increased by collecting collect Charm Stones or by equipping certain items. The Status Screen shows how much attack and defense power, and charm Wonder Boy has, all of which depend on what items are currently equipped.
Lizard-Man attacks an enemy frog by breathing fire at it.
In the game, the player uses the directional pad to move Wonder Boy left or right, crouch down (only possible as Hu-Man or Lizard-Man), or to enter doors. The buttons on the controller are used to attack enemies and to jump. Wonder Boy can attack with his main weapon or with secondary weapons by holding down on the directional pad and pressing the attack button. Pressing the pause button brings up the Status Screen (and pauses the game if Wonder Boy is fighting a dragon). Wonder Boy has a life meter shown on the top of the gameplay area by a series of hearts, which turn from red to black when taking damage from enemy attacks. When all hearts turn black, Wonder Boy dies and the game ends, but if he has a life potion ('medicine vial' in Dragon's Curse) remaining, he will revive with some of the hearts refilled. After the game ends, the player is taken to a 'continue screen'; there the player has an opportunity to win a free life potion before restarting the game at the town. Players can visit the town's church to receive a password in order to continue the game at a later time. The password saves the current player's form, equipment, and amount of gold; but it does not save any secondary weapons or life potions in stock. Dragon's Curse has a 'file cabinet' which allows players to store passwords into the game's memory; the player may access these stored passwords and continue the game without needing to manually input them.
Throughout the game, players will go through differently-themed levels: underwater, desert, jungle, cave, and sky. At the end of each level is a different dragon. After defeating a dragon, Wonder Boy changes form, and his abilities change. Wonder Boy begins the game as Hu-Man, equipped with all eight hearts and the strongest equipment. He turns into Lizard-Man after defeating and being cursed by the Mecha Dragon in the first level. At that point, he loses all equipment and all hearts except one. Lizard-Man attacks enemies by breathing fire at them, and he can duck. He can assume other different forms throughout the game: Mouse-Man can walk on walls and ceilings designated by checkered 'mouse blocks', Piranha-Man can swim freely underwater and can access underwater places (such as the ship) which the other forms cannot, Lion-Man attacks enemies with his sword by swinging from directly above to directly below him, and Hawk-Man can fly freely in the air but takes damage if he enters water.
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