The first Sega Master System game released on the VC, Wonder Boy differentiates itself a bit from most other platformers by giving your character Tom-Tom a life bar that dwindles over time, so he must keep moving forward until reaching the safety of the stage goal.

This gives Wonder Boy a sense of speed and urgency that adds some excitement to the gameplay, especially after Tom-Tom finds a skateboard, which allows him to zip through the levels and complete jumps that he normally would not be able to make while on foot.

Wonder Boy's graphics and sound were also pretty impressive for the time, and still hold up well today. The SMS shows its' bigger processing power over the NES clearly here, as there is very little of the sprite flicker which plagued many NES releases.

So why doesn't Wonder Boy warrent a higher rating? It all comes down to the controls, which feel a little too slippery for a game which requires precise jumping at high speeds. Things become frustrating at times, but if you're willing to grit your teeth, this should satify your craving for platforming goodness.

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