Nintendo SwitchPreviews

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Preview

Launch Trailer
Updated 4/17/17


Introducing Wonder Girl
Updated 3/23/17

We started working on our remake of The Dragon’s Trap a long time ago. Early on, when it was a 2-person bedroom project, we contacted Mr Nishizawa asking for the possibility of using their IP. At the time we were such a small team that we didn’t consider talking to Sega of Japan regarding use of the trademark, and we assumed that we could follow the route that Hudson Soft and many others went down decades ago with “Adventure Island”, “Dragon’s Curse”, which was to license the game contents but without the Wonder Boy title. It was at that time, maybe 2014, that we first considered using another title for the game, and among our early characters researchs we considered replacing the Hu-Man character with a female equivalent.

Fast-forward years later: the project has been signed by DotEmu, we’ve moved to work full-time on it, and we have obtained a license by Sega to use the beloved Wonder Boy title. Everything was moving forward like a dream!

We went back and decided that along with the classic Wonder Boy character, we would introduce a new Wonder Girl character! It is a small detail, but keeping in mind that an 8 year old girl could be playing the game today, we felt that it was the right thing to do. When you start the game you can select either character and get cursed all the same after a few minutes! Haha! And because this is a game where your hero undergoes a lot of transformations, we left the animals characters as-is. We also changed the end-game so that you can keep playing as the human character.

(And of course we considered using the amazing Asha from Monster World IV, but Mr Nishizawa was against it because he said that the world of those two games don’t overlap!)



Release Date Announced
Updated 3/8/17

Now that the Nintendo Switch has launched, the release dates for upcoming games are starting to fill in. With great content seemingly coming weekly via the eShop’s digital storefront, it looks like there will be plenty to play over the next few months.

Slipping in between Lego City Undercover (April 4) and Puyo Puyo Tetris (April 25) and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 28) is Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap on April 18. This beautifully drawn 2D remake of the classic Sega Master System game should be a perfect fit on Nintendo’s hybrid.

DotEmu, developer and publisher specializing in modern releases of beloved retro games, and Lizardcube, are thrilled to announce that Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap will be available on April 18th for the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (and a few weeks after on PC).

Boasting beautiful, hand-drawn animations and a re-orchestrated soundtrack, the cult classic returns with a unique blend of exploration, action, and adventure. Play as Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Piranha-Man, Lion-Man, and Hawk-Man, and use their unique abilities to uncover the land’s deepest secrets. Switch in real-time between the original retro graphics and the visually stunning modern remake, and input your old Sega Master System passcode to unlock all of your old saves and progression – just how you left them in 1989.


[Updated 2/24/17 – Switch From HD to 8-Bit Trailer & Info]:

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is a remake of the classic Sega Master System game that released back in 1989. The game has been completely remade with new graphics and music, but the team has also included the original 8-bit version, which you can access with a click of a button anytime you like. Even more radical is that you can actually use your old passwords from the original game to continue in this one and vice versa!

A while ago we have discussed some of our work on Reverse Engineering the original 1989 version. What we kept quiet at the time is how our technique subsequently evolved, and the project evolved with it. The technology behind the game has been rewritten and we had something very specific in mind that we are happy to finally announce today.

  • You will able to change between 1989 retro graphics and 2017 modern animated graphics anytime, anywhere, at the press of a single button!
  • You will able to change between 1989 retro music/sfx and 2017 modern music/sfx anytime, anywhere, at the press of a single button!
  • You can mix and match: retro graphics + modern audio, modern graphics + retro audio. You can also can mix and match modern music + retro sound effect or vice-versa.
  • The retro modes are running in widescreen, 60 FPS (constrast to the original Master System version running in 4:3 ratio with a refresh rate of 25 or 30 FPS depending on your console region). So the scrolling and physics are now smoother.
  • We worked very hard and implemented some crazy underlying technology to nail the game details so that it would feels just like the original, down to random drops. For those technically inclined, we hope to describe some of the technology we created in a future blog post.
  • Tech trivia: for a same given object, the pixel resolution has been multiplied by 6 on each axis. In the original version the “blocks” were 16×16 = 256 pixels, in the new versions they are 96×96 = 9216 pixels each. So the amount of pixels for a same object has been multiplied by 36! The game is rather heavy on texture data 🙂
  • The game will accept your original passwords from the Sega Master System and Game Gear versions of the game! So you can effectively load a “save” from decades ago.
  • The game will be able to emit new passwords that will work on the original 1989 and 1991 versions. You can also use those passwords to transfer your game accross any platform the game is targetting.
  • The game will launch in Spring 2017 on the Nintendo Switch, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. The PC version should come shortly after (in the best case scenario we may be able to release it on the same date, but it may need to be delayed because PC compatibility is really tough to get right).
  • Maybe some other surprises? …


[Original Preview]:

Wonder Boy was a game that many kids growing up on the Sega Master System will probably remember. The sequel, Wonder Boy III: Dragon’s Trap was highly revered by many gamers who had the chance to play it back in the late ’80s.



This 2D side-scrolling adventure game has your character being cursed and turned into a half-human, half-lizard monstrosity. Along the way he will be able to shape shift into various other forms, like a lion, a hawk, a mouse, and more. The game features a huge interconnected world with plenty of exploration to do.



According to the game’s developers, the Nintendo Switch version of the game is performing great. It runs at 60 frames per second, and it looks fantastic in handheld mode and in full HD on the TV. Nintendo suggested they bring the game over, and the developers seem happy they are doing so.

No word on exact release date or pricing just yet. The game looks like it still has awhile in the development cycle, so I wouldn’t expect it before fourth quarter 2017. We will update this preview as more information becomes available.


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

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