Let me tell you about the best game on the best 8 bit console.
Nooooo, It is not Zelda on the NES. But don't turn your back on me and leave just yet or you might miss out on an adventure full of wonder and excitement.
I'm talking about Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap on the Sega Master System. A true gem of a game on a system that conquered Europe and South America, but failed miserably to master US market.
The game seems like a nice colorful platformer, but it's not quite that. I mean, it offers so much more.
First of all, it starts at the end. You, a courageous and powerful little adventurer have finally reached the castle of an evil and wicked dragon. It's the matter of sweeping through a couple of chambers, before you meet with the monster and put and end to his terrible rule. And you do just that in a matter of minutes. You literally kill the beast in one hit, that's how experienced and mighty you are, or seem to be. But the dragon has one last nasty trick up his scaly sleeve, a farewell gift for you, if you will. He puts an awful morphing curse on you. You are not you anymore. Devoid of your power and experience you wander off, victorious but beaten, in a skin of somewhat pathetic awkward fire spitting lizard. You reach the closest village and try to regain your own self. In order to do that, you'll have to obtain a powerful artifact guarded by an unholy beast that slumbers in the depths of its almost unreachable fortress, where not even eagles dare.
The village is the hub of your escapades, in which you'll have to literally shed your cursed skin, or swap curses left behind by many a beast, the dragon's brethren, that reside far and near. You'll become different creatures yourself. Some that roar and crush, some that squeal and run, some that bite and swim. Along the way you'll find wondrous weaponry and accessories, that will impact your attack and defense abilities, as well as your charm. it's good to be charming, the shopkeepers like charming customers. Hold on to your charm crystals as well, they're out there in the world to be found.
The game's a unique take on platformer genre and it's very well designed with its perfect implementation of role-playing elements. The gameplay is excellent, the graphics is beautiful, and both are complemented with a nice music that's easy on the ear (not always the case with SMS games). Add to that lovely password save feature and you have an almost flawless gaming experience. If I have to nitpick, i'd say that sometimes the controls (the "up" direction) seem to be a tad dormant. My only real gripe with the game is its brevity.
Go on and have yourself a brief, but truly wondrous adventure.
Thank you for reading.