One of the best 1980s-era side-scrollers you probably never played is getting a beautiful remake that’s coming out soon.
DotEmu announced today that Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap will come out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on April 18. The publisher said it would release for PC a “few weeks later.” The remake from the French studio LizardCube of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap will come out for the Sega Master System in 1989.
The Dragon’s Trap is a 2D side-scroller. You play a hero that has been turned into different animal-like characters — Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Piranha-Man, Lion-Man, and Hawk-Man. Although not as well-known as other 2D sidescrollers from the era, like the Mario series, The Dragon’s Trap has acquired a loyal fanbase, with many considering the best game in the Wonder Boy series. That includes one of LizarCube’s cofounders, Omar Cornut, who has a lifelong passion for the game and has spent 10 years working on this remake.
Really, The Dragon Trap’s biggest barrier to a more mainstream following is that it always released on systems with smaller install bases. Along with the Master System, it also came out for the TurboGrafx-16 in 1990.
The remake will let players switch between updated, hand-drawn graphics and the game’s original, pixelated look. The retro mode also features the original music, while the the remake has updated versions of the tunes. You can even use passwords from the original game in the new version.
DotEmu specializes in resurrecting classic games with cult followings like Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap.
“It’s not all about business or all about money,” DotEmu chief executive officer Cyrille Imbert told GamesBeat in an interview. “It’s about respect, mutual respect, and passion for the project. Usually the games we work on — at DotEmu we think about it all together, whether it’s the developers or the marketing people or whoever else. We all know the games really well. Maybe people feel that we really enjoy these games. We’re not just there to exploit a license for money. We’re there because we like these games and we want to share them. We’re a small team of passionate people, and maybe that rings true to them.”
The release could be a help for the Switch, which has a small library of games following its launch at the start of the month. Nintendo has made a big deal about supporting indie games (which it cutely calls Nindies) on its new console.