Wonderboy V1

Activision

Status: Full Game, Findability: 2/5

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Moved from the original article post and into a proper GTW entry.

Some years ago I was talking on the Lemon 64 of a strange recollection of a rather different  looking version of the C64 Wonderboy.  I had the budget edition of the game, which I played to death – but also later picked up the game on a Beau Jolly 30 pack of games.  The recollection was of a rather expanded looking main sprite (where as the version I originally played had two sprites bolted together).

Our blocky version who looks like they are on LSD

Our blocky hero who looks like he’s on LSD

Sure enough – on further examination, the Beau Jolly edition was rather different.   After some initial examining back in 2008 and quick comparisons – I found that it wasn’t just the main sprite that was different, but some sprites and segments of the game were quite different.

It’s been long overdue, but i’ve finally gone through a good bulk of the game to bring a proper look at some of the key differences between both games.  Below are some comparison screenshots and interesting differences i’ve found.

Originally it was believed that this odd version was the NTSC version of the game – with cut down sprites due to speed issues; but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  This in fact looks to be a slightly earlier version of the game, which may have been sent back to the developer to make some amendments or final changes on request.   One critical omission has to be the Skateboard – which does not feature at all in the Beau Jolly version.  You will also see a slightly different end after killing one of the big bosses as well at the very end of the screenshots.

So how did it come to get released on the Beau Jolly pack?  We are not quite sure – maybe Activision/Electric Dreams accidentely gave a pre-final change version of the game instead of the correct final master version.  It is believed that the same thing happened with Enduro Racer, with Nick Pelling’s unfinished version sneaking out on some packs.

Shortly after posting this entry, Gurt on the Lemon64 forum found a promotional video which shows an even earlier version of the game.  It seems to be earlier than the V1 Beau Jolly title with a different expanded sprite, a different font used in the top panel and high res parts to the background graphics.   The video can be found towards the bottom of the screenshots, along with screengrabs.

Also – I later played all the way through the entire game – and as well as enemy patterns I can establish the following:

  1. Music does not slow when getting the enemy fairy
  2. Fairy only starts appearing half way through the game
  3. Says “Game Over” after completing every level on the last Area (Area 7)
  4. Slightly different completion screen – still small girl (even though the big sprites exist).  Last character explodes into loads of 100 points with last object to collect.

But! … after Game Over then appeared for Point 4 – I was suddenly in “Area BLANK Level 1″…. Wonderboy’s very own “World 0”.   Check out the screenshot here:

area0

As you can see, the top object part is now corrupt – but the level starts from this point, and the platforms are all borked.  It seems to be a portion of Level 1.   As you go to the end of the level, there are 3 flames which seem to be impossible to pass to see what comes next.  It’s likely just a glitch in the game – but could be that the coder at this stage didn’t tidy up properly and deliberately put in 3 flames to prevent the player from progressing.  Thanks to Vinny Mainolfi, you can use the following pokes to get past the flames and other objects:

POKE 9854,234
POKE 9855,234

To change it back (if you get stuck) , enter:

POKE 9854,240
POKE 9855,36

The game does progress to an Area 0, Level 2 – with loads of mad clouds everywhere and octopuses   It is just likely part of the game’s memory coming into play and corrupting things where the programmer hasn’t tied the game off properly.   It sadly crashes half way across some clouds 🙁

To compare for yourself, here are the two versions for downloading:

For now lets now take a look at some of the differences between both games via a series of comparison dumps and screenshots:

As well as the main sprite, you may spot some odd unused bits - including a bonus S sprite.

As well as the main sprite, you may spot some odd unused bits – including a bonus E sprite near the spider.  Hmmm… where is the skateboard?

Now compare to what was in the final game

Now compare to what was in the final game.  No 500 points it seems and some sprite tidy ups which we’ll see in a bit more detail now…

Blander looking fruit

Blander looking fruit

A little more defined

A little more defined

Ugly rocks

Ugly rocks

Better rocks

Better rocks

Snail green death

Snail green death

Snail red death

Snail red death – I guess was clearer against the green grass.

Snake looking a little messy

Snake looking a little messy

Subtle changes to improve in the final version.

Subtle changes to improve in the final version.

That boulder looks different

That boulder looks different

That's because it is.

That’s because it is.

Frog in one place

Frog in one place

Harder positioning in final version

Harder positioning in final version

Generously given three platforms

Generously given three platforms

Slightly more challenge in final version

Slightly more challenge in final version

Nice and bright on level 2

Nice and bright on level 2

A more subdued blue in the final version - and also look at that cloud platform!

A more subdued blue in the final version – and also look at that cloud platform!

A large splash

A large splash

A bit more squished on the final version

A bit more squished on the final version – oh, and a skateboard… sadly missing in the earlier version.

Ice block looking a little mangled in V1

Ice block looking a little mangled in V1

Fixed in final version

Fixed in final version and a slightly lighter grey background?

Skull looks a little paler

Skull looks a little paler

Fixed to a darker blue

Fixed to a darker blue

Brighter Cyan yet again on Level 4

Brighter Cyan yet again on Level 4

And back again in the final version

And back again in the final version

A basic looking spider

A basic looking spider

Fixed!

Fixed!

Bad guy head in V1

Bad guy head in V1

Some tweaking in the final version

Some tweaking in the final version – actually looks a little worse

Now in the final version - you defeat the boss and the character runs off screen. Not here. You must collect the object first!

Now in the final version – you defeat the boss and the character runs off screen. Not here. You must collect the object first!

But then a girl runs onto the screen before you hit the bonus countdown!

But then a girl runs onto the screen before you hit the bonus countdown!

Start of Area 0

Start of Area 0

Start of Area 0 Level 2

Start of Area 0 Level 2

Cloud madness

Cloud madness

Just before it crashes - loads of clouds and enemies.

Just before it crashes – loads of clouds and enemies.

Now for the even earlier version found in a UK Activision promotion video, thanks to Gurt from the Lemon 64 forums:
First the screenshots, and then the video itself (Start at 2:52 approx)…
Look at that main sprite!

Look at that main sprite! (Click for large)

Sprites have odd colours and panel is different too

Sprites have odd colours and panel is different too

Why are the boulders pink?

Why are the boulders pink?

Different clouds too - not expanded?

Different clouds too – not expanded?

Cyan again, but now an ugly looking island and different clouds.

Cyan again, but now an ugly looking island and different clouds.

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