Wonderboy V1


Status: Full Game, Findability: 2/5

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).

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 accidentally 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 screen grabs.

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:


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, there are two versions to download below and also VICE snapshots for Area 0, v1 ending and beyond Area 0.

You can see some of the differences between both games via a series of comparison dumps and screenshots in the gallery below – including an even earlier version found in a UK Activision promotion video, thanks to Gurt from the Lemon 64 forums. Video is below:

Supporting content

Available downloads

Update history

  • 26/04/24 – Added credits and brought all screens and captions into the gallery instead of within page. Bit of a tidy up too.
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