|See that red tadpole in a loincloth? I'm gonna kill it.|
I spent my last lunch break and the better part of Sunday afternoon beating up sunflowers in a desert. Why? I want stones. What are stones? I'm not sure, but for some reason they raise my "CP," which for some reason makes shopkeepers more interested in taking my money. Money, itself, comes very cheap. That's how things work in Monster World.
Whereas Wonder Boy in Monster Land was all about the making money appear out of thin air, Wonder Boy III is about charm. In this game, I have more than enough money to buy just about anything, as every other enemy drops a giant sack of Monster-Nickels.
|Pretty tough looking. Except for that neckerchief.|
The tedium of grinding is exacerbated by the game's transformation feature, which is as frustrating as it is clever. The wacky power ranger dragon-bot from the end of Monster Land, with its dying breath, cast the titular "curse" cast upon our hero, transforming him into a dragon. The hero must fight his way through a series of bosses, clawing his way back up to reclaim his human form, species by species. Although there is a way to change back into previous forms, in the early part of the game you are stuck as whatever you are.
My problem is that, in rushing through the last transmogrification (the tiny, round-eared lawsuit bait "Mouse-Man") I neglected to buy any stat-boosting gear. Now, as the hulking Piranha-Man, I can no longer reach those shops. It's like locking myself out of my apartment. Which I totally never do.
|Want to know how much more charismatic you'd be draped in mithril? 12 more,|
compared to being draped in what I presume is chain-woven goblin flesh.
This is bad. Armor and shields can boost various stats, as with many RPG-ish games. One of those stats in Dragon's Trap/Curse is "charm," which has no effect other than making shopkeepers more willing to part with useful swag. Since I did not buy the "Dancing Shield" or some other nonsense, I now need to grind for charm-enhancing stones until I'm friendly enough to buy a vital set of armor. Without which, I cannot cross this vast lava field between me and the next objective.
The game is quite generous with healing items. If you're low on health, dead enemies are far more likely to relinquish hearts, big and little, as well as potions, which breath life back into our hero when he runs out of HP, just like the reserve tanks in Super Metroid. But there seems to be no reliable way of grinding for those little red stones. And thus, I am left to wander this desert, whacking snakes over the head, collecting rocks.
If you'll excuse me, I just raised my CP stat by another two points. Time to check if the one-eyed pig-man wants my money yet.