Wonder Boy III - Monster Lair © 1989 Hudson Soft.
Monster Lair is a side scrolling action/shooter by Hudson Soft and conversion of Westone's arcade game. Monsters have been sighted in the kingdom and they now bring fear and panic throughout the country. The legendary armor and weapons of valor have been stolen and the thieves have vanished without a trace. Just when all hope appears to be lost, a green haired boy and his princess friend come to the rescue and embark on a long journey to prevent the world from being cast into darkness. Although they both come equipped with magic weapons (a sword and a staff), things get a lot more challenging and new weapons can be collected along the way. Some of them fire laser-rings, some shoot rotating stars while others short range missiles. Fairies can also be rescued along the way and will reward our heroes with temporary invulnerability or dump large cakes for extra health. The game has an unusual structure and each stage is divided into two sub-areas - the first half is a traditional side-scrolling platform phase featuring a 'run and jump' gameplay. There, the kids' health constantly decrease and they have to periodically eat fruits in order to avoid exhaustion (interestingly, picking up a new weapon also restores some life back). Larger fruits can even be "powered-up" by firing repeatedly at them to generate even more smaller fruits. Then the second half of each level has our heroes riding their beloved pet dragons. This phase of the game is similar to a traditional horizontal shooter where an end-of-level boss awaits the player and must be destroyed before proceeding to the next stage. Finally, Monster Lair features a two-player simultaneous co-op mode.
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