Wonderboy III: Monster Lair is an arcade game developed by Westone and published by Sega in 1988. The following year—on August 31, 1989—Monster Lair became the sixth CD-ROM title Hudson published for the PC-Engine in Japan. The CD-ROM port lacked the parallax scrolling of its arcade counterpart, but this omission was more than made up for by a lush, succulent Red Book audio soundtrack that embellishes—dare I say outshines—that of the original arcade. The Red Book soundtrack is so captivating, in fact, that it enhances the gaming experience by perfectly complementing the frenetic pace and lollipop atmosphere of Monster Lair. Pump up the volume and you will find yourself fully immersed in the trials and tribulations of our heros, Leo and Princess Purapril (known as Adam and Laura, respectively, in the TurboGrafx-CD version). Enjoy 2-player cooperative mayhem in the cutest run-n-gunnin' + Wonderboy platformin' + shoot-em-up hybrid you ever played. Awesome.
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I couldn't rave about the soundtrack without letting you hear it for yourself: electric violin solos that rival those from an electric guitar; turntable mixin', record scratchin', steeldrummin', bongo drummin' mayhem; slap-happy bass and more…
WONDERBOY III: MONSTER LAIR SOUNDTRACK
||Say "synth steeldrums" fives times, fast.
||Begins with ethereal voice + organ, jumps to bongos + synth violin. It works.
|Prelude to Boss
||Funky bass. Don't miss the violin craziness during the final minute.
||So goddamned catchy, with an exquisite piano, to boot.
|Castillo de Violín Eléctrico
||Title speaks for itself. Will inspire you to play air violin.
||Super-catchy, yet elegant. Record scratching! Hip-hop-hooray, indeed.
||Overall, a subdued & smooth vibe, despite the piercing horns.
||Catchy…and the guitar kicks in halfway through the track.
||Frenetic. Frenzied. The tension builds and builds…
|Hi-Tek Kastle (Final Round)
||Steeldrums + super-synthy brass horns = bubblegum goodness.
||Delicious. Closes in an exceedingly graceful manner.
NOTE: Right-click (control-click) on the track title to save the corresponding .mp3 file.
HELP! If there are official titles for these songs (say, from a Monster Lair OST that has been eluding us), please contact us. Perhaps you own Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 29: Monster World Complete Collection (PlayStation 2) and can look up the names of the songs via the BGM sound test?
WE LOVE SHINICHI SAKAMOTO
We can thank Shinichi Sakamoto for composing the wonderful songs in Monster Lair. As it turns out, he was responsible for creating music for several titles in the Wonderboy series and Sega released the Monster World Complete Collection OST to document these fine songs. Unfortunately, Monster Lair was not included on this collection.
Why was Monster Lair excluded from the Monster World compilation? Well, Monster Lair was always the black sheep of the series, so its omission is not surprising. All of the Monster Land titles featured on the compilation were action-RPG-platformers, while Monster Lair exists in a genre of its own.
In 1990, Monster Lair and Street Fighter (retitled "Fighting Street") were the first two software titles available for the TurboGrafx-CD in North America. I promptly fell in love with the former. Even though Shinichi Sakamoto was most likely not involved in the arrangement/performance of the Red Book audio for Hudson, there is no good reason not to love him.
As I rush to publish this page in time for the 20th. anniversery, a few questions linger:
- 1. Was an official soundtrack for Monster Lair released? If so, what are the official titles for each song?
- 2. Who is responsible for arranging and performing the Red Book soundtrack for Hudson Soft?
- 3. Has anyone created a comprehensive list of the characters/settings/storylines/etc. that Monster Lair shares with the rest of the games in the Monster World series?
- 4. Why didn't the designers allow us to choose Princess Purapril for one-player games?
The answer to the first question might lie in the BGM sound test
from Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 29: Monster World Complete Collection
(PlayStation 2). The second question can be answered by looking at the credit roll. I was going to use my VCR to record the ending credits, but then I got lazy and decided to ask for help.
The world needs another run-n-gunnin' + Wonderboy platformin' + shoot-em-up hybrid with the charm, polish and music of Monster Lair.
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