Game: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Developer: Alfa System
System: PC Engine CD-ROM2
Release date: 1989
I'm pretty sure I've told this story a number of times before, but I'm going to share it again just in case my memory is failing me (it certainly wouldn't be the first time): Monster Lair was the game that prompted me to buy the TurboGrafx-16 CD attachment way back when. I'd never played--or even heard of--the arcade original, so that wasn't what attracted me to this platformer-shooter hybrid. No, what attracted me to it was its bright, beautifully drawn graphics--especially its so-cute-they-could-make-you-puke enemies and bosses. There's more to Monster Lair than fetching foes, though; there's also a rockin' Red Book soundtrack and a whole lotta challenging levels (14, to be exact). All that said, I wouldn't buy this game expecting it to become your favorite PC Engine title, but I would expect it to be well worth whatever you pay for it (which, at this point, should be less than $20).
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts