Adventure Island Online - Maple Story is secretly Wonder Boy in Monster World

The development of the original Maple Story is shrouded in mystery. As one of the longest running online games, with each expansion over the course of 15 years comes new staff, art designers, etc. I‘m talking about the foundational content of Maple Story from the early 00’s. The solid bedrock of this MMO that many players have a fond nostalgia of, to the point of creating several “Classic” MS private servers.

There are no credits for the initial release of MS that I was able to find. It is a somewhat well known fact that the sprite artist also worked on Ping Pals for DS, their style of pixel art was unmistakable. I've always wondered who these people are. It is the initial release of MS that bears all the evidence of a Wonder Boy game, and there is a lot of it. All of this is my own research. The community surrounding Maple Story in the English speaking world is what you'd expect: mostly young'uns who play MOBA garbage outside of MS. Not a lot of crossover in the more heady side of game-likers, or fellows who grew up playing the Wonder Boy / Adventure Island series.

I'm here to point out the similarities I've found, but there's more waiting to be unearthed. Since the development of this game is entirely unknown to the english speaking web from what I've seen, there's so much that still needs to be found. I am very familiar with the areas, music, and characters in classic Maple Story, and I've dabbled in the Wonder Boy franchise enough to see the similarities. A lot of my examples are from the TurboGrafx16 CD version of Dynastic Hero, because I've played that one the most. It's basically the CD version of Wonder Boy in Monster World. The Wonder Boy / Adventure Island / Monster World series is already known for it's confusing and inconsistent naming conventions.
I'm assuming if you're reading this you at least know a smidgeon about these two series. Now, on with my evidence!

The mechanics, from the cadence of character movement, the jump arc and speed, down to the exact motions of crouching+attacking, and the way coins drop are all lifted 1:1 from Wonder Boy in Monster World. This is the most obvious stuff, which puts MS into "Monster World Clone" territory. I'm here to show that Maple Story is secretly an actual game in the series. Images of classic Maple Story gameplay are pretty annoying to find. Imagine the amount of obnoxious stuff I have to dig through when you look at the media I post here. Most players in Maple Story are teleporting all over the screen at this point, but your starting character is just.... A Wonderful Boy.
Here's an image of the very specific crouch-attack.


Also quite obvious is the monsters. You have snails, snakes, mushrooms in big and small variants all with identical footprint.

Then we have the beloved title music:
Dynastic Hero - File Select / Village of Alsedo

Maple Story - Perion
Dynastic Hero - Alsedo Cave||

Alright, there's enough similarities for now to at least prove MS is an mmo clone of Monster World.
Today I learned something that cemented these games as belonging to the same series, at least in China.
The name of Maple Story in Chinese territories is **Adventure Island Online**. The title logo is yellow with a palm tree.
I'm just sharing this here to spread awareness. Maple Story gets mentioned often enough but never is it noted as having anything to do with Monster World. If you're not already aware of the Wonder Boy - Adventure Island - Monster World connection, that information is easily available, although confusing. And now, perhaps someone needs to edit a wiki somewhere to include Adventure Island Online. :j

You're blowing this thing wide open.

But seriously this is a neat write up. I can't believe I've never noticed this before.

There are a lot of similarities!! I have definitely met folks who worked on Maple Story, so I could probably get to the bottom of it - I know the director of Ragnarok Online, and there‘s no way he wasn’t comparing notes with contemporaries. Wizet got absorbed into Nexon and I know a few people there too, so I could proooobably get to the bottom of it if I had an article to write about it. I wish I still wrote articles about stuff!

Another piece of the puzzle, potentially, is that the master system was quite popular as a grey market system in South Korea, moreso initially than the famicom, to the extent that more original SMS games were developed in Korea than for Famicom for quite some time (maybe for all time? I'm not sure)

I'll think about casually looking into this next time I'm in Korea... or feel like emailing a bunch of people.

@exodus#12875 For preservation at least the credits of the original game should be made available!

We can get to mega drive homebrew demakes of maple story later down the road.

I'm extremely too lazy to transcribe anything but it you listen to this episode Tim has things about Cave Story

Edit: Oh wait cave story is not the same as maple story, nevermind lol

Heck yeah! I love this discussion.

I hung out in MapleStory A LOT back in the Beta version of fall 2004 to Spring 2005. One of the first developed areas was Florina Beach, and so I'm going to add another monster to the list…

MapleStory's Clang! The little red crab.


I have over a thousand screenshots that I took back then in the Beta and I still have them all. They are very fond memories of mine.

Clang looks a lot like the little red crab thing in Wonderboy III The Dragon's Trap!


Also, I'm going to add that the loot drops similar. You see the coins just drop from the enemies and you pick them up.

Anyways, I miss old MapleStory. The whole appeal was how simple it was. Going up to an enemy, wacking it with a weapon COMBINED with hanging out with a bunch of other people (strangers and my high school friends). I tried playing it, like a few weeks ago, I had a good time but a different kind of good time. I enjoyed the backstories of the characters (heck, I liked Brie from the Pathfinder job class and made it into my avatar for this forum!) and the localization of the script, but I did not enjoy it as an MMO. I see no one wandering the maps anymore. Everyone just zooms across the maps and attacks the entire screen. It's too seizure inducing and lonely these days.

I didn't play any Wonderboy game back then. I saw the demo of the remake up (Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom) and heard it was good (From watching YouTuber HappyConsoleGamer), and when I played it, it really felt like old MapleStory, and I noticed the "Clangs" right away (probably the first enemies you see in the game iirc). I especially loved the side crawler dance song. Here's the original song:

EDIT: Oops! It’s Lorang, not Clang. Lorangs are the red ones, Clangs are the brown ones..

@X3N0Sbioz#18938 yeah, Florina Beach and surrounding areas are cut from the cloth of Monster World. Can you upload your old screens somewhere? I was active during those years but I definitely haven't kept anything from those times.

@treefroggy#18952 Of course! I‘d love to preserve my old screenshots! If I can figure it out and if it’s free anyways. I gotta go dabble with the Google Drives and stuff first.

In the meantime, here's footage I took in 2005 and uploaded to YouTube! But it's not Beta Version, it's already the Official version which includes the Ossyria continent, because I did play the Official version (with my Indonesian friends from Australia).

Also, what was your IGN? We probably bumped into each other at one point!

@X3N0Sbioz#18966 try Imgur ?

@treefroggy#18967 On second thought, nevermind! I have a bunch of embarrassing stuff on there Lol! I will keep them to myself.)

But if there is anything in specific that you're looking for I wouldn't mind looking for it!

Updating with a steam Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom forum thread that caused me much frustration a couple days ago.

This is what discussions of this topic always look like. Utterly deplorable.

The reason this warrants update is because the developers read and took part in the discussion:

[upl-image-preview url=//]

I replied to the devs but doubt they or anyone else would see it in this discussion.

aw damn, my ex used to play maple story religiously…i wish i'dve paid more attention, maybe i would have caught some of these!

yeah, the influences here are pretty clear. it's actually really cool to see, i doubt westone/etc would've imagined their works inspiring a feel for something online & connected with other players that way. i absolutely love that team too; i think it's one of the HG101 interviews where the director (?) of asha in monster world IV was told of the fan translation effort (before official release on PSN/XBLA i wanna say) and he seemed really touch that people still wanted to play his work in regions that never got it!

also, i've been so happy with the wonder boy revival we've seen since lizardcube redid part 3, i hope it never ends. oh, and treefroggy playing dynastic hero more than other games is pretty funny given the arm-and-a-leg that game goes for now!

I wish more people were aware of this connection…

Stumbled upon a thread on Maple Royals while google searching some Maple Story stuff. It's a thread for “references in Maple Story”. all the posts are stuff like cultural references or translations of Korean/Russian Text… I took the opportunity to truth-bomb them.