The player controls Wonder Boy, a young man who ventured to Adventure Island in the South Pacific after hearing that the Evil Witch Doctor kidnapped Princess Leilani.
To rescue her, Wonder Boy must survive a series of 32 stages. There are eight worlds called 'areas', which are divided four stages or 'rounds' each, which are further divided into four checkpoints.
When the player reaches the fourth round of each area, he must confront a boss at the end to continue to the next area. The game is completed when the player saves the girl after defeating the eighth and final form of the evil lord.
Wonder Boy (the player character) loses a life whenever he touches an enemy, an enemy's attack or a fire roast, or when he falls into a pitfall or a body of water.
Moreover, the player also has a health gauge that starts out with 11 points, which gradually depletes over time or whenever Wonder Boy trips on a rock in his path.
When Wonder Boys health gauge reaches zero, he will lose a life as well. If Wonder Boy still has extra lives left, he will revive at the last checkpoint he passed through.
The game ends when all of Wonder Boys lives runs out. To replenish his health, Wonder Boy can pick up numerous fruits (or a milk bottle) on his path (his maximum health reaches up to 13 points). When the player's score reaches 50,000 points, 100,000 points, and 200,000 points, Wonder Boy will receive an extra life.
Finding a bee-like fairy known as Honey Girl will grant Wonder Boy invincibility for fifteen seconds and allow him to kill enemies with a single touch.
Wonder Boy starts off each life without the ability to attack and can only gain the ability to attack by picking up a stone axe, which can be found in specific spots in each stage. When Wonder Boy is wielding the stone axe, he can trade it for magical fireballs that have longer range and are capable of destroying rocks and rolling stones (which are invulnerable to the stone axe).
To break an egg, the player must touch it or hit with a weapon twice. In addition to weapons, there are numerous bonus items stuck inside. There is also a negative item, the 'eggplant', which drains Wonder Boys life meter.
Some of the eggs are not immediately visible in plain sight. The locations of these 'hidden eggs' are usually indicated when a weapon thrown by a player disappears before falling to the ground and are uncovered by jumping at the indicated spot.
Some of these hidden spots don't contain hidden eggs, but instead a cloud that will warp the player to a bonus stage, which is instead uncovered by standing still for a short period of time. At the bonus stages, the player can collect a series of fruits (each worth 500 points regardless of the type) until Wonder Boy falls into a pitfall. However, instead of losing a life, he will return to the regular stage at the next checkpoint.
At the fourth round of each area, Wonder Boy will confront a different form of the Evil Witch Doctor, the game's boss character. He has the ability to change his head by up to eight different types. Wonder Boy must defeat him by striking his head a specific amount of times with his weapon.
The number of hits required to defeat him increases with each area (his first form requires eight hits and every subsequent form requires two additional hits until the eighth and final form, which requires 22 hits).
When the Evil Witch Doctor is defeated, he will change his head and escape to the next area. He uses the same attack in each form, with the only thing that changes besides his durability are his mobility speed and the speed of his fireball attacks. When Wonder Boy defeats his final form, the Evil Witch Doctor will fall into a pit and the girl will be rescued.
Down now and enjoy!