Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 Review
Wario Land may not mark the first appearance of the lovable villain (how’s it going Super Mario Land 2?), but it sure is Wario’s first full-fledged adventure. Despite having ties to Super Mario Land 2 (this is actually Super Mario Land 3 after all), Wario Land is noticeably different. While some elements remain the same, Wario Land changes the formula up enough to create an entirely unique experience.
Something that I find interesting about this game is its semi-continuation of the story from Super Mario Land 2. Wario, still the bad guy here, is more than disappointed that he couldn’t secure Mario’s castle. So what does the man in yellow and purple do? He sets out to steal a golden statue of Princess Toadstool that was stolen by a band of pirates from Kitchen Island. Of course he has to do this before Mario can retrieve it first. Wario also decides that he could steal more treasure and coins from the pirates and then trade them in for a grand castle of his own. There is no princess to save in this game, just a bad guy’s greed fueled motivation to own an extravagant castle.
“Playing this game makes me think that New Super Mario Bros. 2 should have been a Wario game.”
The ultimate goal in Wario Land is to collect as much gold and treasure as you possibly can in order to receive a bigger castle during the ending. Though Wario Land’s focus is on cash, there are plenty of challenging levels and enemies to overcome as well.
Wario has a few tricks up his sleeve that differentiate him from Mario. While he can jump just as good as the plumber, and controls freakishly similar, Wario also uses his large frame to overwhelm enemies with a gigantic shoulder tackle. This move can be performed by pressing A, and must be used to defeat enemies, because jumping on their heads just won’t cut it this time around. Some enemies even need to be approached by using both manoeuvers effectively. Wario can also use his shoulder tackle to break bricks that could possibly lead to hidden areas; hint, hint.
Another common element in the Super Mario series is the use of power-ups and there is certainly no shortage of them in Wario Land. Wario gains powers by wearing a variety of helmets in this game with each one giving him a different power. When wearing the Bull Helmet, Wario’s power is doubled which allows him to perform a stronger shoulder tackle. Wario can also stick to ceilings with this helmet, as well as perform an earth shattering butt stomp that stuns enemies.
There is also a Jet Helmet that allows Wario to charge long distances in the air, and a Dragon Helmet that can breathe fire. Using all three of these helmets is essential for finding every secret in Wario Land, but they are also just a lot of fun to use in general.
“Wario Land was a welcome surprise to me, I loved the introduction of a new lead character, and the different skills he could gain. I also thought it was graphically one of the best games on the GB and was a tougher challenge than SML2.”
Be careful though, one hit and Wario will revert to a smaller version of himself. You lose your shoulder tackle if you become Small Wario, but you aren’t left completely powerless. Wario can still stun enemies by jumping on them. While enemies are stunned they can be picked up for use as a weapon. However, if you prefer tackling enemies, there is plenty of garlic scattered throughout the game to help Wario regain his lost strength. Wario can also collect hearts which will give an extra life when you collect 100 of them.
There are a total of 40 courses in Wario Land with most being linear, but with some having hidden exits and treasures to find; there are a total of 15 treasures to be exact. To find a level’s treasure you must first find a key to unlock the door in which the treasure rests. A Game Over will take away one of your treasures, but you can backtrack and get it again. Ultimately, the treasure hunt adds some replay value to the game which is always a bonus if you ask me.
Another level feature includes the ability to spend coins to purchase a level’s check point. It costs 10 coins to activate, but will save you time if you lose a life. Coins must also occasionally be used to open the end goal. In addition, coins can also be used to gamble in mini-games at the end of each level. You can double your total, or even lose half. Coins that you manage to keep go towards a running total that will indicate the size of your castle at the end of the game. Treasures also carry a value that lend towards this goal.
Wario Land has a world map similar to the one found in Super Mario Land 2 that ties together the game’s seven worlds. Actually now that I think about it, they are identical in concept. You navigate the main map to enter each world and that world has its own mini-map that allows you to choose each level.
As @Pablo_0151 mentioned above, Wario Land is definitely one of the best looking Game Boy games. There is a surprisingly great level of detail in its graphics, which gives each level a unique feel and sprites their own identity. While the graphics are great, I do feel that Wario Land’s soundtrack is mediocre. The music isn’t as catchy as previous Mario games, but then again, the themes from this game do fit the Wario character. They are more bizarre sounding which definitely give off a villainous vibe, but again, nothing that will get stuck in your head.
4/5 D-Pads: If you’re looking for an intriguing and different platforming experience, Wario Land is the game to play. Levels are quite challenging, and treasures are concealed in such a way that pushes you to explore every inch. Wario has unique power-ups that will help you find treasures and overcome difficult enemies. There are also a number of well-conceived boss battles that will test the abilities you have learned. Overall, Wario Land is a charming experience that will last you a few hours, especially if you want to find every secret, and get the best possible ending.