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Written by  :  Zovni (10635)
Written on  :  Mar 09, 2004
Platform  :  Game Boy
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful

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All of Mario's moves plus the attitude he was missing.

The Good

Nintendo adds another excellent platformer to their Mario franchize, only this time you are not playing Mario! Now you are Wario: Mario's evil doppleganger, and the change fixes everything that was wrong with the previous Mario titles, namely the old and boring premise of the heroic plumber out to save the princess or whatever from the evil bad dude.

In Wario Land, the evil Wario finds himself with no money to spare so he decides to forget about Mario and his stupid mushroom kingdom and sets out to steal the Golden Princess statue from the Kitchen Island pirates in order to be be rich and powerful for the rest of his life. This far from noble task injects the series with a much needed sense of humor as Wario kicks and bullies his way through the gameworld with his only driving force being money and greed! As in most Nintendo 8-bit platformer games there's no dialogue to move the story, but the cheerful and cartoony reactions of each character in the many cutscenes allow for the story and it's humor to get across without any problem, with the ending itself being among the best and funniest in any Mario game, easily surpassing the "order has been restored, thanks for playing!" standard issue Nintendo ending.

Gameplay-wise the game is your standard Super Mario Bros.3-like platformer with the same interface and general rules but with the added ability to shoulder-dash and hit enemies or bricks and with different Wario-themed powerups (onions instead of mushrooms). System-wise you have 3 savegame slots to make sure you don't lose your progress and the in-house development once again means that the game has impossibly tight controls and superb level design without any sort of glitches or problematic areas. In the game itself you go around clearing different zones accessible from an overhead world map (which often has branching routes that take you to secret locations) which divides the gameworld into different areas at the end of which you have to face a bossfight against a huge area-themed enemy following the standard rule of "do whatever makes him mad three times" in order to defeat him. Along the way you can also keep an eye out for bonus treasures and extra coins which build up your fortune, which is something you might be interested in doing if you consider that the endgame takes into consideration how much money you've got and rewards you accordingly. Now isn't that a nice touch that adds longevity and depth to the game?

The Bad

Not too much of a challenge, in fact one could go as far as saying that this one is extremely easy when compared to other Mario games, and regardless of Wario it's still a Nintendo platformer, so expect all the sickening cute enemies and situations the big N has us used to only with a slightly darker edge.

The Bottom Line

Wario kicks Mario's ass in my book. This is one of the best platformers available for the Gameboy and an excellent addition to the Super Mario Bros. library. A must for platformer fans or anyone with a GB.