I just love how they first introduce Wario in SML2.


Talking about this game in another thread made me want to play it again, since it's been ages since I last did so and I never got around to beating it back then (what with the DS not playing GB games and me losing my SP somehow).

So yesterday I decided to get it off the eshop and play through it in earnest. Right away I feel whisked off to a magical time when every Mario sidescroller had its own unique feel and was worth playing no matter how many times you'd played one of the others. The map, in general, is one of the most charming maps Mario's ever had. I mean you get swallowed by a turtle! How awesome is that?

But what really made me smile was when I went to Mario's castle for the first time. You can't go in, obviously, since you lack any of the gold coins you need. But you can still see Mario's castle from the outside. And walking around on top of it is the black silhouette of Wario, surrounded by looming clouds and lightning bolts. Occasionally you'll even see him go inside the castle so you can glimpse him through the castle's windows, an intruder in your home. And occasionally the silhouette will turn toward you and leer, taunting Mario and the player. I just love how they managed to combine this dark foreboding mood with this bizarre, silly-walking counterpart of Mario, all wrapped up in an element of mystery. It was an excellent way to introduce Wario to gamers for the first time, and it's a real shame that modern Mario games lack this kind of subtle creativity that the old games had.