My journey through the multiple Lands of Wario

Domi

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What can I say? I've been (re)playing the WL series and damn, I do want to post my thoughts on the games. I didn't know there was a community and everything regarding WL games, I always thought it was a series mostly forgotten by time, but I'm glad to see I was wrong. Not only that, but before that, I thought the games were mostly fine, nothing too special... and I've been wrong once again. As a kid, I wasn't able to fully appreciate everything that the WL series did, until months ago when I had this random realisation: "Wait a sec... Isn't WL3... a platformer turned Metroidvania...? What the...? Holy cow, that's an awesome concept..." which is funny cause I always loved that game, yet here I am, unaware of why it's so great until now. Then I started thinking "Wait isn't WL a series with no bad games yet always changing things up...?" and then, the obvious had to happen: I had to scratch an itch grown by this new desire to play the games through a new perspective: actually realising what makes these games so special and good... if they are good, maybe it's a flawed series, maybe it's terrible... who knows, I'm just trying to be open-minded and not just fanboy around.

Suffice to say... By now I'm back to my old Wario fan days (while discovering new things about Wario!!), and I've come to what I believe to be interesting conclusions and theories regarding the series. And maybe one or two hot spicy takes d:p

Anyway, I'll start with...

Wario Land -1 (also known as "Super Mario Land")


Only fair to start what would be later known as "Wario's distraction to steal Mario's castle", even if that was a SML2 retcon d:p There isn't much I can say about SML1 that people haven't pointed out yet. It's fine, nothing too special, short but arcade like which is good in my book. It has some quirks that don't make much sense, BUT funny enough, THESE would become essential to understand the series later on. WL wouldn't be the same without some (much better) quirks, don't you think?

By comparing this game with the other Mario games, you can perfectly tell how the developers wanted to create unique experiences. Fireballs? No no, let's uh let Mario shoot "balls" that are similar but vastly different. A monster kidnaps a princess? Ok Nintendo, fine, but they will be new characters ok? An alien instead of Bowser and a different princess instead of just plain Peach. Oh, and every single level has its own assets and unique location... ok? And almost nothing else that can remind players of previous Mario games except the gameplay. It's going to be our take on SMB, itsGB equivalent! Can we? Please? Deal?

The game does feel like a regular Mario game because, well, it's 2D and a platformer with the classic power up system. But at the same time it's pretty different and unique. To me, it's like a game in which Mario conventions and the developers had a fight, each side trying to pull the rope to their side, and both ended up losing to the detriment of the game. Not because it's a bad game, it's good, but it could have been much better. Potential and great developers were there after all.

You think I'm exaggerating? Well, I believe to be right because lo and behold:

Wario Land 0: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins


SUPER MARIO LAND 2 BABY! YES! An excellent game in which the potential and the developers' skill have been realised. See? I was right :cool: Not only that, but unique aspects and level design finally learnt to co-exist, going hand on hand and all lovey dovey.

While the developers weren't wrong thinking so far ahead "hey, the GB has a small screen we shouldn't do like other developers and make games with massive sprites as if this was a black and white portable NES" in SML, for SML2 they adopted a far better proportion between the screen and sprites. Screen crunch wasn't an issue on my end, and the much bigger sprites were a joy back in the day and even to this day: Mario looks golly and happy and certain enemies and bosses are pretty expressive: the pigs are a good example of this, they don't show their mouths when they get hurt, yet it's really easy to see they... well, got hurt. And the main villain? Now that's being expressive with just a bunch of black and grey boxes on screen!


The structure of the game is pretty good. You have access from the get-go to every world (well, after the tutorial level) alongside their first levels. The first minutes of the game is you exploring the map and thinking what world you'd like to play in first then later. There's a lot of options, secret optional levels because why not, and your mind gets excited with the glimpse of what each world is about. A giant tree? A whale's inside and a submarine? A MASSIVE house in which Mario is smaller than the integrity of the average politician? Exploring a giant Mario's toy statue?? Halloween? THE MOON??? Oh yes yes give me MORE (but seriously what kind of island is this and why does Mario have his castle on it). The quirks from the previous games are now "normal" marks of originality and uniqueness and OOF so many different themes like in the previous game but better. OOF. And don't get me started on the bunny power-up aka "smash the A button like crazy to almost fly" :oldwahhead:. Satisfying sounds too, btw.

But... what about the plot? WELL BOY grab some popcorn because for a Mario game it's excellent. Remember that alien boss guy, Tatanga, who kidnapped Daisy in the previous game? IT WAS A SCHEME ALL ALONG! Tatanga was working for a different villain and his real goal was to make a distraction for someone else to steal... Mario's Castle (wait since when did Mario have his own castle and why is this only a thing in this game). Continuity and a twist on top of it in a Mario game? What's this, Mario & Wario Superbased Saga? (Yes, I also want Wario and Waluigi as main characters in a M&L game, we all know this should have happened years ago...). When you finally manage to get your six magical coins back (wait why is magical money what opens the castle's door... money opens the... hmmm) and step inside the castle, the "real" villain finally appears... and it's a fatass chungus weird ass looking Mario like parody that can't even look you straight in the eyes. What the hell! I knew those strange floating balls from rooms before were goofy looking but this...! Oh, fantastic, fantastic, and then Mario wins, Wario cries like a... cries a river, throws his shoe at Mario and runs away like a... he runs away.

Credits roll, and probably the best ending track in the entire franchise plays. Absolutely. Goddamn. Awesome. Plain exceptional. What can I say. It's fricking Super Mario Land 2.


Don't tell me that doesn't hit you right in the nostalgia

So far, we've seen one game coming up with its own gameplay and system, and a sequel that vastly improves on it. Keep that in mind for the rest of the franchise.

I'll talk about the next game whenever I find the time, I think I've talked enough, don't you think? d:p Wait a sec that's a lot of text!! Oh my god I'm so sorry lol Yet I want to write even more for each of the following games :X3:

PS: If this kind of thread is not ok or if there's an actual thread for this particular purpose of "post thoughts about the games as you play them"... I'm very sorry in that case, I didn't find anything against creating this thread! My bad! :vbWario:
 
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Just a Wario Fan

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Nice essay you put there, if I may call it that. Your writing style is really lively and fun to read, and your insights are simply spot on, too.
When you called Super Mario Land: Six Golden Coins "Wario Land 0", that got me thinking, and you're indeed right; it's basically Wario Land without Wario. (Well, Wario is in the game of course; he's just not the protagonist.) I once wrote on how Wario Land 1 is both a Wario Land and a Super Mario Land game, as the secondary title states, but an inverse vision on this is clever and refreshing.

And about that plot, I never connected Tatanga to a collaboration with Wario, at least not consciously. In my head I always thought there was something fishy about it all, but now that you meticulously "connected the dots" it all makes sense.

in which Mario is smaller than the integrity of the average politician
a fatass chungus weird ass looking Mario like parody that can't even look you straight in the eyes. What the hell!
I like your wity remarks. Wished that other writers did this more often.

What's this, Mario & Wario Superbased Saga? (Yes, I also want Wario and Waluigi as main characters in a M&L game, we all know this should have happened years ago...)
Ain't that the truth! VforVictory:

All in all, an excellent review on the origins of the Wario Land franchise. Please post more once you played the other games. Or whenever you feel like it!
 

Domi

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Nice essay you put there, if I may call it that. Your writing style is really lively and fun to read, and your insights are simply spot on, too.
Thank you for the kind words LuvsU: I don't consider these to be "essays", it's just me saying whatever comes to mind in regards to these games. If you like my comments, that's just a coincidence. I didn't put much effort on them, which is why I only wrote 3 paragraphs for SML1 but went pretty passionate for SML2. Overall, I wanted to be done with SML1 and 2 asap but still had to do it because those are extremely relevant to the WL series. For the next games I will make a bigger effort to explain my thoughts on each game.

I once wrote on how Wario Land 1 is both a Wario Land and a Super Mario Land game, as the secondary title states
I have a paragraph or two talking about this point, you'll see :p Do you have a link to your review/analysis?

And about that plot, I never connected Tatanga to a collaboration with Wario, at least not consciously. In my head I always thought there was something fishy about it all, but now that you meticulously "connected the dots" it all makes sense.
I didn't connect the dots, I just enjoy researching what I like d:p

"The Perfect Edition of the Great Mario Character Encyclopedia" indicates Tatanga became Wario's henchman to get revenge on Mario for ruining his scheme to marry Daisy. [from the Mario Wiki].

I also like checking game manuals, and thanks to your comment, I went back to the SML2 manual. I think I have caught on something SML2 and WL2 have in common. I doubt I'll be the first one to notice, but damn, how did I miss that?

I like your wity remarks. Wished that other writers did this more often.
Well, that's just who I am. Either some people try too hard to be professional their review becomes... just another review, or they go full "hilarious youtuber" and try waaaay too hard to be funny. At least my thoughts are 100% genuine, no matter how bad or dumb those are.

All in all, an excellent review on the origins of the Wario Land franchise. Please post more once you played the other games. Or whenever you feel like it!
LuvsU: I'm almost done with my WL thoughts, but I'm taking my time to properly form them. Today I was doing some writing and came out with some stuff I never realised before. This is why I have to take my time.

PS: I'm sorry for writing so much text, I can't help it when it comes to what I love :p Also English is not my native language, sorry if my writing is basic or repetitive.
 
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I'm intending to read the OP later, but I saw this and started wondering. :P
I also like checking game manuals, and thanks to your comment, I went back to the SML2 manual. I think I have caught on something SML2 and WL2 have in common. I doubt I'll be the first one to notice, but damn, how did I miss that?
The protagonist's castle being stolen at the beginning?
 

Domi

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I'm intending to read the OP later, but I saw this and started wondering. :p

The protagonist's castle being stolen at the beginning?
Having to read so much text must feel intimidating, right? :wahlaughback: Oops.

You mean the "karma" moment in WL2? I was thinking how both SML2 and WL2/3 have very helpful owls to help you navigate through the levels, but the ones in WL evolved the concept and do more than just carrying you to the next platform, heck, even some levels are designed for them.

This is why I can't separate the SML games from the WL series. You can taste such a natural progression in every game element, coming all the way from the very first SML to WL4...
 
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