Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 review

Anders

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#1
FIRST AND FOREMOST, I MUST WARN YOU OF SPOILERS. IF YOU WANT EXPERIENCE THIS GAME BLIND, DON'T READ THE REVIEW.

So I just finished Wario Land for the third time. I only played this one a couple times back when I got my hands on it. I feel like I didn't get to appreciate it the first time, or even the second, since I basically speedrunned it, ignoring all the secrets and getting the worst possible ending, which is when Wario gets a bird house to live in.
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However, this playthrough I decided to take it slow and explore the game more. I learned to appreciate the level design in the game, and even though I had played the game a couple years ago, it felt fresh. I replayed a bunch of levels to maximize my gold earnings and find treasures. I managed to find almost all of the treasures and had a bunch of gold by the end because of this, which earned Wario the awesome castle! It's not the best ending, but it's good enough for me.
castle.jpg


Following my victory, I decided to write a little review of the game, for both new Wario fans and seasoned garlic eaters to enjoy! I'm going to be rating aspects of the game in WAAHs. 1 WAAH being lame, and 5 WAAHs being excellent.


STORY:
The story goes something along the lines of: Wario didn't get Mario's castle, but he devised a plot to geet an even bigger one. A bunch of pirates under the command of Captain Syrup have stolen a golden statue of Princess Toadstool, and Wario intends to steal it, then ransom it for the money to get a castle bigger than Mario's.

I'm sure most of you know what happens in the end, and of course what happens is that Wario's plan isn't a success, since Mario swoops in with a freaking helicopter to recover the Princess statue. Well, luckily for Wario, the genie he saved from Captain Syrup's command grants him one wish. Wario of course wishes for the castle, but the genie wants money in exchange. Depending on how much gold and treasure you've gathered during the game, the genie creates a home for Wario. Whether that home is a huge castle, or a tiny cabin, is up to the player.

I honestly like the story, save for the twist ending. Somehow Wario never gets a break. I give the story 3 WAAHs. Not that detailed, but also not bad.

GRAPHICS:

The graphics are very good for a Gameboy game. The game features detailed environments, expressful enemies and one funky looking protagonist. :WLWarioLaughs: There's not much more to say about the graphics, other than how pretty and clear they look for a Gameboy game. You definitely won't be betrayed by poor graphics while playing this game. I give the graphics 4 WAAHS, because they're really some of the best the Gameboy can offer.

SOUNDTRACK:
The soundtrack has the iconic Wario feel, and I think the music in this game is what shaped Wario's character for years to come. Even though it's on the gameboy, the music never gets irritating, and is surprisingly nice. The main theme of this game is one of my favorite Wario soundtracks. I give the soundtrack 4 WAAHs, since it shows so much character.

GAMEPLAY:

So the game has 7 worlds and 40 levels in total, a few of them being secret levels. It plays a lot like Super Mario games, with the main difference being that Wario is able to defeat his enemies by charging at them, or throwing them around. Wario takes two hits to die. First hit turns him into Little Wario. This tiny variation of Wario can only run and jump like Mario. (Shows you how weak that stupid no-good goody two shoes little red fool is :wargrr:) If you take a hit when you're Little, it's over. You then have to either continue at the check point (if you paid 10 coins to unlock it) , or do the whole level from the start again. There's a gambling minigame at the end of every level, which lets you double the amount of coins you have, up to three times. Try your luck too much though, and you're out of coins.

The game also features power ups much like Super Mario Land, but they're different. There's three power ups in total. Horned wario, Dragon Wario, and Winged Wario. (I have no idea what they're actually called:wahlaughback:)

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There's a specific item for each one of them, but you can also eat a garlic when you're big Wario, to transform into the horned variant. The garlic also makes Little Wario grow. As Horned Wario, your shoulder charge is stronger. As Big Wario or Winged Wario, it takes two charges to break blocks, but with Horned Wario, the blocks break from the first charge. Horned Wario's charge also lasts longer, which makes for some air mobility. Horned Wario can also ground pound, which can stun enemies, or even kill them if you land it directly on them. It can also be used to break blocks that are in the ground.

Winged Wario can fly! Wario gains a rocket boosted helmet with wings. Pressing the B-button activates the flight and sends Wario charging forward. Kind of like an aerial shoulder charge. The charge can be repeatedly done in the air, allowing Wario to reach amazing air mobility. Beware though, if you run into a wall you cannot activate the charge before you land! This power up is optimal for speedrunning the game, as you can zoom through entire levels!

Last but not least, Dragon Wario! Dragon Wario can shoot fire from his helmet, which makes ALL enemies in the game die instantly, except bosses of course. This power up is optimal for water levels, as Wario can't attack water enemies without it. The fire also destroys blocks, and reaches beyond walls, so it can be used for hard-to-reach secrets or just blocks that are separated from Wario with a wall. Beware though, using this power up makes Wario the worst when it comes to air mobility. You cannot sholder charge anymore, so long jumps aren't an option.

I actually enjoy the Super Mario-like gameplay in this one and Wario Land for The Virtual Boy. I actually wish they would make another Wario Land using this format. I give the gameplay elements a solid 4 WAAHs. It's a breath of fresh air into the basic Super Mario mechanics.

ENEMIES:

There's a variety of enemies Wario has to face in the game. There's the usual Gooms, which come with a spear or no weapons at all. :wanderingoom:
In addition to Gooms, the game has a bunch of more dangerous foes, like Ducks that throw boomerangs at you, or moles that throw spiked balls. Birds that swoop at you, Shells that descent upon you, spiked horsefish and more! There's also barely animate enemies and hazards, such as a variant of the Thwomp, as well as huge spiked balls and boulders.

Additionally at the end of every World, Wario has to face a boss. Boss fights usually involve hurling the bosses' minions at them, and they usually die on three hits. My favorite boss in the game was Bobo, the huge bird that throws smaller birds at you!

bobo.jpg


Overall, I give the enemies 3 WAAHs, not because I don't like the designs, but because so many of them were similiar to each other.

LEVEL DESIGN:


As I stated earlier, the game features checkpoints, but the catch is you have to pay for them! 10 coins to save yourself from having to start the level again. Beware though, you still lose all the coins you collected during the level when you die, even if you use a checkpoint! The checkpoint isn't the only thing that is going to cost you 10 coins to unlock. Additionally, each level (with some exceptions) has a locked door at the end of them, which also requires 10 coins to unlock.

The level design in this one is more linear than in the following installments. Don't be fooled though, many levels in this one are still quite tricky and yo might get lost. You have to explore swiftly because there is a time limit for each level. I actually implore you to go in there and explore, especially if you want to find all the treasures! There are 15 treasures in total. (I managed to collect 11 of them on my playthrough, how many can you find?)

Some of the treasures are easy to find, others not so much. Thing is, most levels are pretty linear if all you want to do is get to the goal. However, if you wish to collect treasures, be prepared to backtrack almost complete levels! In levels with treasures in them, there is a big door with a keyhole on it. You have to find the key and then bring it back to the door to open it and collect the treasure. Sometimes this means backtracking the entire level with a key in your hand and the time limit breathing down your neck.
There was one instance where I found the key pretty late and got out of the level with 3 seconds remaining on the clock. It felt like I was playing Wario Land 4. :pumpit:

I give the level design a whopping 5 WAAHs, it's linear enough for casual players to pick the game up and enjoy it, but detailed enough for a very fun collectathon playthrough!

CONCLUSION:

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is the first Wario Land bestowed upon us by Nintendo, but defnitely not the worst. When making the game, Nintendo was still experimenting with Wario, and didn't quite know what to do with him, and that is perfectly understandable. Regardless of being the first Wario Land to hit the shelves, this game features amazing platform action on a handheld console, with nice graphics and a funny story. It's an instant classic, and a MUST HAVE for anyone's Wario collection.

I give the first Wario Land a juicy 4 WAAHs, as it is definitely one of the stronger Wario Lands out there, but still experimental.

What do you think about the game? Hit me up in the comments below, and be sure to tell me what you think of my review as well!
 
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Fanbot

Totally human
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#2
Nice review. I'm glad you liked the game.

For future gamethrough:
- Jumps can be extended by holding the UP-Button before jumping. It makes the game much easier.
- After finishing the game you can see which levels have treasures on the level select.

I really the story of this game. It's really subtle in how it depicts Wario.
He came by boat and had to fight his way through the island only to realise that the statue is too big for him too transport.
Wario was quick to begin the adventure, was therefore unprepared for the whole operation and had to accept the fact that he can't claim his reward because of that. On the other end, Mario was well prepared and used a helicopter, saving him a lot of work and the ability to claim the rewards.
It feels to me like fairy tale. It's quite charming
 

Anders

Legendary Thief
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#3
Nice review. I'm glad you liked the game.
- After finishing the game you can see which levels have treasures on the level select.
Wow, yeah I can see that. I guess now I could try and get the planet ending!
 
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