So, uhhh. Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land is a good game. In fact, It’s in my top three games for the original Game Boy… not that I’ve played many of those. I don’t have many memories of the original system aside from Pokemon Gen 1, so most of what I’ve played for it is stuff I later went back to. I have previously reviewed the first two Super Mario Land titles, but I haven’t posted them to Guardian Acorn yet because I’m uncertain if they are consistent with my current feelings on them. However, they are only tangentially related to the first two Super Mario Land games, in that you now play as the villain as the second game.
Why yes, before he was starring in micro-game compilations and terrible Saturday Night Live skits, Wario was the antagonist of Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins. In Super Mario Land 3, however, he is the main protagonist, and Mario’s only presence is a brief cameo in the ending. It is commonly known that this game split off and got many of its own sequels, which dropped the “Super Mario Land” title. I have previously played Wario World on the GameCube, and Wario Land: Shake It on the Wii, but I have never played any of the original titles until recently. Worth mentioning that I actually started playing this game on my 3DS while I was in the hospital for Pancreatitis, and this game definitely made my stay more bearable.
The main premise of the Wario Land games is that you play as Wario, and you try to find money and treasure and get to the end of the level. The levels are fairly well designed and well balanced. The levels are neither too easy nor too hard, and they are fun to play through. I also like how levels gave you more to do than just move left to right, between looking for treasures, collecting coins, and finding those hidden exits. The graphics are also nice and details, and the music is catchy to.
I’ve always had a particular gripe with the more recent New Super Mario Bros titles and their assembly line feel. There is a much greater sense of imagination to older titles Super Mario World in that exploring its over world map feels like you are exploring a unique world, and there was a sense of accomplishment when the map changed the further you explored it. I am happy to say that I got this same sense of progression while playing Wario Land, and that this game even handles it better in a few ways. One clever moment had you coming back to a water level after you drain the lake on the world map in a later level, and this allows you to find a hidden treasure that you couldn’t access before.
One other neat touch was the way the game incentivized you to kill enemies in unique ways. Rather than just stomping, dashing, or fire-breathing them, the game would reward you with big coins if you killed enemies using the level’s hazards or other enemies’ attacks. Given the emphasis on collecting coins this game has, this will ensure you waste a lot of time throwing enemies into the path of lightning bolts.
Similarly to that of Luigi’s Mansion, which was released later on down the line, the Wario Land series will give you a different ending depending on how much treasure and coins you collect. The treasures are found similarly to secret exits in Super Mario World, where you find a key and need to carry it to a lock. This will then let you collect a one of fifteen treasures, which each contribute to the total coin count. Based on how many coins you have when you beat the game, you get one of six endings, although you also need to clear every level to unlock the best ending.
The only issue I have with this game is that you lose all your coins AND all your treasures if you run out of lives. This means that you’d need to either constantly farm one-ups, or end up needing to re-do earlier stages to re-collect treasures AND do a bunch of coin farming if you are playing on the original hardware. This is not a problem if you use restore points with the 3DS, or use save states with an emulator.
Otherwise, there’s no reason for fans of 2D platformers not to play this game? I’m actually tempted to say it’s the best of the Super Mario Land trilogy, though it has been a while since I played Six Golden Coins. I may decided to replay the first two games before putting my reviews up, but that will be a while.
Anyway, only two reviews away from my 200th review. I know some of you are quite looking forward to that, and so am I!
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