Review by Dark33

"An excellent handheld platform game."

Super Mario Land 3, Wario Land, is strange in that you take the controls of Wario, not Mario, who’s only appearance in the game is a brief cameo. As the third game in the series, this is the most different game, as it plays very differently from its predecessors. It is still a platform game, though, and a good one. Unlike SML and SML 2, Wario Land serves up excellent variety, and is closer in game play to Super Mario Brothers 3 than the first two in the series. The platform action is very good, and like SMB 3, in Wario Land, you can change Wario’s form by adding hats, such as turning into a bull, sporting a Jet hat, and a dragon hat. This adds solid variety to the levels, which are well designed themselves. Level design is a key element in any platform game, and to be great, a platform game must have outstanding levels. In Wario Land, the levels are very good, but not great, and that’s exactly what this game is, good, not great.

Graphics: 85/100
The graphics were improved over the first and second games in the series. The detail is better, the levels look more unique, and Wario himself looks outstanding. The bosses and enemies are also extremely detailed. For Game Boy, the graphics in this game are excellent. While they lacked detail and variety in SML and SML 2, the graphics here look much, much better. Levels look very different, and there is solid variety in each one, including backgrounds and foregrounds. Outstanding sprites, solid levels and good creativity land Wario Land a high score for graphics.

Play Control: 80/100
The controls are pretty different from SML 2, but that’s probably a good thing because they feel very intuitive here. As normal Wario (big), charge with the B button and jump with the A button. Instead of stomping on enemies, most are defeated by the charging attack. As bull Wario, the controls are the same, but Wario charges for a longer distance, and you can pound the ground by jumping, then holding down on the control pad. This stuns nearly every enemy. As Jet Wario, you can glide with B, which is essentially a longer charge, but you can glide in the air, enabling you to get to some secret areas. As Jet Wario, you also walk faster than the others. As Dragon Wario, you cannot charge, but you can breathe fire with the B button, which burns up every enemy. However, you won’t get coins by defeating enemies like that. You only get coins by dispatching enemies with the charge technique. Even with the different transformations, control in this game is very easy to learn.

Sound/Music: 60/100
The sound effects are pretty good for Game Boy, but there is nothing really special about it. The sounds are more varied than in previous games of the series, but nothing too great. The music is also pretty good, but sometimes you’ll be somewhat annoyed by it because it repeats fairly often. But nothing here is too bad, especially for Game Boy.

Gameplay: 70/100
This game is excellent for a Game Boy platform/adventure. There are 7 areas to play in and several levels in each one, overall around forty levels. No, Mario is not the final boss, but Captain Syrup and her genie is, and they aren’t easy. Other bosses are excellent to fight as well, as they’re big, bad, and tough. This game is not too challenging, but many levels are definitely enjoyable, and they are varied enough to keep you from getting bored. Several water and ice levels add something new to the mix. Unlike other Mario games, when you get 100 coins, instead of getting a 1up, you can save all your coins and dump them in a Treasury at the end. Depending on how many coins and treasures you get, you can get one of several different endings, a couple of them being pretty funny. Treasures are well hidden, as you must find a key, and a door to put the key into before you get the treasure.

Replay Value: Average
The replay value in Wario Land is average, as you’ll play it a few times, but there isn’t anything here designed for tons of replay. The game is not that hard, and although you’ll play it again a few times, you’ll get bored of it eventually. This game doesn’t offer that much in terms of replay value.

Challenge: Average
Also, as stated before, this game is of average difficulty. Several levels will challenge you much, and prbably most of the bosses, but you can easily beat it in a day on your first try, unless you’ve never played a video game before.

Good Points:
Very good level design
Very good graphics
Excellent play control
Good variety

Bad Points:
Replay value is not that great.
Levels can get repetitive after a while.

Overall: 74/100
The overall score is a 74, which is way above average. Be warned though, if you pick this up, the replay value may make you think twice about it. However, the levels are excellent and varied, the graphics and play control are spot-on, and the bosses are great, which makes this a good platform game to own for Game Boy.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/18/01, Updated 02/18/01

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