Review by SeanKingGCN

"The debut of a legend. A greedy, portly legend, but a legend anyway."

Within the month (that being June 2003), the Nintendo GAMECUBE will get a new game. Shocking, I know. This game will star a character not dissimilar to the infamous plumber from Brooklyn, Mario. However, there is something different about this character. He has a yellow cap. He is very fat. He is NOT Mario's cousin/half-cousin/brother/evil twin. He IS evil though, to an extent. He is WARIO!

Today, in preparation for this, Wario's first adventure on a console other than a Game Boy, I've decided to go back and review the game that started it all. The game that introduced the world to Wario's greedy intentions and determination to become the richest son of a gun in the Mushroom Dimension. (OK, so Super Mario Land 2 was the game that started it all, but this is the REAL classic.)

The story of Wario Land starts off soon after the previous game comes to a close. Wario's attempt at taking over Mario's holiday island of Mario Land failed miserably, so now the lovable antagonist is trying to figure out another way to get rich and get even with Mario. It doesn't take long: news is abroad that a gang of thieves called the Black Sugar Pirates have stolen a giant gold statue of Princess Peach Toadstool! Needless to say, Wario knows when opportunity strikes, and there's no better opportunity than this. If he can get the statue from the pirates, he can ransom it back to Her Highness and become richer beyond his wildest dreams! So, donning a nifty safari hat and hopping in his little tugboat-type thing, Wario speeds off for the pirate stronghold, Kitchen Island, ready to make it BIG.

Not too bad of a plot, considering Mario's usual fare. Anyway. First up on our list of critiques is the graphics. Yeah, this is the Game Boy we're talking here, but the graphics aren't that bad at all. The characters all have plenty of animation, the backgrounds are plenty detailed when they need to be, and there's hardly a trace of slowdown anywhere. Wario himself has plenty of movement and expression, and while he lacks the enthusiam and emotion of his future incarnations, he is still very well animated in this game. Overall, the graphics are of a higher caliber than the Super Mario Land 2 graphics, and just plain out totalize the Super Mario Land images. ***** Asteriks.

Next up is the gameplay. Wario Land avids, take note: this game is very different from the future 3 installments in gameplay. To put it simply, this game plays less like a Wario game and more like a beefed up Mario game. Wario does not get any transformations when he's attacked by enemies, can shrink and needs an item to grow again(what appears to be garlic), is effeminately mortal and can die with one hit upon being Small Wario, and instead of transformations, he has three caps to utilize. There's the Bull Cap, which beefs Wario up even more and allows him to cling to ceilings and butt bash (that's right, you need a cap to do it); there's the Dragon Cap, which replaces Wario's basic charge with a spurt of flame that can take down just about any enemy; and there's the Jet Cap, which boosts Wario's speed and allows him to fly forward for an extended period of time, shoulder first. Hearts can be collected to build up to a 1-Up (100 hearts equals 1 life), enemies leave behind coins when they're shoulder bashed (but not when they die any other way), and Wario is capable of turning 10 coins into a large + Coin, useful for tossing at enemies, lighting up continue points and opening the exits to a level. While the gameplay is not as original as the future installments were, it is still very solid, with Wario responding to your commands without trouble. Very good. **** Asteriks.

The music is what you'd expect from the original Game Boy: loud, brisk, yet sometimes very catchy. From this game came the birth of Wario's original theme, which carried in to Wario Land 2 and has now returned as a snippet in the new Wario Ware Inc. The other tunes are memorable, but they're not the best things the system has ever chucked out. The sound is the typical Game Boy stuff: also loud, also brisk, and oftentimes rather annoying. Wario lacks his now trademark cackle, so veterans of Wario Land 4 will be a little put off by the pudgy one's muteness. Average sound, nothing worth calling home over, except maybe the main theme. *** Asteriks.

Replay Value? Eh, it's there. An experienced gamer can breeze through the game and beat Captain Syrup in no time at all, but it'll take some time to get all 14 treasures, find every level, and get 999, 999 coins so you can get the best ending. Once you've done all that, though, there's not much incentive to play it again, unless you want to run through the levels, as you would with any old platformer. It's there, but it's low. **1/2 Asteriks.

The final verdict is this: if you see this game, I suggest you buy it. It's a solid game, it's a joy to play for anybody who loves platformers, and it's a necessary starting point for any Wario-ite. You can't be going on blabbing about how he's in love with Mona and how he rules Diamond City with an iron fist if you don't have the proof to back it up, so it's best to get yourself into the groove now and start building the timeline from the bottom up. Did that make any sense to you? No? Good, then.

SCORE: 8.5/10 Warios (read the Wario Ware manual, fools)

And Wario? Well, what else is there to say? This game was only the beginning. The man in purple went on to star in three more Wario Lands, popping up in every N64-bound Mario cameo game, got to drop buckets and pipes on Mario's head in a Japanese only SNES game, and now just got to be even richer with the release of the most insane GBA game ever made (currently), Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Microgame$. (BUY IT NOW) And as I pointed out to you earlier, at the end of the month Wario will be debuting onto the GAMECUBE with Wario World, which, incidently, takes place between this game and Wario Land 2 into continuity... but enough 'bout that.

Let's face it. The man has a castle, a software company, an island, a city, a sneaky little brother, a possible girlfriend, more money than Bill Gates, and a CAR AND MOTORCYCLE. Can anything stop Wario? I don't think so.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/07/03, Updated 06/07/03

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