Review by discoinferno84

"Fortune Faded..."

Just a quick question: Who among you is sick of Mario? Now now, be honest. Aren't you just a little bit tired of seeing that ridiculous plumber stomping on Bowser's spiky hide all of the time? Hasn't he saved enough princesses already? When will the portly hero in overalls go back to fixing leaky faucets and plugged up toilets? Thankfully for all of us tired and weathered fans out there, Nintendo made a wonderful decision of adding yet another character to the Mario series. The deranged and greedy Wario made his debut on Super Mario Land 2: The Six Golden Coins. In an expected maneuver, Nintendo put this new villain into heavy rotation by giving him his own game. And thus Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land was thrust into the eager hands on mainstream America, and Mario fans had something to rejoice besides a plumber saving a princess.

In order to stay true with the previous game's storylines, Wario's adventure begins where the previous game left off. Wario has just been kicked out of the Mushroom Kingdom for his acts of brutality and hostile takeover. Looking for some quick cash and something to vent his frustrations on, Wario follows a band of pirates to the mysterious Kitchen Isle. Apparently, these pirates have stolen a huge statue of Princess Toadstool that happens to be made out solid gold. As soon as our new favorite anti-hero hears of the potential fortune involved, his greed kicks into overdrive and he sets off on a crusade to amass the largest horde of cash that the human mind could ever conceive. And what will he do once he's stolen the statue, the gold, and pretty much everything else that happens to be shiny? Why, he's going to play it smart and invest some of it real estate. Wario's goal is to get as much cash as possible and create a massive castle for himself, thus making Mario's puny little home look like an outhouse. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and this time it's being served with cold hard cash.

Let's just make one thing perfectly clear about Wario: He may be a greedy maniac, but he's no wimp. He doesn't throw fireballs or stomp on enemy's heads like a certain plumber that we all know. Wario is just too darned mean to let his enemies off so easily. Not only does he stomps his hapless foes, but he also can pick up and throw them, charge into them, and send them flying off the screen. Remember, it's not the size the counts, it's how you use it. And since Wario is packing on a few extra pounds, he can certainly throw his weight around to gain the advantage over the countless gangs of inept enemies. But Wario's deadly arsenal doesn't end with his fists. He can also obtain three different hats with corresponding special attacks. If Wario dons the bull horned cap, he can rush enemies with an even greater attack power and can latch onto ceilings. If he grabs the winged cap, he can make extra large jumps and rush underwater enemies. And if he puts on the dragon cap, he can unleash a torrent of liquid flames upon his helpless foes. With all of these different attacks, Wario is a one-man army of pure greed. Being evil was never this much fun!

And since all of the enemies drop the much-coveted currency, you're going to have plenty of quality time with Wario's devastating arsenal. The goal is to complete a series of levels in certain sections of Kitchen Island. Usually these levels just involve some basic platforming, but nothing too overly complicated for the average gamer. If you spend time exploring the levels, you'll find all sorts of hidden treasures just waiting to be picked up. Remember, Wario doesn't care about anything but getting rich, so feel free to spend as much time as you want to steal everyone else's riches. And if you play your cards right, Wario will be living high and mighty while Mario is left out in the cold. However, you will get different endings based on Wario's gross profits at the end of the game. If you're greedy money hoarder, Wario will get the place of his dream. If you collect a minimal amount of coins, he'll be stuck in the doghouse in Mario's backyard. It's these different hilarious endings that will keep you coming back to give this game another go.

But what makes Wario even more striking is his actual appearance. This guy is huge by Mushroom Kingdom standards. He commanding presence fills the Gameboy screen and almost vibrates with evil intent. His malicious smile can make even the toughest enemies quiver in fear. It's this kind of detail that still makes this character and his old game shine. All of the platforms, the water, the enemies, and even some of the treasure have a fair amount of detail, but it's Wario that truly steals the spotlight. Not only is he an imposing figure, but all of his attacks create incredibly loud and occasionally annoying sounds. And you'll hear that loud whoosh as Wario smashes through gang after gang of minions. And while these graphics and sounds are still roughly even with the previous game, it's still a solid presentation.

And as the Super Mario Land trilogy draws to a close, we see the dawn of a new and wonderful addition to Nintendo's character's roster. It's that transition from Mario to Wario that allowed for the expansion of Nintendo's flagship series. And even though Wario has moved on to bigger exploits, it's still always a good idea to take a look back when he just a humble new face in crowd of seasoned vets. For those of you that want something not quite as clean cut as a heroic plumber, give this anti-hero a try. He may not be the most ethical of Nintendo's creations, but he's still plenty of fun.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/04/04

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