Review by HeavyD2

Reviewed: 04/29/04 | Updated: 05/19/04

Does Mario have anything to fear?

WARIO WORLD review version 1.2

Wario, video gaming's most popular anti-hero, comes to GameCube. In it, apparently some black jewel of his is cursed and starts turning his treasures into monsters, so Wario sets off to reclaim his riches. It's somewhat cheesy, but stories don't make a game. Many reviewers dock games quite a bit for lame plots, but to me that's unfair - video games are all about the action and/or strategy, and that should far outweigh even the lamest of stories. And the action is pretty good here, albeit not very long-lasting.

The game itself is about 90% platformer, 10% beat-em-up. This is because you defeat your enemies mainly by punching and dash-attacking them, and throwing them around, somewhat unlike the Mario games. The platforming may seem somewhat generic, probably because Wario has very few jumping moves unlike Mario. However, a nice touch, necessary to solve some puzzles, is that jumping off of a rapidly rising platform will make you jump much higher. That's something I don't see very often - most games treat all surfaces as stationary when you make jumps. Plus, the beat-em-up element in the game helps to save it from mediocrity. In addition, you don't die if you fall off a cliff like in most platformers - here you fall into a ''lair'' that you have to escape from before the ghosts in there take all your money. This is rather unique.

Being a Wario game, coins are rather important. You get coins by defeating enemies, and they disappear quite quickly - however, this is remedied by Wario's ability to suck them up like Kirby! Apparently, the fast disappearance was done on purpose. You use the coins to buy garlic to restore your health, and to continue right where you left off if you die. The prices go up throughout the game, unlike many others - they inflate throughout levels, but since enemies reappear you can defeat them again for more cash.

In each of the eight levels, there are three things you have to do: find enough red crystals to open the boss trapdoor to defeat the boss, find all eight pieces of a golden Wario statue to expand your health bar, and find all eight treasures. To get a treasure, you have to press a switch and then find the treasure pad that it activated. Sometimes the treasure is VERY far away from the switch, so this makes some of the treasures a challenge to find. Among them are some really neat ones that I don't want to spoil.

Not only is there a boss after each level, but a bigger boss at the end of each of the four worlds - there are only two levels in each world, so that's somewhat short. The game has a lot of bosses - 13 in grand total because of the final boss - the evil jewel - that you have to fight after you complete all the levels. I guess that's a plus because Wario is more of a fighting man than Mario.

The levels appropriately ramp in difficulty, starting off quite straightforward and later becoming quite a puzzle. It's a fairly linear affair, although all you have to do is defeat the boss to access the next level, meaning you can play this game either horizontally - finishing all the levels as quickly as you can before looking for the rest of the stuff in them, or vertically - playing each level to exhaustion before going on to the next.

Completing the levels will unlock mini-games for the Game Boy Advance, but that's not much of a bonus considering that not very many families have both a GameCube and a GBA. I have no basis for judgment of the games themselves, since I don't have a GBA and don't plan on getting one anytime soon. It seems to me that Nintendo is focusing a little too much on connectivity.

The controls are easy enough to figure out without the manual, which is what I had to do when I rented this game. You can figure out the basic moves, and the Spritelings that you have to rescue in the game will teach you the rest as you need them. Wario has a decent number of moves, although the fact that the X, Y and Z buttons are completely unused in the game can be slightly annoying. The only hitch I found with the controls is that grabbing onto the edges of objects is automatic, and you can't let go and fall down - you have to pull yourself up.

The camera controls are quite limited in most of the game - you can't control what direction you view the game from in most cases, although you can change the vertical angle somewhat. However, the horizontal angle that you're stuck with works well throughout the game, and this limit has even been made somewhat integral to gameplay - at one point, you have to move around using only your reflection in a mirror, because a wall gets in the way of the camera. In certain puzzles within the game, though, you do have full control over the camera, so it's there when you need it. A nice thing about the camera is that, except for the mirror parts, objects between you and the camera become transparent so that you can still see yourself.

It's too bad that the game's so short - with only eight levels in the game, many gamers will play them to exhaustion in as little as ten hours. Once you find all the treasures and save all the Spritelings, a feat of only moderate difficulty, there's absolutely nothing else to do in this game!! Although you can find the few remaining red crystals, that won't do anything - and that's about it! And the game costs $50 - go figure.

Some of the visuals in this game are quite impressive, particularly the ice caves. The courtyard where you go between worlds is comparatively bland, but since that's not where most of the game is played I'm not weighing that very heavily. Most of the actual levels look great. A nice touch I found is that if you're falling rapidly, streaks will appear on the screen to convey speed. Overall, I found the graphics to be quite impressive, even for GameCube.

The music here very appropriately reflects Wario's devious personality. You won't exactly be humming the tunes, but it's even farther away from requiring hitting the mute button. The game sounds are about at the same level. Wario also spouts off some one-liners when he throws enemies around, like ''Have a rotten day!'' They're somewhat funny, but somewhat few in number. Overall, the sound in this game, while not the best in the world, definitely gets the job done.

Overall, this game is fun while it lasts, but it doesn't last long. I strongly advise renting this game - you'll complete it before it's due back. Why pay $50 for it when you can get virtually just as much out of it for $6?

GRAPHICS: 8/10
Some visuals are very impressive, while a few are bland. Fortunately, they're impressive when it counts.

SOUND: 7/10
The tunes appropriately reflect Wario's personality, although you won't exactly be humming them.

CONTROLS: 7/10
Although some buttons aren't utilized, they're easy to learn, and very responsive - the only hitch is in the auto-grabbing on to objects.

GAMEPLAY: 8/10
The levels appropriately ramp in difficulty, and there's a nice beat-em-up element in the game as well. The effect of falling off a cliff is different than in most games.

REPLAYABILITY: 2/10
The game is quite short, and once you've found all the treasures then there's nothing else to do.

RECOMMENDATION: Rent


Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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