Review by Braindead Fool

"A great crossover game from Konami that never left Japan."

Long before Nintendo and Capcom crossed over their well known characters, Konami released Wai Wai World where several of its own characters ventured into other games by the famous developer on a quest to save the world under the guidance of the company mascot Konamiman. Unfortunately, Wai Wai World was never released outside of Japan, possibly due to the fact that many gamers of that time, 1988, would only recognize Simon Belmont and Mikey since those are the only characters whose games were released in other countries.

A long time ago in a lab far, far away

The story of Wai Wai World is the usual tale of ''Hero saves the world from evil'' however, instead of a lone soldier going up against unspeakable odds this hero is gonna need some help. We begin the game with a panicking Dr. Cinnamon trying to contact Konamiman (Those who've played ''The Goonies 2'' probably remember him) and inform him of the current danger Konami World has been placed in. Upon arrival, Konamiman states that saving Konami World is too difficult a task for one person and he'll need the help of his missing allies if they are to stand a chance. Dr. Cinnamon agrees and sends Konamiman and along with his android, Konamigirl, to search for the missing heroes in there designated game worlds.

It's different yet familiar

Wai Wai World is presented as a platformer in the likeness of the Castlevania series but offers several things the mentioned title lacked. First of all the entire game reeks of Konami, it's as if they took some of their best titles, threw them in a blender and made a game about the results. The next thing players will notice is the option to play with one or two people which makes sense seeing as the game begins with two characters ready to use and as the game progress, could easily turn into a strange version of Contra. If players decide to go it alone, they still have access to the other character and can switch between the two, and ultimately eight, at will which is definitely a good thing since Konami decided to make the game on a slightly difficult scale by including an endless army of enemies that take a lot of hits to bring down. All characters have individual life meters that can be replenished with the standard 8-bit health icon, a heart, and in the event that one hero should die, they can be brought back to life at the Dr.'s Lab by his evil twin brother for a price. After selecting one or two players, Konamiman will appear in a room with three doors. Each door leads to a different room in lab the first takes you to Dr. Cinnamon's room where he'll heal wounded heroes, resurrect dead ones and let you read the profiles of each character. The second door leads to a teleportation room where players have access to all game worlds and choose which level they wish to try. Levels are completed by locating and defeating bosses to gain the keys needed to release the missing heroes and then by returning to the lab via backtracking to the starting point. Upon rescuing a hero, they're added to the roster and become playable allowing full use of their skills and strengths: height, power and reach, all need to be taken into account as some levels require certain heroes to be present in order to advance. Completed levels can be revisited at anytime during play to search for special weapons (one for each hero) with the only requirement being that the hero the weapon is for be present in your roster (Example: Can't get Simon's cross if he's not in the group). When all heroes are rescued, the third door in the lab can be opened and the final levels become available, both of which pay homage to some of Konami's most well known classics. For those you wondering just whom these heroes are and where they being held at here's a list:

Vampire Hunter - Simon Belmont vanished in Dracula's castle.

Goonie - Mikey Walsh disappeared while searching for pirate treasure.

Legendary Thief - Goemon was arrested in ancient china.

Enchanted Statue - Moai is being held in an ancient temple.

Giant Gorilla - Kong is caged atop a skyscraper.

Demon Warrior - Fuu is entombed in the underworld.

So close to perfection

As with many Konami games, Wai Wai World's controls are almost right on the money. The best way to describe it is by comparing it to Castlevania's controls with the ability to move during jumps. The only real gripe is the odd way of changing heroes and activating weapons. Most people would agree that pressing the select button would be best for turning special weapons on and off however, the button has no use at all, instead special weapons are activated by holding the down arrow and pressing the A button. The task of selecting heroes is another matter, while the start button opens the status screen, heroes cannot be selected here instead players have to hold the up arrow and hit the A button then cycle through each individual until they find the hero they want to use.

Lookin' good

As far as graphics are concerned, Wai Wai World takes the popular Konami games and gives the characters and levels a cartoonish look. The heroes themselves, are drawn and animated a bit differently to fit in with the overall feel of the game but still retain their unique appearances. The levels design and style perfectly match each game it's modeled after only with the decided cartoon feel. Enemies are a mixed bag, while each one is located in the right level (Castlevania enemies in the Castlevania stage), some show more detail and animation then others but players will be too busy trying not to get killed to notice.

Sing along with Konamiman!
While the game borrows sound effects from just about every Konami title around at the time the game really shines in the music department. Heroes are provided with theme music plucked from their individual title and each song is very well done and easy on the ears. The sound effects are familiar to just about anyone whose has ever played Goonies or TMNT and don't distract or annoy the player in the least bit.

Push Start to continue or Select to quit

Seeing as Wai Wai World is a non-linear game for the most part, the replay value is pretty high for anyone wanting to make an already difficult game even harder (it's very easy to do) luckily a password feature is included so you can take a break between beatings.

Ratings - Each area gets 0-2 points: 0 = poor, 1= good, 2 = excellent.

Gameplay - 2
An original idea that's well executed and offers a nice challenge.

Control - 1
The odd hero/weapons select gets annoying.

Graphics - 2
Great visuals that are easy on the eyes and improve some characters.

Sound - 2
Familiar music and sound effects that help set the mood of the game.

Replayability - 2
A great game to go back to whenever you feel like an old school challenge.

Total Score - 9

Overall, Wai Wai World is truly a work of art and while many of the games characters are not recognizable, it doesn't take away from the enjoyable experience offered by one of the industries greatest developers of then and now.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/30/01, Updated 04/30/01

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