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Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 review

From evil boss to Nintendo hero

Mario travels across kingdoms and galaxies to rescue princesses, Link faces the evil Ganon as he attempts to save Hyrule from darkness, while Samus Aran protects the galaxy from Space Pirates. As for Wario, he collects cash in order to build a giant castle that will make Mario jealous. He's not your typical Nintendo hero.

In many ways he's brighter than Mario. He knows that there's nothing to be gained - other than a peck on the cheek - from rescuing princesses from their kidnappers countless times (don't they ever learn?) so he bounds over to Kitchen Island where it is rumoured that pirates have stolen a giant golden statue of Peach. He intends to find it before Mario and sell it back to him while gathering treasures on the island. Told you he wasn't daft.

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What follows is a fantastic adventure and an essential download. Having said that, if you were hoping to play a platformer like Super Mario Land or Super Mario Land 2, you might be surprised at first for Wario Land is very different.

Wario isn't just Mario in a yellow outfit - he's a lot portlier that the plumber and this is wonderfully reflected in his movement. He seems almost sluggish as he plods around Kitchen Island and while that would be an issue for most platform heroes, it makes perfect sense for this overweight, pink-nosed lump.

Wario is a brute. He smashes through blocks and charges enemies, although if he is hit by a projectile, he will lose his yellow hard hat and shrink. This makes him incapable of destroying blocks and vulnerable to a one-hit kill. Yet, even if this happens, a power-up isn't far away.

You can collect three hats, each of which grant you different powers. The dragon hat enables you to flame your enemies, the bull horns give you a longer charge and the ability to hang on the ceiling while Jet Wario can glide for a short time.

Treasure Hunt

Wario Land is about the pursuit of treasure rather than perfect platforming. It isn't too difficult to race through the game's 40 levels but if you miss out on the coins on offer, you won't get the best castle at the end of your journey.

There's a terrific risk-reward element as coins are placed dangerously close to enemies and above chasms, requiring you to risk your life in order to grab them. Also, if you die, you'll lose all the coins you've gathered in that level.

Then, at the end of each level you can gamble your coins in a mini-game which sees you pulling a bucket and keeping your fingers crossed that cash will tip out. If it does, you'll double your income but if it doesn't, your coin collection will be cut in half.

That said, there are some truly great levels which require you to act quickly. You'll be chased by a giant Thwomp on Mt. Teapot and you'll have to leap on and off mine carts in Stove Canyon while the brilliant Big Ghost boss battle demands that you catch one his minions in mid-air before lobbing it back at him before you land.

It may not be like Super Mario Land but Wario Land is a fitting finale for this fabulous Game Boy series and great start for one of Nintendo's best, if more unlikely, heroes.

Comments

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  1. Mario84 Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 12:39

    Bought this last week, loving it so far - just like when I bought it the first time!!

    Really hope they bring the GBC follow ups to the eShop too!

  2. Ai64 Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 14:01

    Downloaded the game too. Looks great to play.
    I hope they also bring 2 & 3. I miss those both!

  3. carnivine chaos Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 15:05

    4 sequels... Jus sayin...

  4. ChrisONM Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 15:14

    4 sequels... Jus sayin...


    It's actually either 3 or 5, depending on what games you count.

    Tom was only counting Wario Land II, Wario Land 3 and Wario Land 4, but you could also count Wario Land: The Shake Dimension and Virtual Boy Wario Land.

  5. The_BAAD_Man Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 15:28

    I got this game when it first came out. I love it!

  6. L_A Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 16:56

    I just completed this game thius afternoon, and I loved every single bit of it. Nostalgia... this was one of the very first game I ever played, along with Super Mario Land!

  7. TaskOfMajora Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 at 17:50

    Have not played this game in about thirteen years, so hope to play it soon. It was brilliant and Wario land 3 was the very best in the cult faviroute series!

  8. Parane Thursday 23rd Feb 2012 at 14:37

    I only played the first SML back in the day so I'm happy to have all three of them gathered on my 3DS.

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