REVIEW: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (1994, Game Boy)

Like Batman without Robin, or cereal without milk…actually, scratch that. Cereal with milk is just plain disgusting. Umm…oh yeah, or macaroni without cheese, what would the gaming industry be without Mario?

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Ever since his debut in 1981’s Donkey Kong, the pudgy plumber and his friends have went on to star in dozens upon dozens of video games, and have not only put Nintendo on the map, but have also forever revolutionized gaming as a whole.

But we’re not here to talk about Mario himself – that’s for another day. Who we ARE here to talk about is his greedy arch-rival, Wario!

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With his first appearance being the main antagonist in 1992’s Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, Wario himself became the hero in several games of his own, including the Wario Ware series, and the less-heard of and talked about Wario Land series, although the latter has not recieved any new installments since 2008. Today, we’re going to take a look at the first installment in the Wario Land series – Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land!

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Released in 1994, Wario’s first major adventure revolved around him traveling to an island to get the riches necessary to build a castle of his own after Mario defeated him in Six Golden Coins, with the only things standing in his way being the dastardly pirate Captain Syrup and her crew, the Brown Sugar Pirates. Now, with all of that said, is there something about the Wario Land series that Nintendo is simply not aware of, or have Mario and the gang stayed more popular for a reason? Let’s find out, shall we?

THE LOOKS – It shouldn’t come to the suprise of anyone when I say that the Game Boy wasn’t exactly the most..visually advanced (pun entirely intended) system out there during it’s time. However, with that in mind, the folks at Nintendo R&D1 actually did a pretty good job with the resources they were given! The graphics, although lacking in color, look very detailed and appealing, with some of the character sprites having some rather creative appearances. However, if there is something that I have to say is wrong with the graphics, it’s that because it’s on the Game Boy,they’re simply not as good as they can be. Now, I am NOT dissing the Game Boy at all: in fact, I actually have a good amount of respect for it. It’s just that I felt that because the graphical capabilities were so simple compared to the Game Gear, some of the games on it like Donkey Kong Land or the original Super Mario Land don’t feel like they’ve aged very well in some areas. But getting back on track, for what they are, the game’s graphics are very nicely executed.

THE SOUND – If there is one thing that I love about the Game Boy, it’s the fact that the games on it have always had a reputation of great music. This continues that reputation, and does it proudly. The soundtrack is simply pleasing to the ears in all regards, with a more bristly, rough but still catchy tone to it then what you would normally expect from a Mario game, which of course is not a bad thing at all. For a good example, take a listen to a theme that tends to play throughout the game.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say in this section, so I’ll just make this short: the music does a great job of feeling like a Mario game, but still giving out the message that this is a Wario game.

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Wario, making his way through Rice Beach.

THE GAMEPLAY – One time, I saw a person say that what they liked most about this game is the fact that it felt like a Mario game, but still managed to be it’s own thing at the same time. And that, I agree with wholeheartedly. The gameplay does a splendid job of taking your average Mario platformer adventure, and successfully mixes it with not only puzzle elements, but even some Metriod-ish elements as well! The level design is also very good, having a fair amount of difficulty and enemy placement. One way that Wario differs from Mario is his Charge Attack, which proves to be very useful and quite powerful, and can clear out blocks faster than you can say “the Donkey Kong Country games aren’t even that great”. But if there is a problem that I have with the gameplay, it’s that Wario can feel a bit..clunky at times. However, at the end of the day that’s just a slight problem.

THE BOTTOM LINE – Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 takes the Mario formula and flips it on it’s head, the end result being a well-designed and fun to play game. It’s really a shame that these games never exactly caught on, because there really is a genuine profit to be made off of these. If you’re a big Mario fan or just love platformers in general, give this one a shot. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

8/10

Also, be sure to post comments and leave feedback!

(Seriously though, what will it take for a new game in this series?)

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