Blast from the Past: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (Game Boy)
Yes the title alone is a mouthful and I believe this is for good reason. As with many of you out there I grew up with the ‘RAGE QUIT’ quote from Toad: “THANK YOU MARIO BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!”. Wario is here to turn it all on its head.
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 takes place just after Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. The anti-villain to the infamous Mario, Wario, is out treasure-hunting and collecting as many coins as possible to fund another castle after Mario took the liberty of booting him out of his castle. This time collecting coins are not really for earning 1UP’s but used as currency. Wario can also utilise these coins to throw at enemies as well as open doors and use checkpoints. There is however another collectable item, aside from the power ups, and that comes in the form of hearts. The hearts are in fact used to gain extra lives, instead of filling the health meter. Collect 100 hearts and you in essence have yourself a 1UP.
The stages aren’t really what you would call challenging. You can basically speed through much of it, but keep in mind – the coins are indeed something you do want to collect. The intriguing part of the levels however is that once you’ve defeated the boss. Once you return to that same level it will be altered slightly. For instance the first levels will be submerged in water once you’ve completed it, where as the first time you play through it you won’t find water in the level. This of course triggers a few secrets within the level. Keep in mind not all levels will alter so its best to go back to as many stages as you can, once beaten. An important note to make is that the game does have alternate endings depending on how many coins/treasure the player collects.
Thankfully there is no shortage of enemies in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. Some of the small fries include a pirate goom, which is similar to a goomba with a spear, a demon bat and a pirate duck armoured with a boomerang. The boss battles include a spiked turtle, a giant bull and a large penguin with spiked boxing gloves. The boss battles as in most platformers can seem challenging at first but once the trick has been found, it’s all a matter of timing.
To aid Wario there are a number of power-ups and tricks that he can make use of. Magic Pots and Garlic are used to power-up Wario instead of mushrooms. Wario houses a multitude of power-ups, which is powered by acquiring a variety of hats. The Bull Horn hat allows Wario to butt stomp and stick to ceilings of areas. The Dragon Hat, which is shaped like the head of a dragon, allows Wario to spit fire out of the hat and a Jet Pack hat, which is basically made up of rockets installed on a hat, allows him to shoot through the air for a short period of time.
At the end of each level you’ll be given the option to play two mini-games – the coin game or heart game. The coin game is a ‘test your luck’ mini game where two pails are hoisted high in the air with a rope to pull on. One pail houses a weight and the other a bag of coins. The catch is to choose the pail with the coins in that will double your coin count. If however you choose the weight, your coins will be halved. The second mini-game is the hearts mini-game. Here you’ll have to pay coins to select three different levels. You’ll be given bombs to throw at enemies. Successful hits will grant the player hearts. However, depending on which difficulty level you choose, you might be able to gain more than just one 1UP. Immediately after the mini-games Wario will visit his treasure room where he stores all the coins he has collected. Depending on how many coins you’ve collected in the game, will determine the various endings.
If you’re looking to kill a good three to four hours this game is an absolute joy to play. Simple, fun and a quirky soundtrack to keep you entertained.