<i><u>The Chronicles of Wario: A Retrospect</i></u>and: Stephen Smith Despite being one of Nintendo most popular characters, most of what we know about Wario is still a mystery. We do know that his name is derived from the Japanese word â€˜Waruâ€™ which loosely translates to bad thing, or bad person. We also know he has stared in over a dozen different games. We find that most were found on portable systems, but that is not to say he hasnâ€™t shown a little console love every now and then. The following is a retrospect of some of Warioâ€™s better known games. We choose to leave out a few, but they are mostly Japanese releases that never saw the light of day anywhere else. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land Few games mark such a departure for Nintendo as Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land did. Not only was this the first time Mario wasn't the protagonist for his own game, but also his evil twin troll was his replacement. Best of all, Wario's first game was brimming with his apparent misguided style. We find Wario, still angry about his defeat to the world's #1 plumber. He starts to dream up an elaborate plan in which pirates, and treasure are involved; these things tend to go hand in hand. Then, before we know it, Wario is off to find treasure and to buy an even bigger castle than that goody good-for-nothing Mario. Wario Land takes place on the strange Isle of Kitchen. Don't ask me, this just happens to be where the pirates and treasure are located. Anyway, Wario uses his brute strength --and a body slam or two-- to deal with his enemies. Also this technique can be used for other things besides dealing with pirates. Wario can also find mysterious pots that turn him into different forms like the Jet, Bull, and Dragon Wario. All come pre-equipped with special abilities for dealing with his many foes.
Wario Land 2 When Wario Land II was first released, it was made for the original Game Boy. It had no color support whatsoever, but it did have Super Game Boy support. Later, it was re-released to support the full color abilities of the Game Boy Color, giving each world a new look. In this game, Wario is devastated upon finding his castle destroyed by the Black Sugar Gang of Kitchen Island's leader Captain Syrup. Ms. Syrup is seeking revenge on Wario for previously stealing her treasures and using them to buy himself his castle. Now, Captain Syrup has returned and is determined to take back what belongs to her. Once she departs with her treasures, Wario's plan is to get the treasures back, so he embarks on his own personal journey of vengeance. The puzzles in this game are blended with unique game mechanisms such as how enemies affect you. Each puzzle in the game is nicely executed and continues to show the brilliance that is Nintendo. If enemies were to touch you, various side effects would occur, not allowing you to continue the level without having trouble. Wario Land II proved to be a greatly enjoyable and amazing game that continued the tales of Wario.
and: Stephen Smith Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman While I was getting ready to write this article, I immediately remembered many Wario games while I had to go though mountains of research to remember others. Wario Blast belongs in the latter category. The reason is that Blast just can't help but pale in comparison to the other games that bare his name. Wario Blast did things a little differently than others. Whereas some developers will borrow certain gameplay ideas or mechanics, Blast adds to it by including the original game it borrowed these ideas from itself. I am talking about Bomberman, the wonderfully simple game from Hudson Soft. Blast even includes Bomberman himself as a playable character. If you haven't played a Bomberman game before, here is the rundown. You drop bombs to defeat your foes and destroy walls, and you can find power-up icons to help along the way. As you progress you will defeat monsters, and as you clear stages you will eventually fight bosses. Wario Blast does offer multiplayer support, and to me this is its best feature. If you never played a Bomberman-style game with friends, there is nothing to compare it to. The best way I can describe it is bombs are going off in every direction, and one second of not paying attention can cost you the game. Since this is a classic Game Boy title, everyone you play needs to have a copy of the game. This really makes you appreciate the Game Boy Advance games that support multi boot, eh?
Wario Land 3 With part 3, we find that Wario games have grown into a complete franchise of their own. They have successfully, and creatively, separated themselves from the Mario series from which they were spawned. Wario Land III finds our hero (I use that term loosely) flying a biplane. Suddenly his engine stalls and he is forced to make an emergency landing. Wario awakens later, and while exploring he finds a music box in a cave. Upon opening it, he is sucked into some bizarre world, where he learns that he must collect these music boxes to escape. If we guess right, he will certainly not leave this place without at least some treasure. So begins another adventure of Wario, and just like his last one on the Game Boy, he cannot die. For anyone who hasn't played these games, this may sound like an odd way for Nintendo to make games for both the young and an old audience, but this is not the case. The way the game is designed is that it rewards exploration and simple puzzle-solving gameplay. Here is an example: touch an enemy, then touch a block that bares its likeness. Bam! (I feel like Emeril Lagasse), the block disappears, and you can now reach an area that was otherwise restricted. This system works beautifully and Wario Land III is widely regarded as the best in this highly acclaimed series.
Wario Land 4 Wario crash landed on the GBA with his first adventure game entitled Wario Land 4. This game had great graphics, amazing sound, and a funny anti-hero who was able to take on different forms throughout the course of the game. Gamers were treated with great sound, meticulous puzzles, and a revolting treasure-seeking Wario. The quality of this game was superb, offering gamers the first original GBA platformer from Nintendo. The level of attention paid to each puzzle and challenge proved that Nintendo are masterminds to engrossing gaming experiences. Lucky for Nintendo they have Wario, as they are able to experiment with new forms of gameplay and create a gritty experience unique to the anti-hero. Wario's first GameBoy Advance appearance proves no different. Raiding tombs to steal treasure, looting the worlds he visits, and beating up enemies are the antithesis of what Mario stands for, yet Wario manages to attract fans and become a completely independent character from the Mario universe. Wario kicked ass as took names in this game.
Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ Wario's second appearance on the Game Boy Advance was another departure from his previous incarnations. Although instead of trying to reinvent the adventure genre like Wario Land 4 did, Nintendo choose to go in a completely different direction with this game. Essentially in its purest form, Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Microgame$ is just a huge collection of mini games. What makes Wario Ware Inc. so much more entertaining then any other game based around mini games is its structure and simplicity. Wario Ware is all about progressing thought each 5 second challenge, and eventually making it to a boss. Levels are grouped together by the different characters you meet along your journey, and each character has their own distinct series of games that fit their respective personalities. The story for Wario Ware, Inc. is also very unique. Wario has opted to become a video game developer. Why the sudden interest in the gaming industry you ask? Well, it seems that he has found out how money can be made from this particular endeavor into becoming a game developer. Instead of relying on creativity and hard work, Wario decides to 'borrow' ideas from other games. This one aspect makes Wario Ware, Inc. so appealing. Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ quickly became a runaway success. This, I feel, is due in large part to its sheer variety of gameplay styles. Mini games can range from simply avoiding collision with another object to finishing first in an extremely short race of F-zero. This all combines to personify the ideal of pick-up-and-play design, and makes Wario Ware one of the best Game Boy Advance titles of all time.
and: Stephen Smith Wario World Wario made his first appearance on the Nintendo GameCube back in 2003. Wario World was not developed by Nintendo, but instead, Treasure --the legendary masters of all things two-dimensional-- created it. Having a 3rd party developer take the reigns of one of Nintendo's top franchises was somewhat of a shock. When the game was finally released, it was received with somewhat open arms. No Wario game has ever been story-centric, and this one is no different. This time around, Wario finds his treasure has somehow morphed into various monsters, and he sets off to reclaim it. The way Wario deals with these monsters is by literally beating them back into their original form. Wario's method to do this includes the standard punch and shove, to the not-so-standard pile driver. This odd assortment of attacks helped make Wario World a different kind of platform-based game. I mentioned earlier in this about Treasure and their talent for creating wonderful 2D games. Well, Wario World is not a true 3D game; its camera is static, and centered on the screen. You can move in and out of the background, and move left and right, but you never can truly move around any object, or enemy. The gameplay in Wario World is primarily centered on collecting treasure. Once you collect certain gems, you unlock hidden paths and doors. Scattered throughout the game are bosses, each one presenting a unique challenge. Wario World can become bogged down by some of its weak points. Namely, a very short quest and repetitive game play, but overall it is a good game, just not what people would have expected since Treasure was involved with this project.
Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Party Game$ Wario finally brought his wacky and insane mini-game collection to the GameCube, but fans and critics alike received it with mixed feelings. Here was the acme of GameBoy Advance innovation and fun, including an added multiplayer for this GCN offering. So why was it shunned? Wario Ware, Inc. Mega Party Game$ offered new modes unavailable in the GBA version of the game, and it allowed players to compete with their friends through the different modes in the game. However, very minor changes were made to the game, and ultimately, it was just a ported emulation of the GBA game. The unique thing - and most enjoyable thing - in the game is the multiplayer mode added to the GameCube version. Players are able to compete with up to three other friends or share the controllers and play with up to 16 people. Apparently, this wasn't enough for fans, and the GCN version of the game was considered inferior to the critically acclaimed GBA version. The madness of party games knows no other name but Wario Ware, Inc!
Wario Land Only 14 titles were released in the US for the Virtual Boy. Most were developed and published by Nintendo, but there were a few 3rd party titles scattered about. However, Wario Land VB is considered by many to be the best game to be found on this platform. Released in 1995, Wario Land VB was a wonderfully imaginative platform-based game. Our beloved anti-hero Wario was on his vacation in the Awazon, when he found some mysterious caverns behind a waterfall. He watched as these strange creatures entered the caverns and he quickly followed, and so began his quest for treasure. I don't think Wario Land VB was ever intended to fit in with the series on the Game Boy, although Wario Land VB did come after the original Wario, and preceded its sequel Wario Land II on the Game Boy. The reason for the confusion may stem from gameplay mechanics that are shared between these titles with slight differences in each game. Some even believe that Wario Land VB is nothing more than a port. This is completely untrue, as any diehard Nintendo fan knows.Wario Land VB really is a fantastic game. Since it is based in caverns, the Virtual Boy itself can outline amazing subtle little details, and let the black backdrop fill in the rest. The game play is also wonderful, and very compelling. Wario really adds so much charm to this title; it is worth having a Virtual Boy just so you can experience Wario Land VB. Here is a little story about me that I feel fits in with this article. Before I began work on this article, I decided to pull out my Virtual Boy and play a little Wario Land VB. I quickly wrapped up my gaming session as my wife was opening the door to our apartment. I dashed into the living room to greet her, and said "Guess what I was doing while you were gone to work?" She didn't miss a beat and said, "You were playing Virtual Boy, right?" I was stunned, what a good guess. I quickly asked her how she knew. Then she pointed to my forehead, and said "You have that same red mark across your brow where you press your head against the Virtual Boy." It's a noticeable nostalgia!
Wario's Woods Some games get their just amount of praise, while others do not, and this is the case with Wario's Woods. Published for the NES, and later the Super NES, this puzzler was only a moderate hit for Nintendo. Wario's Woods is a puzzler, but it shakes up the usual formula a bit. This time you play as Toad, who is at the bottom of a Tetris-type pit, while he attempts to line up four of the same kind to make them disappear. Toad, who is my favorite character from the Mushroom Kingdom, moves these blocks manually. This creates an entirely new gameplay dynamic. All things considered, Wario's Woods is a good game, but it is not what you would consider great. It lacks that extra amount of gameplay to propel it into a better gaming experience.
Special Appearances Not only has our anti-hero starred in his own games, but he has also participated in various other Nintendo-made games. Wario has made an appearance in the Mario Party series, allowing players to control him and collect all the coins like only he can. He has also starred in Nintendo sport titles such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. This recognition has been an added bonus for Nintendo as Wario continues to build a fanbase and become as recognized as any other Nintendo character. Our anti-hero has even appeared in the Mario Kart series, as well as the recently released Super Mario 64 DS. In this game, Wario is an unlockable character whose unique abilities (such as his strength) are unparalleled by the other playable characters. One surprising franchise Wario has been excluded from up until now is the Super Smash Bros. franchise. No doubt heâ€™ll be a great addition to the game, yet he has been surprisingly absent from it. Luckily, his own DS game debut has arrived and his legacy will continue to grow for years to come.