Game: Wario World
System: Nintendo GameCube
Genre: Action / Platformer
Wario is an interesting character in the Nintendo universe. He made his first appearance in Super Mario Land 2 as the main villain, and Mario’s evil double. He then took over the Super Mario Land series, and turned it into the Wario Land series of games. His goals were DRASTICALLY different from Mario’s, as his mission was to get as rich as he could, as fast as he could. And to pummel anything and anyone that got in his way.
And now, Wario has his greedy sights set on console gaming, and Nintendo has been more than happy to accommodate. Dubbed “Wario World”, Wario’s treasure-hunting and enemy-bashing skills have been expanded to take full advantage of the GameCube hardware. But does this game live up to the legacy set by the Game Boy series? Read on to find out.
Wario just finished completion of his new castle, and is overjoyed. He’s got his treasures everywhere, and has all different kinds. Among his vast riches is a certain black jewel that has been said to have wiped out an entire civilization. So one night, when a red moon rose, the evil jewel awoke and turned all of Wario’s treasure into monsters! To top it all off, the castle was destroyed to boot. So now, Wario’s mission is to recover his stolen valuables and put a stop to the black jewel.
Most of Wario’s moves have been kept intact from his Game Boy adventures. He moves around the level with the Control Stick, as expected. You use the C-Stick to slightly change the angle of the camera to get a better view of your surroundings. He jumps with A, and punches with B. By either holding B or pressing R, Wario will do his patented charge attack. By pressing R in the air, he’ll do his ground-pound maneuver. By holding L, he’ll suck up any stray coins or items with his mouth. Wario also gets to have some fun with certain enemies by picking them up with B when they are dizzy, and doing one of three things to them: (1) Throwing them with B, holding the button for a more charged throw, (2) Swinging them around by circling the Control Stick, or (3) Pile-driving them by jumping up into the air and pressing R. This general mayhem is not only therapeutic, but is integral in solving puzzles and moving obstacles.
The stages in Wario World are heavily puzzle oriented; more so than with other Nintendo-mascot games. The enemies around you play massive roles in uncovering secrets, such as opening trap doors, raising platforms, actually becoming platforms themselves, as well as other functions other than just being cannon fodder. So if you can’t figure out how to progress, just look around you. You might see something (or someone) that can help.
The enemies themselves can be very repetitive and predictable. As you progress, you’ll see the same types of baddies appear and reappear, doing the same attacks in the same patterns. They may look different as the game goes on, but trust me, you’ll figure out just how to deal with them when you see how they move. Additional enemy types are introduced as the game goes on, but they are few and far between compared to the others.
Also as you progress, you’ll notice that the game isn’t free roaming. Most of the game is a side-scrolling affair, although you can move in all directions. There are a few drawbacks to this, however. Given the nature of the camera, you might not be able to see where you need to go very well. The C-Stick helps a bit, but not very much. That, and you might find yourself falling off the edge of a stage at one time or another. This will take you to a dungeon-esque area where you can lose coins you’ve collected rather quickly. So take care when timing your jumps and the like.
There are four “overworlds” (if you want to call them overworlds) in the game, with two main levels and a boss stage per world. In the main levels, the goal is to collect all the treasure that you can. And there is a lot of treasure to be had in each stage. There’s eight treasure chests to find, eight red diamonds, eight statue pieces, and five creatures, called “Spritelings” to save.
Finding the treasure chests is perhaps the most difficult task to perform out of any level. The first thing you need to do is find a colored switch. Once you find it and smash it, you’ll need to locate a “W” pad with the same color. The treasure chest will be there if you hit the switch.
You can find the red diamonds in special puzzle rooms accessible by ground-pounding trap doors. These puzzles can range from super easy, to impossibly hard if you don’t know what you’re doing. You better figure those puzzles out, though. You’ll need the red diamonds to gain access to the mini-boss battles at the end of the level.
Statue pieces and Spritelings can be found either during the main level, or in any one of the eight trap door rooms. Collecting all the statue pieces in a level will give you extra health, and finding all five Spritelings will help you get a better game ending.
Boss battles are plentiful in this game. In fact, there are more bosses than there are treasure-hunting stages. Boss battles are also puzzle-oriented to a point, as each has specific patterns you’ll need to figure out. Some of these battles are very creative (like the Spider boss and dude with the cane), while some seem to disappoint a bit (the captain of the pirate ship). On the whole, though, the bosses provide a reasonable level of challenge.
To put it simply, the game is beautiful. It’s a literal feast for the eyes as you go through stage by stage. There’s nothing too elaborate, nothing to realistic, and nothing that’s detailed to the Nth degree. But that doesn’t stop a game from looking as beautiful as this one.
Wario looks great, and has a myriad of facial expressions to boot. He moves much more fluidly than most games I’ve seen on the Cube, and at a constant 60 FPS to boot. There is some slight slowdown in some portions of the game, but it appears so rarely that you might not even encounter it. Wario’s enemies also move great, and have plenty of variety as well. I know, it sounds weird that only earlier I said that enemy types were repetitive, and they only have different skins, but the skins that the developers put on the enemies are very unique and detailed. I never knew that one enemy type could pull off being a skeleton, a dinosaur, a clown, a snowman, and a Pikmin look-a-like so well.
The stages Wario traverses are also full of beauty and creativity. One of the later forest levels have you climbing giant trees complete with huge leaves, tree houses, and flower buds that turn into spinning platforms. And each of these is detailed just enough to give you a good sense of beauty. It’s hard to describe just how well the graphics balance out unless you play it. And to make things even better, I have NOT ONCE encountered any hints of walking through walls or falling through the floor. Treasure / Nintendo really did well when focusing on the visuals.
The music and sound are done very well in the game. Musically, the game features a good soundtrack that goes well with each individual world. The ice level has an obligatory Christmassy theme, the forest levels have mellow, but good party music, and the later levels contain more powerful music to fit the moods. By itself it’s an average soundtrack, but going along with the levels, it adds so much more.
As expected, Wario does his fair share of talking for the game. Some sound bites were taken directly from Wario Land 4, while others were newly recorded for this game. Surprisingly, Wario’s voice doesn’t get repetitive or annoying mostly as you play. He has a large set of phrases he utters, and it’s pretty funny sometimes to hear what he comes up with. (My only qualm is his “Nyah-Nyah” song he does every time you pause the game. THAT gets annoying rather quickly.)
I have to say that the length of this game surprised me. I was stunned that I was facing the final boss after completing only four overworlds, and only two levels from each. Granted that each level itself is of moderate size, but once you’ve collected everything in a level, there’s no real sense in going back to it. No new challenges, no new puzzles, no new enemies”¦nothing. It’s just”¦done.
Of course this doesn’t mean that hidden extras have been completely overlooked. If you manage to collect all eight treasures in a specific area, you’ll be able to unlock special trial versions of Wario Ware, Inc. mini-games for download to your GBA. These are split into two categories. The “Trial” games are literally demos of the full version, as you go through a certain number of games from a certain category.
The “Selected” games are more interesting to those who already own Wario Ware, however. Four mini-games have been taken and expanded upon to make the challenge harder. For example, one of the games has you shooting at UFOs with a set number of bullets. In Wario Ware, the amount of UFOs only went up to three. In this “Selected” version, the UFO count goes up one each round, putting as many as ten or more UFOs on screen for you to shoot. This injects a bit of new life into Wario Ware, but even this is not enough to keep one interested in the GameCube game.
Overall, this is a game that I would like to see a sequel to, but one with an improved length, and maybe starting at a cheaper price. I really don’t feel like paying $50 for something I can finish 100% complete in a weekend.
Fun Factor: 6