Saturday, 25 May 2013

Wario Land Stage 1

As Game Boy games go, this one ranks pretty highly in terms of time spent as a kid playing through. A kind of alternative Super Mario Land, this one stars Mario's alter ego and main rival Wario (see what they did there? They replaced the M with a W: genius!) and rather than try and save the girl, all Wario wants to do is to shoulder barge everyone and steal all their money and treasures, so that when he defeats all the pirates he has enough money to buy a super sized castle to live in. 

Sounds simple right? Wrong; Wario Land is a deceptively deep platforming experience that builds on the top of Super Mario Land's tried and tested gameplay mechanics. Wario can either shoulder barge enemies or jump on them, but the should barge doubles up as a dash that allows players to jump gaps and find new paths. Among all the levels are hidden treasures, worth many thousands of coins, with the most valuable ones hidden in rooms that can only be accessed after replaying the stage, after hitting a ! block or obtaining a specific power up hat to reach. Definitely one for the kleptomaniacs!

Underneath it all is a great, varied score that adds a great amount of humor to the game. This is a kind of parody of Mario's themes and yet so much more; it reflects Wario's selfish and zany quest - after all, who could take this character remotely seriously? It's a great use of the Game Boy's limited hardware and in true fashion, the sound design team made the music enjoyable even when one of the four sound channels is used for sound effects.

Well worth looking in to if you are a Game Boy fan or looking for a platform game with a nice spin on things.