System: Nintendo GameCube
Release Date: June 23, 2003
First Played: 2010
Status: DEFEATED – November 23, 2014
Making his debut in the 1992 Game Boy title “Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins” as the main villain to Mario, Wario has since taken on a life of his own. His first solo adventure, the oddly titled “Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3”, was a smash hit, spawning the Wario Land franchise and later the just as popular WarioWare franchise; a series of games which places emphasis on mastering “Micro Games” which are only a few seconds in length. He’s even a common presence in several other Nintendo titles, like the Mario Sports games, Mario Kart and even Super Smash Bros! Wario is an anti-hero, which helps him stand out from Nintendo’s more squeaky clean characters. He’s greedy, selfish, and would rather chase a quarter down the street than a Princess. All his games revolve around the idea of “How can Wario get lots of money and stuff?”, though while getting what he wants he usually ends up helping others along the way.
Up until the release of this game, Wario had usually stuck to the handheld market, but with the successes of solo titles for Luigi in “Luigi’s Mansion” in 2001 and Mario in “Super Mario Sunshine” in 2002, it was time for the GameCube to give Wario his moment in the 3D spotlight. But can the 2D shenanigans of our egotistical awesome moustachioed anti-plumber make the jump to 3D glory, or is he biting off more garlic than he can chew…?
When First We Met
I’ve always been a huge fan of Wario games. I like how weird the stories and characters are and I love the whole treasure collecting aspect. No need for the whole damsel in distress mumbo jumbo, he just wants gold!! And he’s a bastard, which is always fun! His games almost always offer a wide variety of moves sets, his signature move being his Body Check which he uses to ram through walls and to send enemies flying! And so it was with great surprise and glee that I heard a 3D Wario game was coming out for the GameCube! There was only one tiny problem…I didn’t have a GameCube…and to be honest, I didn’t want one. There were only a handful of games that I wanted to play for the GameCube and it didn’t justify me spending hundreds of dollars; plus I was starting to become interested in retro games, hunting down hard to find NES, SNES, Sega and Game Boy titles. I wouldn’t get this till 2010 when I found it at a nearby video game store.
Oh yeah! I remember this!! And only $20? SOLD! But wait, “I thought you didn’t have a GameCube???” You’re correct, and stop interrupting me! I had a Wii which is backwards compatible with GameCube games! (Wario World is one of 3 GameCube games I own, the others being “Luigi’s Mansion” and “Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door”) So I popped the tiny disk into the Wii….which is the end of my journey…I really just wanted to see if the game worked. It did, so I took it out and continued to play Super Mario Galaxy 2…as time went on I eventually forgot that I even owned it…
Meanwhile in the Present
When I first went through my games to see what would be on my QUEST, I just kind of stared blankly at this…I beat this…right? I didn’t even try it!?!?! Christ!! So I placed it at #6, not so much for difficulty but more so for chronological purposes. When the time came to tackle this one, I dusted off my GameCube memory stick (it’s pink!!) and my GameCube controller then popped it into the Wii once again.
First off, I need to comment on the GameCube controller. IT’S SO COMFORTABLE!!! It fits so easily in your hands and all the buttons are placed in the perfect spot. My thumb never needed to travel farther than it had to. I love the Left and Right triggers, the grooves are like little arm rests for my pointer fingers (the fingers that point) and they make a satisfying “clink” noise when pressed. I forgot just how great it is; it is the most comfortable controller I have ever used! I now see why gamers go crazy for this controller and why Nintendo recently made an adapter that allows you to play the newest Smash Bros game on the Wii U with a GameCube controller! I just love it!
But onto the game…You’re greeted with some very over the top regal sounding music as the title pops onto the screen, THERE’S GOLD EVERYWHERE! Wario is seated on a throne and yells at you, “Welcome to Wario World!!!”
Wow, hey, easy there! I press start; Wario jumps out of his throne to 4 file selection slots, I select a new game and am introduced to the story. There is a picture of a Dark Jewel slowly spinning; a story scrolls past it explaining that this was an evil jewel that fed on peoples wishes turning their desires into power and creating an army of monsters! A group of creatures called “Spritelings” were able to defeat the jewel and hide it in a sacred forest…that is until Wario found it! Cut to a shot of Wario sitting in his throne room laughing like a crazy motherfucker surrounded by all his treasure!
Suddenly, the Jewel breaks free from its chest, turns into some kind of squid and rips Wario’s castle apart! Wario is sent screaming into a white void, eventually landing in a central hub that has access to 4 “Worlds”, which is what Wario’s castle was turned into. Now Wario must travel through each world defeating its boss to get a key to a giant treasure chest that contains the Dark Jewel, who he must defeat in order to get all his stuff back. The plot isn’t that complicated, but it’s still more elaborate than many of the Mario titles out there. That’s one thing that draws me to Wario games; there is always a story that is just a bit out there, each one feeling unique from the others in the series.
The entrance to “Excitement Central” acts like another hub, giving access to 3 doors; two of them are levels and the third being a Boss fight, unlocking a portion of the Key needed to unlock the Dark Jewel treasure chest. Outside each of the level doors is a sign which acts like a “To-Do List” of sorts. In each level you can 1) Collect all the Treasures 2) Collect the Golden Wario statue pieces 3) Defeat the boss at the end of the level. The only thing that you “Need” to do is defeat the boss, but the only way I can consider this game DEFEATED is by collecting every single thing possible…so I guess I’m completing the list! I enter the door and am again flung into a white void…
I’m in some kind of forest and am soon confronted by some weird dinosaur looking bad guys! Time to see what Wario can do! I’m surprised at the variety of moves: “A” is jump and “B” is Punch/Grab/Throw!! The “Left Trigger” makes Wario inhale nearby coins that enemies drop, while the “Right Trigger” performs Wario’s signature Body Check. On top of this, “A” + “:Right Trigger” does a Butt Ground Pound and Jumping while doing a Body Check makes Wario do a long jump. 2 other powerful moves are taught to you by Spritelings you save (more on that in a sec). While holding an enemy, turn the control stick in a circle to perform a “Wild Swing Ding” which twirls the bad guy around and around until Wario sends him flying! This move is necessary for activating special switches and opening some gates in later levels.
The second big move, and my personal favourite, is a devastating PILE DRIVER on par with anything Street Fighter Zangief can deal out! This move is also necessary to access certain metal trap doors (more on that in a bit too!) And it’s great for taking out big groups of baddies!
I’MA Breaka your neck!!
After pummelling the dinos, I come across a box that is crying out for help in a muffled voice. Hitting these boxes free Spritelings (they were the ones who sealed away the Dark Jewel in the first place); upon doing so, they give you helpful tips on how to overcome certain bad guys or obstacles in a level or tell you how to perform moves or just say something weird.
This first guy tells me that there are 40 Spritelings that need to be saved, 5 per level, well just another thing for me to collect!! Speaking of collecting, what about TREASURE!?!?! Well, there is A LOT of Treasure in Wario World; the pause menu keeps track of what you found and what is missing. Here’s what you can get:
Coins: Get coins by beating the crap out of hordes of monsters, you even get coins at the end of the level for how much mêlée damage you did! If you die, you can spend coins to continue ($200, but the price goes way up the farther along you get in the game) as well as buying garlic from garlic dispensers, which replenish some health.
Red Crystals: The number of these varies per level; you need these to unlock the level’s exit and its boss fight. They are found in the many mini levels accessed through wooden and steel trap doors on the ground.
Golden Wario Statue Pieces: There are 8 per level and look like little Wario Golden Bees. Collecting all of them not only places a fun Wario Statue at the entrance to “World” you’re in, but it gives you an extra half heart (4 extras hearts can be gained in total throughout the game).
TREASURE!!!!: TREASURE!!!! These are the most complicated of all the collectables. Throughout a level you will see “W” buttons of various colours…
…hitting this button with fist or foe will make a treasure chest appear on a platform of the same colour somewhere in the level; which in some cases are very well hidden. Some buttons found at the end of a level reveal a treasure at the BEGINNING of the level, so you need to backtrack to get it. The game does provide a balloon to bring you quickly to the beginning, but you still need to trek through the ENTIRE level again to get to the exit…which is kind of a cheap way to add length to a level…
There are some tricky platforming elements in this level, but honestly, it’s nothing overly challenging. The enemies are push-overs, though it’s a lot of fun to grab a Triceratops and pile drive it into a mass of enemies!! Going through this first level was very easy, and if I wasn’t exploring every nook and cranny trying to find treasure, I’d finish it pretty quickly. One aspect I really like were the mini sub levels, accessed by butt slamming through wooden trap doors or pile driving an enemy through steel trap doors.
What make these levels unique from the rest of the game is the puzzle aspect of it, and that it forces you to use the “C” stick, which in these rooms moves the camera 360 degrees around Wario or 180 degrees above him, like a dome if you would. What initially looks like a dead end or an empty room, after moving the camera reveals a ladder or an opening in what looked like a solid block. The prize in each is a Red Crystal and sometimes a Gold Statue Piece or a Spriteling can be found nearby as well. What I found really helpful was that the trap door will glow if there is still treasure to be found, which made it easy to keep track of what I still needed to collect.
The treasures you get also have that classic Wario Wackiness; you can get something as priceless a Jade Crystal, to a Gladiator Helmet, to a Nintendo 64! (Does it come with Banjo-Kazooie???) Other games in the Wario franchise offer a fun/weird description of the item which was missing here; I feel that could have really spiced up the importance and excitement of finding treasure, a missed opportunity.
Well, before I know it I’ve collected everything in the first level and butt womped down into the boss fight arena and find myself facing this guy….he kind of looks like the Geico Gecko on steroids!!!
Much like switching to Geico’s affordable car insurance, this fight is easy. Just punch him till he gets woozy then throw him off the platform or pile drive him. Repeat till dead. Wario does a victory pose and your score is totalled before you’re plopped out of the level into the hub of the first “World”. If you got all the statue pieces, a fun animation plays showing the completed statue and a stone heart near the entrance filling up with red light! It asks if you want to save, SURE! Door # 2 unlocks and I head on in…
The next world takes place in an ancient ruin but is much of the same…except the monsters are just reskinned versions of the dinosaurs. This is true for every single other level, with some small exceptions here and there. The 3 constant enemies are tiny ones that you can kill in one shot, medium ones that take more damage and can be picked up and thrown, and large ones, who have 2 types of attacks: a weapon attack which when knocked out of their hands makes them go on all fours and do charging attacks.
This kind of bothered me, especially when you get to levels where the enemies are people and not animals; like this one level where really big “Jason Voorhees” guys are walking around with bats, which look interesting enough, but when you knock the bat out of their hands, they start to crawl around on all fours just the Triceratops enemy! It looked awkward and made no sense…why is he crawling???
That’s not to say there aren’t any unique enemies. My favourites are a fun mini boss in “Shivering Mountains” that looks like a giant Angler Fish made of ice and in that same level, there is a really fat enemy that is kind of disturbing to look at…
Speaking of disturbing, let’s look at some of the boss fights which, in my opinion, are the strongest aspect of this game. What’s that? What’s so disturbing about the boss fights? Well, just have a look…
A GIANT DEAD BABY???!!?!?
Mind you, this is nothing new; the franchise seems to like to throw in really freaky bosses. Just check out WarioLand 4 for Game Boy Advance…
Despite the grotesque or unsettling appearances of some of the bosses (which is a plus!) each boss is unique in its attacks and offer a wide variety of challenges. Where the levels were pretty straight forward in terms of platforming or treasure finding (except for 1 treasure and 1 Golden Wario I just couldn’t find and need to consult a walkthrough) the boss battles keep you on your toes. My favourite is one where you need to fight a Giant Minotaur
He’s constantly on the attack trying to ram you into the surrounding lava, you only have a split second to attack when he’s off balance near the platforms edge by butt womping the floor thereby submerging the platform and giving Mr. Minotaur a nice boiling hot lava bath! After maybe a week of casually playing this game, I finally have EVERYTHING! All the treasures, all the Red Crystals, All the statue pieces, all the hearts I can possibly get and a nice amount of cash, I’m ready for the FINAL BATTLE!! I head over to the giant treasure chest and notice something…
I consult the instruction book. Apparently, if I had a Game Boy Advance/GameCube connection cable and the first “Warioware” game (Which I have!), I could unlock special mini games!! COOOOL!!! But…I don’t have any of the connectors…or a GameCube…so I will never know what these special games are…on to the Trasure Chest!
An animation starts where the chest begins to shake and open! I’m assuming this will create a world similar to the others, 2 levels and then the boss fight, but instead…I’M RIGHT INTO THE FINAL FIGHT WITH THE DARK JEWEL!!
Huh!?! Wow! That was quick! The Dark Jewel floats in the centre of the platform. Suddenly, some of the Spritelings that I saved appear and are trapped in crystals! The Jewel stars his onslaught…his easily dodgeable onslaught. He shoots out lasers that create a row of fire and tries to box you in; if he does, he sends out fire balls or laser pulses along the ground. The only way to deal damage is to free the Spritelings, who launch out of the crystal and hit the Dark Jewel in the face! Once all of them have been freed, the Jewel will fall to the ground disoriented; that’s my chance to deliver a nasty Pile Driver!!
His attacks speed up the closer he gets to death but…that’s pretty much it. Before I know it, I’ve dealt the killing blow
Huh…I was expecting something more…maybe a transformation into a bigger badder Jewel or maybe his Jewel would crack to reveal his TRUE FORM!! But no…instead…I get this…
All the Spritelings I rescued are standing in a white void; they thank me and say that they are going to rebuild my castle!! Ohhohohaaa!! Then they start to dance. Fun! Wario watches and his face lights up as the Spritelings magic do their thing!!!
Then credits…wait a minute…WHAT ABOUT MY CASTLE??? My question is answered after the credits…
Whoahaohaoha! It’s even better than before!! We hear Wario celebrating…then the game restarts….I guess that’s it??? I do a bit of digging on the internet and find that if you get all 40 Spritelings (like me!) you get the best ending possible! There are many different endings depending on how many Spritelings you save, this being the worst!
That looks like a fun camp site! Aw well…
If you aren’t the completionist type, then Wario World won’t be your thing. The levels themselves, though surprisingly vast, aren’t challenging. The challenge comes in tracking down all the treasures, which again, not everyone is into. I love finding everything a game has to offer, so I enjoyed it! What stand out in these levels are the Trap Door mini levels. Some of these are unexpectedly big, and the camera usage adds a lot of puzzle solving elements that are lacking in the main level. One down side I forgot to mention was when you fall off a platfrom. You’d be transported to a world full of Ghost Unicorn Heads and had to find a spring to escape! As you can imagine, this was very tedious…
By far the best thing this game has going for it is the boss fights. They’re weird and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had grabbing a tricky bugger and Pile Driving him to his death!! The final boss was lacking; they could have done a lot more with this, at least have 2 levels leading up to the fight like the other “Worlds” instead of just going right for it.
One extra thing I loved was the song that played on the pause menu. It’s a song that has Wario going “Nya nya nya NYA NYAAA!!” over and over! It’s so stupid I love it! Also, though not that big a deal, I wish the treasures had a fun description. I also wish I had the Game Boy Advance connector so I could play these extra mini games I somehow unlocked!! But, as the French say, “Oopsy Poopsy!”
Should you play this? Yes, if you like collecting things and puzzle solving and just the general weirdness of Wario; but if you are looking for something that will provide you with hours of challenging entertainment, then stay away, this game is short and definitely leaves you wanting more.
So what do you think? Are you going to give this a go and try to get ALL the treasures? Has this made you want to play the other classic Wario games that are out there? I hope Nintendo makes a new Wario platforming game soon, maybe one that mimics “Super Mario Bros” but have Wario and Waluigi as playable characters!! What say you? Sound off in the comments below!
It’s been a wild ride but we finally made it…THE TOP 5. That’s a scary thought…but not as scary as # 5 on our Quest. It’s one of the few “Mature” games to come out for the Nintendo Wii and has everything you survival horror fans are looking for! Cool Weapons, Space, Zombies and SPACE ZOMBIES!!