Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wario Goes Guff! Guff!

I know you're all starving for another award-winning* installment of BB's very own GFGF Awards. Well, too bad.

Just kidding. Since the brand-new WarioLand Shake It! is coming out soon for the Wii, now seems appropriate to give out a GFGF Award (Greatest Freakin' Game in the Franchise) to the Warioland series.

The first Wario Land game was for the original Game Boy and it was actually called Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. I don't know why Mario was in the title, cause he wasn't really in the game, except for the very end when he came and stole your treasure. In any case, the original Wario Land was a fantastic game. It wasn't too hard, it wasn't too easy. There was plenty of treasure to find, and plenty of enemies to keep you from it. It changed up Mario's classic run-and-jump platforming a little by making Wario slower (have you seen his legs?), but also much stronger. Plus, if you manage to find some items along the way, you can increase that power. Some items, such as Garlic, make you stronger and faster. Plus you get to wear a sweet Viking Helmet. Other items, such as the Dragon Hat, let you breathe fire and burn things. You can't get much better than that.

Wario and Mario are two very different people. Mario is in it for everyone. He's always saving the Princess or fixing drain clogs. Wario is in it for himself. He's always trying to get more and more treasure. Not that that's a bad thing, because come on, he's Wario. Besides, that's where half the fun in the Wario Land games is. You go through it once to beat all the levels, but then you go back to find all the treasure. The replay value for these games is actually quite high.

In any case, the next Wario Land game came just a year later, and it launched with the Virtual Boy. Many consider it to be the VB's greatest game. I'm not sure I agree, but it's certainly in the top 14. Either way, the game is a lot of fun. It took the same great Wario Land platforming action, and added 3-D elements, such as being able to jump from background to foreground.

Then, in 1998, the game went back to it's Game Boy roots with the cleverly titled Wario Land II. This one added a new twist by making Wario invincible. Now you may be saying, "That's stupid! What's the point of a platformer if you can't die?!" First of all, there are lots of platformers where you can't die.** Secondly, the game was not made any easier by lack of death. For example, there are levels where you must climb around on nets. These nets are ridden with pointy bugs that will knock you off if you touch them. Basically, you're going to be going across those nets more than a few times. Trust me, the invincibility is for the best.

Wario Land II was also interesting in that there were multiple endings in the game, depending on which treasures you found. This gave the game even more replay value than before, letting you go back and find all the treasures, and in turn, all the endings.

But, like many TV shows and game franchises, Wario didn't hit his stride until his 4th installment. That's right, Wario Land 3. Released in 2000, it was everything Wario Land needed to be, plus more. It gave you everything from the previous games, plus a freakin' sweet golf mini-game and some of the coolest music since Mario Bros. 2.

Each level in Wario Land 3 has 4 treasures to collect. But you can't get them all in one shot. Certain conditions need to take place first. For example, one of the treasures in a level might be a light, which turns on the lighthouse, which lets you go to the level near the ocean. So some levels need to be completed before others can be played.

The level designs in WL3 are fantastic. Plus, the powers you can get accomodate a lot of strategy. Some levels have thin floors, which you can only pass through if you are a zombie. To recover from being a zombie, you need to get into the sunlight. Some areas can only be accessed by breaking through the floor, which can only be done by eating a donut and gaining a disgusting amount of weight. Don't worry. Wario has a lightning fast metabolism, letting him simply walk the fat off. These elements make for a great game all around.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think all the Wario Land games are fun. But it is clear that some are better than others. The GameCube Wario World was a fantastic piece of fun, whereas the DS Wario: Master of Disguise was good but not great. Either way, Wario Land 3 sits cleanly atop the pedestal of Wario branded adventures. Therefore, Blatant Bias proudly bestows its highest honor to Wario Land 3 for the Game Boy Color. Congraturations!

Agree? Unagree? Let us know in the comments!


* Yeah, right.
** But I can't think of any.

Still Waiting For: Looney Tunes B-Ball (SNES)


Rachel said...

Yay! Another Guff Guff! I was wondering which franchise would be next to be honored with your GFGF award :) I think it's great you are able to remember these games so vividly. I really like reading about them. I hope you have a great day, Sweetie! I can't wait to see you. I wuv yoo!! ~hugs and kisses~

Devin said...

Ya know, I never really got into the WarioLand series, but I always have enjoyed the idea of it. That, and I think Wario is hilarious. So as far as which is the best, I'm gonna have to take your word for it.