Time for the sequel to the game that started a franchise. Is this game worth its salt, or should Nintendo have stopped with the rad-to-the-max first game? Read on to find out what I think.
Fun fact: Twilight Princess wasn't the first game to get a simultaneous release on both a new system and an on-the-way-out system. I'm playing the Game Boy Color version of this game, but there was also a regular Game Boy version. This was, in fact, the last Game Boy game ever made. Crazy, eh? Now that was a system with a long lifespan: 1988 to 1998.
We start with Wario's castle being broken into by some shady goombas. This is, of course, operating under the assumption that you got a decent ending in the previous game and actually obtained a castle. If this were like Mass Effect and carried saves over from the previous game, right now we'd be looking at hooligans breaking into Wario's birdhouse. Actually, they probably wouldn't have even bothered.
The first level has a bizarre premise: You have to shut off Wario's alarm clock. I understand that you can get to the first of the four secret worlds if you flat-out ignore the alarm clock and don't press any buttons at the beginning of the stage (so he keeps sleeping). That's inventive.
Wario's signature shoulder tackle is back. Unfortunately, the hats aren't back. The hats were debatably the best thing about the first Wario Land, so why they didn't return for this one is beyond me. Also, for some reason, Wario is now immortal.
Indeed... you can't die in this game. It's some of the weirdest design I've ever seen. The point seems to be to collect coins and treasures, much like the previous game.
Since you can't die, the only way the game can slow your progress at all is to have things like this: currents that sweep you back to the beginning of a hallway if you miss a jump. Which, come to think of it, is a lot like getting killed in a normal game, at least in terms of overall effect. The enemies in this game are still zero threat for the most part, though. It might as well not even have enemies in it.
Wario finds a giant faucet that he has to shut off, as the battle for Middle Earth continues. What is with this game? There's basically no sense of danger, threat, or intensity. Wario has few powers compared to the previous game. In short... color or not, it's booooring.
What's this? Sounds like a boss fight! Does this mean there may finally be a challenge in this game?
The first boss is a Mega Man 3 refugee. If he succeeds in biting Wario, our antihero gets stunned and bounced back to the previous screen, meaning you have to start the fight over.
That isn't enough to make this any more than a speed bump, since it only takes a couple of stomps to win the fight.
Just want to note that the Pause screen in this game sports quite a bit of 'tude.
Wario becomes Drunkio at one point. This game may lack powerup hats, but it DOES have a few semi-useless temporary transformations that you need to get through different areas. For instance, Drunkio can belch, which is needed here. ...alright, it's kinda cool.
THIS is Wario Land 2 intensity, as Wario has a showdown with a seagull.
The game has a slow start in Wario's Castle, but once it moves on to this warship, things pick up quite a bit.
The second boss. This looks like a really low-rent Game Boy reproduction of Metroid 1 Ridley.
JESUS CHRIST! RUN, WARIO!
Here we see the mysterious leader of the pirates from the first game, Captain Syrup. She is...syrupy.
Yeah, pretty safe to say it's a she now that we have enhanced graphics.
Yeah, pretty safe to say it's a she now that we have enhanced graphics.
He may not have a jet hat any more, but Wario has an owl buddy? he can glide around on. Not sure how keen the owl is on any of this. The characters in this game have TONS of personality, which may be the strong point of the game. The strong point certainly isn't the repetitive gameplay or nearly unnoticeable music.
There's also a turtle that Wario can use as a surfboard. Moments after this picture was taken, representatives of PETA blasted him with red paint.
Mini-boss fight! This is just plain weird. This guy has no way to send you backwards in time, so Wario's invincibility makes this fight easier than World of Warcraft.
Here's what I consider the hardest boss in the game, a nefarious wasp who bears a striking resemblance to the old pedophile from Family Guy.
Wario quickly dispatches this goon, regardless. How is this "the hardest boss in the game" when you can't die, you ask? If the boss, or the smaller wasps he summons, land a hit on Wario, he gets stunned and bounced back several screens. I.e. the fight starts over. It's hard to avoid any of them.
The pirates are dwindling in number as Wario chases them from the woods to the big city. What kind of world is this?
Wario takes the train into the city. Not one to ride on the inside, he walks on top of it like the predator in Predator 2.
After arriving at the big city, the player gets to climb lots and lots of really annoying fire escapes.
Wario reaches the top of this bland, anemic city, as the game limps onward.
The boss of this area... is a basketball playing rabbit. The game has officially jumped the shark. Actually, the game just stacked five sharks on top of each other and jumped all of them.
You win by tackling the rabbit, which turns him into a ball, then throwing him into the hoop three times. This had potential to be the most fun fight in the game, but it posed zero challenge and was over in seconds.
At last, Wario has arrived at the newly-rebuilt Syrup Castle, which looks like a giant skull. No relation to Dr. Wily's Skull Castle, and none of the coolness.
Captain Syrup orders the troops to stop Wario. How? Wario is invincible. The bad guys have no chance of winning.
GET TO THE CHOPPA!
No choppa? An owl will do. Man, that owl is so mad.
The final level is a maze of sorts with lots of destructable walls. It's more tedious than anything else.
Finally, Captain Syrup. As if the Skull Castle wasn't bad enough, she flies around in a Dr. Wily-esque ship. I said the wasp was the hardest fight in the game, but this fight may well be tougher. They're very different fights, and each one requires a different strategy to win.
THIS! IS! SPARTA!
Battle over, I win. My coin total is probably extremely low... I didn't do any of the side levels or go out of my way to get treasure. I just did the main story.
Syrup Castle explodes yet again. I wonder if these guys will return for Wario Land 3?
Wario makes off with all of their treasure (which was originally his...though he DID steal it to begin with)
50% is actually higher than I would have guessed for my completion rate.
It might sound like I really despised this game, but I didn't. There are worse ways to spend two hours, which is, at the most, what it took to get through. It can't hold a candle to the first Wario Land, though. No hats, no particularly cool powers, and the whole "impossible to die" thing all detract quite a bit from the experience. With nothing to lose, it's hard to care. The environments/stages are incredibly bland, too, and there isn't one audio track in the game that I can even remember after playing it. So what's good about the game? It has a lot of personality, to say the least. Here's hoping Wario Land 3 retains that personality and transplants it into a good game.