Virtual Boy Wario Land
|Virtual Boy Wario Land|
Virtual Boy Wario Land (バーチャルボーイワリオランド アワゾンの秘宝 Bācharu Bōi Wario Rando: Awazon no Hihō?, "Virtual Boy Wario Land: Secret Treasure of the Awazon"), was released by Nintendo for its ill-fated Virtual Boy system in 1995. It stars Wario in a platforming adventure quite similar to most of his other starring roles.
The story begins when he wakes up from a nap in the jungle and sees a group of masked monsters. He tracks them to a cave behind a waterfall and discovers a huge treasure. When Wario attempts to take the treasure, a trap is sprung, and he plummets into a huge underground labyrinth. It's up to the player to help Wario escape, while grabbing as much treasure as he can get his hands on.
Virtual Boy Wario Land is generally considered as one of the better games for the Virtual Boy, if not the best. The game was originally meant to have the name Wario Cruise, and the name appeared on the Virtual Boy system's box and in Nintendo Power magazine. The name was changed very shortly before its release. The game's quality has been noted by critics, and it is regarded as possibly the only title of the system which is rated as high in substance.
Virtual Boy Wario Land for the Virtual Boy is very similar to Wario's other platforming roles. As in the original Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario can collect different hats to give himself new abilities. The Dragon Hat allows Wario to use a flamethrower against his enemies, but must recharge (he also cannot barge). The Bull Helmet makes his barge attack faster and a lot more powerful along with the ability to do a ground pound, which can be used to crush his enemies and break blocks below. The Eagle Hat allows Wario to fly as well as barge while in mid-air. By combining the Eagle Hat with the Dragon Hat, Wario earns the King Dragon Hat with the powers of all three caps (except barging). In each stage, Wario must collect treasure and find a key to unlock the elevator to the next stage. Also, as in other Wario games, the player has an opportunity to find different treasures hidden around the stages to increase his or her overall score. There are also a few mini-games located between stages, in which Wario can gamble with the loot he has collected so far.
The game tried to incorporate the technology of the Virtual Boy. For example, many stages have more areas located in their backgrounds. With the help of special blocks located in certain places, players can send Wario to these places, which looks unusual given the Virtual Boy's ability to display objects and areas in three dimensions. These visual tricks lend great depth and detail to the game and are repeated more than a few times in situations such as boss fights, where an attack may reach towards the front of the screen, appearing to stop just inches before the player's eyes.
Upon release, the game received mostly favorable reviews, Nintendo Power listed Virtual Boy Wario Land as the best Virtual Boy video game ever. The editorial staff praised it for having the same great gameplay that the Wario Land series is known for as well as its entertaining 3D effects. ScrewAttack and Gametrailers consider Virtual Boy Wario Land as the only good game on the Virtual Boy. The News Tribune named it the best game released for the system. The Daily Gazette 's Seth Nevins felt that the 3D effects were not enjoyable, calling the graphics "pitiful." ABC Good Game called it the best of the platform's, commenting that while it lacked good use of the system's features, it had lasting fun. Rocky Mountain News 's Joel Easley praised it for its 3D visuals and the quality of the gameplay, adding that the visuals demonstrate the Virtual Boy's possibilities. The Los Angeles Times ' Aaron Curtiss called it a "hoot to play", praising its graphics as "dazzling". The Associated Press commented that Wario did something that Mario couldn't do - "create a reason to buy the Virtual Boy." They praised its characters as hilarious and its setting for retaining the charm of the Mario series. Wired's Chris Kohler noted that the Virtual Boy didn't have a killer app to demonstrate the 3D. He said that while Wario Land was the best Virtual Boy game, calling it addictive and lengthy, it made little use of the 3D. Home News Tribune Victor Janas called it "simple and lots of fun".
CraveOnline's Will Greenwald criticized the video game selection of the Virtual Boy as poor, noting Wario Land as an example of the poor selection. Official Nintendo Magazine 's Chris Scullion stated that he loved it. He also called it a great platformer. Nintendo Life's Dave Frear praised its visual design and audio quality, calling it a "top-notch platformer" and a game that players will want to replay. Retronauts' Jeremy Parish praised it as the only genuinely great game for the platform, using it to show the quality of the Wario Land series. GamesRadar's Mikel Reparaz named it the best title for the Virtual Boy. IGN's Craig Harris cited this game for bringing the Wario Land series to fruition, picking it as a game that should be remade for the Nintendo 3DS. He and fellow IGN writer Levi Buchanan commented that it received some buzz back in the day. Buchanan noted that it was the closest thing to a Mario title on the Virtual Boy, though a "fine 2D adventure." IGN AU's Patrick Kolan called it the closest thing to a killer app on the Virtual Boy, as well as the pinnacle of gameplay on it. 1UP.com called it a great game. 1UP.com's Neal Ronaghan called it the gem of the console; he adds that while not the best of the series and didn't take much advantage of the 3D effects, it was still excellent. GamePro praised it for its sound effects and character sprite quality, calling it the best of the platform.
N64 Magazine commented that it was an example of Nintendo's excellence unlike other titles on the Virtual Boy, and that it should have sold the Virtual Boy "by the million." Nintendo Magazine System praised the use of 3D in the boss battles. They also noted it as the only big title released on the platform since the Virtual Boy's launch. Play Magazine 's Dave Halverson commented that he returned to play Virtual Boy Wario Land "at least" every month for the last few years as of May 2005, calling it "huge fun". He praised its background music as "funky", and said that the game never gets old. Retrogamer 's Damien McFarren included it in his "Perfect Five" section of his Virtual Boy article. He states that while it played like a traditional platformer, the 3D effects were used to make the gameplay unique. Tips & Tricks gave it a three and a six in terms of rarity, both out of 10. Total! compared its gameplay to Super Mario Bros. 2, adding that it was a strong game for the system. Their only complaint was low difficulty level.
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