Wagan Land

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Wagan Land
Cover artwork of Wagan Land.
Cover artwork of the Family Computer version of Wagan Land, the first version of the first game in the series.
Genres Platform
Developers Namco, Now Production
Publishers Namco

Wagan Land (ワギャンランド Wagyanrando?) is a platform game series released produced by Namco (now Namco Bandai Games) that has been sold exclusively in Japan. The seven initial games in the series were released for the Family Computer, Game Gear, and Super Famicom from 1989 throughout 1994. Some of the games were re-released in later years for mobile phones and on the Wii Virtual Console. An eighth installment for the Nintendo DS was released in 2009.

The series stars Wagan, a mysterious creature resembling a green mechanical dinosaur who must protect his homeland of Wagan Land from the mad scientist Dr. Devil. The games features standard side-scrolling stages where the player must reach the goal, as well as boss encounter where the player must compete in a mini-game such as concentration and shiritori. The character of Wagan was previously introduced by Namco in a 1987 amusement game for the arcades.

List of games in the series[edit]

Title System Year
ワギャンランド (Wagan Land) Family Computer
Game Gear
1989
1991
ワギャンランド2 (Wagan Land 2) Family Computer 1990
スーパーワギャンランド (Super Wagan Land) Super Famicom 1991
ワギャンランド3 (Wagan Land 3) Family Computer 1992
スーパーワギャンランド2 (Super Wagan Land 2) Super Famicom 1993
ワギャンパラダイス (Wagan Paradise) Super Famicom 1994
メガ・ワギャンランド (Mega Wagan Land) V-Appli (Vアプリ?) 2005
ひらめきアクション ちびっこワギャンの大きな冒険

(Hirameki Action: Chibikko Wagan no Ōkina Bōken)

Nintendo DS 2009

Overview of the series[edit]

The player character, Wagan, has the ability to temporarily stun his enemies with sound waves shaped like the noises "Wah" (ワッ?) and "Gah" (ギャー Gyā?). Enemies cannot be destroyed with Wagan's sound waves, but the player can stand over one while it's stunned. When the player picks up a Waganizer (ワギャナイザー Wagyanaizā?), the sound effects shot by Wagan will become bigger with each increment, allowing the player to stun enemies for longer periods. When a four Waganizers are collected, Wagan will become invincible for a limited period, increasing his walking speed and allowing him to defeat enemies by touching them. However, Wagan will revert to his initial sound effect attack once the invincibility effect wears off. Moreover, in most of the games the player will have access to exclusive power-ups for the final stage, such as a "Super Waganizer" that actually destroys enemies, a Wagacopter that allows Wagan to fly, and an amulet that allows the player to cancel one of the final matches with Dr. Devil, among other items.

There is no energy gauge in any of the games and if the player touches an enemy or falls into a trap, then they'll lose a single life. However, since Wagan's jumping ability is height and the stage designs are not overly complex, the games in the series are not very difficult. The series was popular with not only young males players, who were main demographic, but also female players as well.

The series was never released internationally due to the difficulty of localizing the shiritori mini-game to non-Japanese players, which involves chaining Japanese words. Despite being a mini-game, the shiritori matches are an integral part of the series' gameplay and were too important to simply remove.

Overview of each game[edit]

Wagan Land[edit]

The first installment of the series. It was originally released for the Family Computer on February 9, 1989, and then ported to the Game Gear on July 26, 1991. The Famicom version was re-released on the Virtual Console on September 2008 for the Wii and on May 7, 2014 for the Wii U.

The objective of the game is to reach the end of each action scene by making the best use of Wagan's sound wave attacks and jumping ability. The player must confront a boss at the end of certain stages, but instead of actually fighting the boss in battle, the player is challenged to a mini-game where they must score more points than their opponent. The graphics in this installment featured simple backgrounds with bright colors. The boss theme that was later used in Wagan Land 2 and Super Wagan Land was first used in this installment for the shiritori and concentration mini-games.

The Game Gear version of the Wagan Land is different from the Famicom version and the plot involves Wagan Land being attacked by Dr. Devil once again. In order to avoid the afterimage effect that was caused by playing action games on an LCD game at the time of the game's release, some of the stages were redesigned and others were replaced. New power-up items for the action scenes were also added that were previously introduced in Wagan Land 2 (which was released prior to the Game Gear version), as well as an hourglass that stops time during the mini-game segments. The Game Gear version lacks the ability of allowing the player to slowly descend into the ground by pressing the jump button while in mid-air, a features that has been included in the other games of the series.

Wagan Land 2[edit]

The second installment of the series, released for the Family Computer on December 14, 1990. The sequel adds new features such as power-up items for the action scenes and special stages set on lakes and clouds. New mini-games includes "number searching", "noise breakdown", and a panel-based rock-paper-scissors. With the exception of the number searching game, none of the new mini-games introduced in this installment were brought back in the succeeding games. The story takes place several years after the other Wagan Land games (but before Wagan Paradise), in which the player takes control of Wagan II, the son of the original Wagan. The final battle theme in this game would later be used as the final battle theme in Super Wagan Land. The boss introduction theme would be used in Super Wagan Land as well. The boss battle theme was used in Super Wagan Land, as well as in the later DS sequel.

Like in the original game, some stages will have two different exits at the end, allowing the player to slightly alter their course. This was the last game in the series to retain this feature.

Super Wagan Land[edit]

The first installment for the Super Famicom, originally released on December 13, 1991, and later released for the Wii Virtual Console on June 2009. This game was also remade for the i-Appli, S!-Appli, and EZ Appli mobile phone services in 2005. Due to the change of hardware, many improvements were made such as 3D-like visuals that made use of gradiation and stereo sounds and voices. A "mosaic guessing" mini-game has also been added as well where the player must guess the identity of an object covered by mosaic.

Because of its inclusion of various stages and boss battles from the first two Famicom installments, as well as in the inclusion background music, this installment is more of a compilation of the previous installments than a new game by itself. This was the first installment to include a password feature, as well as adjustable difficulty settings, which became standard features for the succeeding installments.

The warp zones and alternate routes from the first two Famicom games were removed in this installments, although some of the stages differ greatly between difficulty settings. Moreover, the shiritori mini-game now has a new rule which causes one to lose by default when the opponent chooses a word than ends with the Japanese consonant "n".

Wagan Land 3[edit]

Wagan Land 3 is the third and final installment of the series for the Family Computer, released on December 8, 1992. The game's setting is changed from Wagan Land, the location in preceding installments, to a space city where the "Hisopiso family", a distant relative of the Wagan family, lives. Because of the change of setting to space, Wagan's jumping ability is increased and there are stages where the player can walk upside down under the ceiling. This installment also introduces a 2-player versus mode where the player can control any of the boss characters. The ending of this game serves as a cliffhanger to the next installment, Super Wagan Land 2.

Super Wagan Land 2[edit]

The second installment of the series for the Super Famicom, released on March 25, 1993. The story continues from where Wagan Land 3 left off. This installment introduced various elements, such as the inclusion of special equipment and the ability to revisit previously completed stages. In addition to the gravity stages introduced in Wagan Land 3, this installment introduces a variety of other stages such as flying stages where Wagan must fly through the sky using a rocket booster while avoiding enemies, underwater stages where Wagan must proceed by equipping an undersea rotor, and stages where the player must control a tiny character. The new mini-games introduced in this installment includes a Latin alphabet guessing game and a faster version of the shiritori game. This installment is the only game where Dr. Devil becomes an ally of the player. The game features a standard route that the player takes, as well as an alternate hidden route, making this installment a bit closer to the first two Famicom installments. The player must complete both routes in order to see the real ending.

Wagan Paradise[edit]

The third and final installment for the Super Famicom, released on December 16, 1994. The story several years after the events of Wagan Land 2. The main characters this time are a pair of siblings named Takuto (a male Wagan) and Karin (a female Wagan), who must against the Nummers clan, who are citizens from an underground civilization. Story sequences are now added between stages which shows the two siblings investigating a series of strange events on Wagan Land. In contrast to the first two Super Famicom games, the game's graphics is composed of characters with black outlines on pastel-colored background that employed light hues. The designs of Takuto and Karin are also rounder compared to the previous incarnations of the Wagan character. The mini-games are all completely new and now resemble IQ testing puzzles which the player must solve under the allotted time.

On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the game a 30 out of 40.[1]

Mega Wagan Land[edit]

A Wagan Land mobile phone game released exclusively for S! Appli mobile phones in 2005. However, this is not an actual new game, but an expanded edition of the S! Appli version of Super Wagan Land, featuring the same world map and some of the same areas, as well as the same three mini-games (shiritori, number guessing, and noise breakdown). Unlike the S! Appli port of Super Wagan Land, which only had Dr. Devil as a boss, this version also has other boss characters as well. While the graphics are similar to the Super Famicom version of Super Wagan Land, the cards were changed for the shiritori game, which depict new items such as a mobile phone (keitai) and a printer (purintā). Other new minor elements were also added such as new bosses.

Hirameki Action: Chibikko Wagan no Ōkina Bōken[edit]

The first completely new installment of the series since Wagan Paradise, Hirameki Action: Chibikko Wagan no Ōkina Bōken ("Flashing Action: The Big Adventure of Little Wagan") was released for the Nintendo DS on January 29, 2009. The action segments are not much different from previous installments, but the game now includes puzzles which utilizes the DS's touch screen. The game's soundtrack consists of new versions of the previous games' music. Wagan and Dr. Devil are featured in this game, along with several new characters.

On release, Famitsu magazine scored the game a 30 out of 40.[2]

Characters[edit]

Most of the characters in Wagan Land 2 (with the exception of Wagan II, Big Proto Wagan, and the Tree of Smiles), along with Wagan's wife, have no official names, so they will be referred by a descriptive names for the sake of convenience. Moreover, the Tree of Smiles in Wagan Land 2 is a different character from the Tree of Smiles that appears in the other games of the series.

The series' chronology goes as followed: Wagan Land, Super Wagan Land, Wagan Land 3, Super Wagan Land 2, Wagan Land 2, and Wagan Paradise.

Main series[edit]

Wagan
The protagonist of every game in the series with the exception of Wagan Land 2 and Wagan Paradise. Due to his lack of dialogue, very little can be ascertained about his personality. He challenges his sworn enemy Dr. Devil numerous time in order to protect Wagan Land. Has a wife and son. In the Versus Mode of Wagan Land 3 and Super Wagan Land 2, he assumes the role of a game show host. In the Nintendo DS game, Wagan is worshiped as the Guardian Deity of Shirusube by villagers.
Wagan II
The son of Wagan, who first appears in Wagan Land 2 as the game's protagonist. He appears as an infant in Super Wagan Land, where he is captured by Dr. Devil. His grown-up form in Wagan Land 2 is almost identical to his father's. While his body is colored green when controlled by Player 1, it becomes blue when controlled by Player 2. His abilities are almost the same as his father's, with the only difference being that he cannot shoot sound waves while he's invincible. His horn and crest also changes while invincible. He is equipped with the Wagancopter from the get-go, but because its batteries has ran out, it cannot be used until a new battery is obtained during the final stage.
Mrs. Wagan
The wife of Wagan, she first appears in Super Wagan Land. She resembles her husband, only pink. She is a brave lady who is more concerned about her husband and child over herself. Originally she didn't have a horn on her nose in Super Wagan Land and Wagan Land 3, but she gained one in Super Wagan Land 2.
Wagan's older brother
Appears in Wagan Land and Super Wagan Land. In the original Wagan Land, he challenges Dr. Devil to rescue his friends and save the island, but he ends up losing his life in the process. His deceased spirit helps out his younger brother by providing him with the Wagancopter. He returns in Super Wagan Land to provide his brother a power-up at the beginning of the final stage (except on the "Kamisama" difficulty setting). He looks exactly like Wagan, but with a blue body.
The Elder of the Island
Appears in the original Wagan Land and Super Wagan Land. Has an orange body like Wagan's, but with white eyebrows and a beard. In the original Wagan Land, he manages to escape from Dr. Devil's clutches and then awaits in front of the Wagan statue in order to entrust the player with the Super Waganizer.
Wounded Soldier
Appears in the original Wagan Land. A soldier who barely manages to escape from Dr. Devil's clutches. He gives the Time Stopper to the player before dying from his wounds
Dr. Devil
He appears in every of the main Wagan Land games except in Wagan Land 2 (where he is only mentioned). He is the final boss in Wagan Land, Super Wagan Land, and Wagan Land 3. He is a mad scientist from the Devil Kingdom seeking to conquer the world. He tries to take over Wagan Land in the original, but fails and becomes Wagan's arch-nemesis in the sequels. Although he was responsible for the death of Wagan's brother and has tried to take over Wagan Land several times, he is pretty honorable for a villain, and is willing to accept defeat and leave the island when he loses. In Super Wagan Land 2 he becomes an ally of Wagan in order to prevent the Space Monster Gargon from conquering Wagan Land, helping Wagan by providing and developing new items, as well as deciphering the ancient texts of the Hisopiso culture. In the Nintendo DS game, he opposes Wagan alongside the Shirusube Genies. In this game, Dr. Devil is established as a selfish character who wants to use the Shirusube in order obtain all of mankind's knowledge for his research and will do anything for his research. His design is completely different from previous installments and now wears a device on his head.
The Tree of Smiles
Appears in Wagan Land, Super Wagan Land, and Super Wagan Land 2. He is the symbol of Wagan Land and in the original Wagan Land, a waterfall flows from his mouth, serving as the land's source for water and greenery. In the original game, he becomes the "Tree of the Devil" after he is possessed by Dr. Devil, turning his face into a violent expression. In Super Wagan Land and Super Wagan Land 2, he makes a perpetual sad face as a result of the never-ending hardships that he endures. In Wagan Land 2, he has withered as a result of old age, but he plants a new seed, which immediately grows into a large tree and becomes the new Tree of Smiles. He also appears in the opening scene of Wagan Paradise, as well as during the last stage.
Hisopiso
The leader of the Hisopiso Clan, which are distant relatives of the Wagan Clan. In Wagan Land 3, he comes to Wagan Island to seek Wagan's help after his home planet was taken over by an invader. While the Hisopiso family lack the capability to fight, they make up for it by communicating telepathically. Every time Wagan rescues a member of the Hisopiso clan, he will get a password for the next stage. They appear again in Super Wagan Land 2 to help Wagan defeat the Space Monster Gargon.
Space Monster Gargon
The main antagonist of Super Wagan Land 2. He is a bird-like creature with four heads. He is said to be unbeatable, so he was instead put to sleep through some kind of specialized grass. However, he somehow awakens from his slumber and decides to invade Wagan Island, taking over the Tree of Smiles. In order to defeat him, Wagan must collect four pieces of sleep grass, one for each head. If the player tries to confront Gargon before collecting all four pieces of grass, they will be stopped by Hisopiso. Beating Gargon without the grasses will result in a bad ending. The individual heads are named "Goo" (blue head), "Bee" (green), "Sue" (yellow), and "Gar" (red).
The Genies of Shirusube
They appear in the Nintendo DS game. They are physical manifestation of the powers of Shirusube's wisdom and faithfully serve anyone who bears the treasure of Shirusube. During the events of the game, Dr. Devil gets a hold of the Shirusube, so the Genies end up becoming servants of Dr. Devil that are sent out to confront Wagan. Since physical attacks won't work on them, Wagan must instead try outsmart by challenging their wisdom. There are four types of genies, each specializing in a different mini-game.
Naha and Rotta
A young brother-sister pair who appear in the Nintendo DS game, they help out Wagan in his quest to restore the collective wisdom of the villagers.

Wagan Land II characters[edit]

The Gatekeeper of the Island
The first character Wagan II meets at the beginning of the game. He warns Wagan II about the path he has to take to reach the Tree of Smiles.
The Collapsed Proto Wagan
First encountered during the Desert Stage. Although he faces Wagan II as an enemy at first, he later helps him by giving an Egg Helmet.
The Child of Nessie
A young Loch Ness Monster who offers Wagan II a reward for helping his father defeat evil shark from a neighboring island. His own father serves as the setting of a stage in the game due to his giant size.
The Frozen Dragon
A dragon who was frozen by the snow fairy. He rewards Wagan II by taking him to the neighboring island after melting off the ice surrounding him with the sound wave cannon.
Owl
An elderly owl with an extensive knowledge of the island's history. He feels a sense of nostalgia when he meets Wagan II and provides him the Super Waganizer.
The Old Adventurer Proto Wagan
An elderly Wagan who tries to reach the Tree of Smiles, but becomes tired due to advanced age. He gives Wagan II the Time Stopper before retiring from his journey.
The Elder of the Proto Wagan Village
The elder of a village located near the Tree of Smiles, he does Wagan II a favor by giving him a new battery for his Wagancopter. He resembles the old adventurer.
The Big Proto Wagan
The final guardian of the island. He's a huge blue Proto Wagan combined from three Proto Wagans (blue, pink, and yellow). He once attempted to defeat Dr. Devil in the past.
The Tree of Smiles
The symbol of hope in Wagan Island. Wagan II must pass a series of trials in order to meet him. In the end of the game, the Tree reveals to Wagan that he is withering due to his old age, but gives a seed to Wagan II, which becomes the new Tree of Smiles.

Wagan Paradise characters[edit]

Takuto
One of the two protagonists in Wagan Paradise. A green male Wagan. His walking speed is fast, however he cannot sustain a jump for a long period, and thus has difficult making it through long gaps.
Karin
The other protagonist. A yellow female Wagan, she is Takuto's younger sister. While her walking speed is not as fast as her brothers, she can jump longer distances. The sound effects she makes for her attacks are different from Takuto and previous Wagan protagonists.
Rati
A traveling bird, he aids Takuto and Karin in investigating the appearance of strange cloud and the Nummmers's involvement in the situation.
Kumukumu
A young child Nummer, his parents were arrested by the Great King due to their opposition to the Great King's plot.
Numolf
The Commander-in-Chief of the Nummers' Army, he appears twice durin the game.
Numacon
A soldier under Numolf's orders.
Nummestein
A scientist working for the Nummers' Army, he appears three times during the course of the game, each time with more cybernetic parts implanted into his body.
Great King Nummer
The ruler of the underground Nummer clan and the antagonist of Wagan Paradise. His clan originally ruled over the Wagan clans as pets and when he sees that the current Wagans are enjoying the surface life, he devises a plot to take back the surface world.

List of mini-games[edit]

In the Wagan Land series, when the player confronts a boss, they will be challenged to some sort of the mini-game in which the player must accumulate a set number of points in order to proceed to the next stage. The mini-games in Wagan Paradise are completely different from ones in the other games in the series, while Chibikko Wagan no Ōkina Bōken for the Nintendo DS has most of the mini-games from the earlier games, as well as new ones.

Mini-games in Wagan Land[edit]

  • Shiritori (Japanese word-chain)
  • Concentration
  • Number Search
  • Mosaic Guessing
  • Noise Concentration
  • Panel-based Rock-Paper-Scissors
  • Quick-pressure Shiritori
  • Letter Guessing

Mini-games in Wagan Paradise[edit]

  • Combining Puzzle
  • Panel Search
  • Word Puzzle
  • Math Quiz
  • Doremi Quiz
  • Rotating Quiz
  • Spin Quiz
  • Match the Picture

Mini-games in Chibikko Wagan no Ōkina Bōken[edit]

  • Connecting Shiritori
  • Spot the Difference
  • Spot the Missing Friend
  • Where? Where? Guessing
  • Ohajiki Puzzle
  • Speed Rock-Paper-Scissors
  • Anagram
  • Xs and Os Quiz
  • Substitution Memorization

References[edit]

  1. ^ おオススメ!! ソフト カタログ!!: ワギャンパラダイス. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.335. Pg.116. 12–19 May 1995.
  2. ^ New Game Cross Review - ひらめきアクション ちびっこワギャンの大きな冒険. Weekly Famitsu Hong Kong. Vol.68. Pg.22. 6 February 2009.

External links[edit]