Wario Land 4
|Wario Land 4|
European box art
|Release date(s)||Game Boy Advance
Wario Land 4, originally released in Japan as Wario Land Advance (ワリオランドアドバンス), is a 2001 platformer video game developed by Nintendo and released for their Game Boy Advance. In this game, Wario has to gather four treasures to unlock a pyramid and save Princess Shokora from The Golden Diva. It features 2-D graphics with linear transformations (similar to Yoshi's Island).
Wario is reading the newspaper when he notices an article about a mysterious pyramid found deep in the jungle. The legend related to the pyramid is that of Princess Shokora, ruler of the pyramid, who was cursed by the money-crazed Golden Diva.
Without wasting time, Wario jumps into his Wario Car and speeds toward the pyramid. As he enters it, he finds a black cat and chases it. Doing so, he falls down a precipice and is stuck inside the pyramid.
After fighting his way through the entry passage and an early boss battle against Spoiled Rotten, Wario discovers four new passages. After completing these passages, Wario gains access to the innermost part of the pyramid, which ends up being the stronghold of Golden Diva. Wario meets the cat again, who turns out to be Princess Shokora.
Wario defeats Golden Diva and exits the pyramid with all his treasure. What form Shokora returns to depends on the number of treasure chests Wario had acquired from the other bosses prior as well as how quickly the Golden Diva is defeated (this can range from a brattish child, a female version of Wario, a Peach-like princess and ultimately, a superheroine-like princess). Shokora gives Wario a kiss on the cheek and ascends to the afterlife.
The gameplay of Wario Land 4 (which is generally similar to that of Wario Lands 2 and 3) allows for some open-endedness as well as some order of difficulty. After an Entry Passage that serves as a tutorial for the game, there are four main passages: the Emerald, Topaz, Ruby, and Sapphire Passages, in order of difficulty. The Emerald Passage is themed around nature. The Topaz Passage is themed around toys, games, and other "playtime" ideas. The Ruby Passage is themed around mechanics and technology. The Sapphire Passage is themed around horror and danger, prominently involving ghosts and the like. After these four main passages is the "Final" Golden Passage, which serves as a recap of these four themes and also houses the final boss.
Wario's objective in each of the 18 levels is to find the room's treasures and escape the level with them. The room's treasures include:
- Four gem pieces, which unlock the door to the boss (all gem pieces in all four levels must be collected)
- A Keyzer, which allows access to the next level
- A music CD, which unlocks bonus music in the Music room (not found in the Entry or Golden passages)
- Many coins and gems
Wario enters each level through a portal, which promptly closes behind him. He then has unlimited time to explore the level and collect treasure. However, in order to open the portal again and escape with the treasure, Wario must locate and press the Frog Switch. This will open the portal but also start a timer, giving Wario a limited time to get back to the portal - if Wario runs out of time, he begins to lose coins, and will get kicked out of the level with no treasures if he runs out. The levels contain many variations of the switch theme: some require Wario to retrace his steps completely while some might require that he explore totally new areas. Some switches change the level drastically - for instance, the volcano-themed level, "Fiery Cavern", freezes over when the switch is pressed. The Golden Passage has the most extreme variation on this theme: the Frog Switch is stationed right below the portal, forcing Wario to press it as he enters and thus only have limited time to explore the level and collect is treasures.
Unlike Wario Land 2 and Wario Land 3, Wario is not indestructible, but has a limited number of hearts, which are depleted as he is damaged by enemies. If Wario loses his last heart, he is kicked out of the level, losing all treasures that he had gained in that attempt through the level. Wario starts each level with four hearts, but can expand this to a maximum of 9 by collecting hearts found in levels as well as hearts dropped by enemies. However, attacks launched by enemies that give Wario alternate abilities do not deplete his hearts.
At the end of each passage, Wario encounters a boss room, which requires all of the gems to be completed in order to enter. In the boss room, Wario must destroy a boss stationed there within a set time limit and eight hearts (which Wario has no opportunity to replenish). By defeating the boss, Wario clears the passage - defeating the Entry Passage boss unlocks the four main passages, defeating those bosses unlocks the Golden Passage, and defeating the Golden Passage boss wins the game. Treasure chests can also be won from bosses dependent on how long Wario took to defeat them (if Wario takes too long to defeat a boss but still manages to do so before time runs out, some treasure may be withheld).
Between the four levels and the boss room is a minigame room, in which Wario may spend his coins to play one of three minigames and win medals. These medals can then be used in a shop before the boss room to buy items, which deal damage to the boss before the battle and thus reduce the amount of time needed to beat it.
When a new save file is created, a player may select one of two difficulty levels: Normal, and Hard. Both difficulty levels have identical stage layouts, but Hard mode places the gem pieces in harder-to-reach locations (often requiring more effective use of Wario's special abilities) and also grants less time for escaping levels and boss sequences. A Super Hard mode can also be unlocked, which reduces allowed escape time further and also reduces the number of hearts you are offered for defeating bosses.
The game received generally positive reviews. IGN gave Wario Land a 9 out of 10, or "Outstanding", citing its well thought out level design and replayability, though the game does not significantly push the performance power of the Game Boy Advance. GamePro stated "Boasting fantastic graphics and awesome transparency effects for water and fog, Wario Land 4 pushes the GBA to its visual limits". GameSpot commented "The gameplay is tight and varied, the graphics are detailed and bright, and the sound is second to none". GameSpy called the game: "An incredibly entertaining, diverse, and humorous addition to the Mario/Wario legacy. It's challenging and creative, but not as outright frustrating as 'Wario Land 3.'" Game Informer noted "It's nothing new to the Wario Land enthusiast, but it's enjoyable nonetheless". Nintendo Power stated "It's polished variety paired with a mishmash of moves, which makes Wario Land 4 fun through and through".
Another Nintendo game, Metroid Fusion, is potentially built on a modified version of the engine used in Wario Land 4. This was discovered by ROM hackers, when they found unused tiles and maps from Wario Land 4 hidden in game files in Metroid Fusion. Specifically, the debug room is of the same layout as that in Wario Land 4, albeit with Fusion's changed textures. In addition, crystals from Wario Land 4 (used as currency in that game) are found in an unused texture file in Fusion despite not appearing anywhere in game.
- "Wario Land 4 (3DS Virtual Console / Game Boy Advance)". NintendoLife. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Material further titles the game Wario Land Advance: Yooki no Otakara (ワリオランドアドバンス ヨーキのお宝); this subtitle is not mentioned in the game.
- Anoop Gantayat (14 December 2011). "Game Boy Advance 3DS Ambassador Program Begins on Friday". Andriasang.
- ゲームボーイアドバンス - ワリオランドアドバンス ~ヨーキのお宝~. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.115. 30 June 2006.
- Harris, Craig (November 20, 2004). "Wario Land 4 Review". ign.com. Retrieved 2006-06-05.
- Laurie Blake (December 28, 2011). "A treasure". NintendoLife.
- Wario Land 4 Official European Site
- Wario Land 4 at GameSpot
- Wario Land 4 at Gamestats
- Wario Land 4 at IGN
- Information on Wario Land 4 novel by Craig Wessel at Damiens Gamebook Web Page