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|Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3|
North American box art
|Release date(s)||Game Boy |
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (スーパーマリオランド3 ワリオランド Sūpā Mario Rando Surī: Wario Rando?, "Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land") is a platform game developed by Nintendo for the Game Boy in 1994. It is the first video game to feature Wario as both a playable character and the main character, as well as the first appearance of Captain Syrup and her Brown Sugar Pirates, recurring villains in the Wario Land series.
Despite being advertised as Super Mario Land 3, Wario Land gameplay proves completely different from that of the Mario titles. The game takes place on a linear route through several themed areas, which are split into several courses culminating in a boss fight. Wario is able to jump on or bump into enemies to knock them over, during which he can pick them up and throw them at other enemies. When in his grown form, Wario is also able to perform a shoulder charge, which is used to attack enemies, break through blocks and open hidden treasure chests.
There are additionally three unique helmets that Wario can obtain, with their own abilities, advantages and disadvantages to provide. The Bull Helmet increases Wario's strength and doubles the length of his shoulder charge attack, allowing him to smash through blocks more easily, gives Wario the ability to stick onto ceilings and in mid-air, perform a "butt stomp" into the ground which stuns nearby enemies and breaks through blocks underneath him. The Jet Helmet increases Wario's running speed and lets him fly long distances in the air, as well as to shoulder charge underwater. Finally, the Dragon Helmet lets Wario shoot long-ranged bursts of flames both on land and underwater, making it very useful for defeating enemies and destroying blocks quickly, but in return, replaces his shoulder charge until he takes damage or changes helmets. Players can also collect a Starman to gain temporary invincibility. If Wario takes damage from an opponent or obstacle, he will shrink, losing his shoulder charge move, and will remain small until he collects a clove of garlic, another helmet or reaches the end of the level. If Wario is hit while small, or is hit by an instant kill obstacle, such as pits or lava, he will lose a life and all the coins he had collected in that level.
Unlike the Mario series, in which coins are typically used to earn extra lives, coins in this game are instead used as currency, the goal being to try and collect as much treasure as possible by the end of the game. These can be earned by collecting them, finding them in blocks, or shoulder charging enemies. During gameplay, Wario can pull out a large coin, worth 10 coins, which he can throw, and pick up again if necessary. This can be used to attack opponents, open the exit at the end of each stage, or activate checkpoints where players can restart should they lose a life. Conversely, extra lives are earned by collecting heart points, which are earned by defeating enemies or collecting Hearts, with an extra life earned for every 100 points earned. At the end of each level, the player can choose to either gamble the amount of coins he or she has collected in the level in a game of chance, or spend them to try and earn heart points and extra lives. Also hidden in certain levels are keys which open secret treasure rooms containing treasure. The type of ending the player gets at the end of the game depends on how many coins the player has collected, as well as how many pieces of treasure the player has found.
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After being ejected from Mario's castle in the previous game, Wario resolves to get his own castle, one even bigger and more impressive than Mario's. To fund this extravagant dream, he travels to Kitchen Island, where the Brown Sugar Pirates have hidden many treasures and coins. After exploring the island, stealing the pirates' treasures, and infiltrating their Syrup Castle, Wario confronts the leader of the pirates, a female buccaneer named Captain Syrup. She summons a genie to destroy Wario, but he defeats the genie and Syrup destroys the castle with a large bomb as she escapes. In doing so, the pirates' biggest treasure is revealed: a giant gold statue of Princess Toadstool. However, Mario appears in a helicopter and takes the statue away in front of Wario's eyes.
Still holding the genie's lamp, Wario summons the genie and wishes for a castle. The genie tells him that he requires money to grant his wish, and so Wario gives him all the coins the player has collected over the course of the game, plus trades in all the found treasures for more coins. Exactly how well the genie grants Wario's wish depends on the final amount of coins he is given: Wario can get (from best to worst outcome) a castle, a Chinese pagoda, a log cabin, a treehouse, or a tiny birdhouse. If the player collects all the treasures and has enough coins to reach the 99,999 limit, the genie will give Wario an entire planet with his face etched on its surface.
The game comes after Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. Wario Land features a theme of greed remarkably different from almost all of Nintendo's other franchises: It is the first game Nintendo has made where the main character's cause is decidedly selfish. A notable catch phrase in its advertisement campaign was "Be the bad guy". There are no princesses to save, no world in peril. There is only one goal: for Wario to earn as much money as possible, in an effort to buy his own massive castle and make Mario jealous. The larger the cash total Wario has collected at the end of the game, the better house (and ending) that Wario will receive. For this reason, there are multiple possible endings to the game, a concept fairly new to video games at the time of its release. The Super Mario Land 3 subtitle links the game with the popular Super Mario Land 2.
Originally released for the Game Boy on January 21, 1994 in Japan and in March 13-May 13 in North America and Europe, the game was later re-released on the Nintendo 3DS's eShop Virtual Console download service in Japan on December 14, 2011, Europe on February 16, 2012 and North America on July 26, 2012. The game can be downloaded along with its predecessors, Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and its three sequels (available on the Wii U eShop only but also limited to 3DS ambassadors as well).
Wario Land was a huge commercial success, selling over 5.19 million copies worldwide. Game Informer 's Ben Reeves called it the 13th best Game Boy game and called it the most successful spin-off from the Mario series. GamePro named it the best Game Boy game at the 1994 Consumer Electronics Show, praising the new power-ups and the multiple endings. In their later review, they deemed the game "faster, more challenging, and more fun than its hand-held predecessors." They particularly commented that the backgrounds were not as cluttered as in the previous games, making the action easier to follow, that the music was less obtrusive, and that the sprites were better detailed. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a unanimous 7 out of 10, criticizing that the game is too easy but praising the new power-ups and strong graphics. Pocket Gamer awarded the Virtual Console re-release a 9 out of 10, insisting that "this is a Nintendo classic that you must play - especially if you never have before."
Wario Land was an attempt to expand the appearance of Wario in Super Mario Land 2 to a starring role and also to expand the Mario universe, which was very successful. Wario Land spawned seven popular sequels: Virtual Boy Wario Land, Wario Land II, Wario Land 3, Wario Land 4, Wario World, Wario: Master of Disguise, and Wario Land: Shake It!, as well as a long list of other titles.
- "Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3". NintendoLife. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- "Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3". GameRankings. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
- Reeves, Ben (2011-06-24). "The 25 Best Game Boy Games Of All Time". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
- "CES Showstoppers". GamePro (57) (IDG). April 1994. pp. 74–81.
- "ProReview: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3". GamePro (59) (IDG). June 1994. p. 140-142.
- "Review Crew: Wario Land". Electronic Gaming Monthly (57) (EGM Media, LLC). April 1994. p. 46.
- Rose, Mike (2012-04-23). "Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 2015-05-26.