For many Nintendo zealots, such as ourselves, Wario is a man of excellence. The red-nosed obesity supporter is our dude of choice on Mario Kart 8, but he’s also graced some excellent platformers over the years. Such as…
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
Released in 1993 (other sources say 1994 – look, it’s right there in the bloody title screen) on the Game Boy, Wario Land was the third outing in the Game Boy’s exclusive Super Mario Land series.
Away from the Super Nintendo – as it does to this day – Nintendo also ran its handheld division. That means you need exclusive content to promote it.
Whilst the likes of Link’s Awakening were system sellers, Wario Land was more of a fun-filled romp through a world of black and white creativity.
The weird thing about the Game Boy is it was such a smash hit. Tetris helped there immeasurably, but Nintendo’s console had no problems fending off competition from the likes of Sega’s colour handheld the Game Gear.
Arguably it’s thanks to the stellar exclusives like this. And Nintendo’s anti-hero provides chunky, hearty 2D platforming with noticeable differences from its Mario series.
Hiroji Kiyotake and Takehiko Hosokawa were the directors behind it, even if the goal is to complete stages and defeat a boss.
But Wario is a totally different beast to control. He can shoulder bump, pick up enemies, and chuck them about the place. All done with his characteristic sanctimonious grin.
Wario can splat three types of helmet (on his head), too, offering new types of abilities. And the coins you see are used for currency (in Mario it’s for an all-important extra life).
There’s a sense of Wario’s ulterior motives and Machiavellian streak at play here. Nintendo plays on his dastardly ways affectionally – and it’s that chunky visual style that helps the game stand out so well on the Game Boy’s cramped screen.
It’s good fun! One we put a lot of time into as a kid – it’s showing its age somewhat, but was a success back in the day: 5.19 million copies shifted!
Super Mario Land 3 was no one off! Wario remains one of Nintendo’s best-loved characters. His antics on the Game Boy continued for some time, leading up to Wario Land 4.
He then made the shift to the Nintendo Wii with 2008’s Shake It entry in the series. That’s also currently the last Wario Land game, with Nintendo focussing on the entertaining (and relentlessly bizarre) WarioWare series of mini-games.
Other curious oddities include 1994’s Wario’s Woods – that was the very last official Nintendo Entertainment System title to have a release.
Plus, his outing on Nintendo’s doomed Virtual Boy console is apparently easily the best game on the system. It’s just hardly anyone ever got to play it!
Whatever, the Japanese company’s focus on portraying him as everyone’s favourite lovable despot continues to this day. And long may that continue.