(Game Boy)

Game Review

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Third time’s a charm?

While Nintendo kept things fairly standard with the first two Super Mario Land releases, it obviously decided to make some changes when it got ready to create this third title in the series on Game Boy. Instead of featuring Mario, it decided to give players a chance to shake things up and take on the role of its newest bad boy, Wario. While it still features the same mix of platforming and action elements players have come to expect from the series, the control system was totally revamped and gave the game its own unique look and feel. The end result is what has become a hugely popular series for Nintendo's various portable game systems, with this original now joining the 3DS Virtual Console.

Wario, still reeling from his defeat at the end of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, now wants a castle more than ever and will stop at nothing in order to get it. Upon hearing that a ragtag group of pirates has stolen Mario's Princess Peach statue and taken it to their hideout on Kitchen Island, Wario hops aboard his ship and sets out for the island. While Captain Syrup and the Brown Sugar Pirates sounds more like a 1970's lounge act than a group of video game antagonists, that's exactly who Wario will have to go up against if he wants to get back the stolen statue and finally buy a castle of his own.

Although this is a Super Mario Land game, you certainly wouldn't know that from playing it. When Nintendo decided to feature Wario as the main character, it also gave him his own unique set of moves as well, making the feel completely different from the previous two releases in the series. While Wario still has the basic move-set of running, jumping and stomping on enemies, he also has an entirely new set of abilities that depend on which hat he's currently wearing. The standard Wario can do a charge attack at enemies, but he can add to his arsenal by picking up the various types of pots that are hidden in blocks around each level.

There are basically three types of pots in the game for Wario to make use of. The Bull Pot allows him to wear a bullhorn hat that not only increases the length and power of his charge attack, but also allows him to pound the ground and stick to certain ceilings using his horns. The Jet Pot will bestow a jet pack hat onto Wario's head and allow him to fly through the air for short periods of time, something that comes in quite handy for traversing some of the wider chasms. Finally there is the Dragon Pot, which will put a dragon's head on top of his head to spit fire for a short period of time. This is probably the most useful of the hats as it can make taking out enemies much easier, especially in tight spaces where a charge move might be difficult to execute.

There are eight different areas on Kitchen Island, each of which contains five levels. At the end of the fifth level you'll have to square off against a boss in order to progress to the next area; some levels even feature a Skeleton Door that you can unlock with a hidden key and score some serious treasures: of course, that's if you can locate them. There are even a few levels that feature two exits that you'll have to find if you want to experience the optional Sherbet Land bonus area.

Given the fact that this is the third release in the series, you'd expect a certain degree of visual advancement, but Nintendo really excelled with the graphical presentation. Not only does this title feature some of the best graphics seen in a Game Boy release, but there's not a bad-looking level in the entire bunch. The backgrounds themselves show a wealth of detail and the characters and enemies that inhabit them are equally impressive. As big a step up in graphics quality as Super Mario Land 2 was from the original, so too is the advance in this third release. It's also nice to see that very few areas use the same visual style, so you can expect plenty of variety in level's appearances. This game is a perfect example of what could be accomplished visually with the Game Boy system when in the proper hands.

The soundtrack is equally impressive, and Nintendo was able to produce a memorable musical score. While it's obviously a very different style from the previous two releases, it's certainly no less catchy and shows off the diversity of the system's unique sound capabilities. While some tracks are obviously better than others, many of the best samples tend to be the ones that are used most often, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to hear them throughout the game. Even the sound effects are extremely well done and seem to complement the soundtrack to perfection. Very seldom do you see an audio/visual presentation so in tune with each other and executed so well.

The revamped gameplay in Wario Land is a welcome twist on the tried-and-true Mario Land style. The control itself might take a little getting used to, given how different it can be, but once you get a handle on controlling Wario you'll truly appreciate what Nintendo was able to do and realize how original the overall experience is. Even the boss fights this time around show a lot more imagination and variety in their design. Nintendo also managed to increase the difficulty level a bit from the original two Super Mario Land releases, which should please fans of the series who felt a bit let down by the lack of challenge in the originals. While the Wario Land games might have become a bit more diverse as the spin-off series progressed, there's still something special about this first release that will keep you coming back for more.

Conclusion

It would be quite easy to make a case for either Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins or Wario Land as the original Game Boy system's best platforming experience, but given how different the two titles are it almost seems unfair to compare them directly. With Wario Land, Nintendo completely reinvented its portable platformer and gave its greedy new character his own game, instead of merely plopping him down into the middle of another standard Super Mario Land presentation. A wealth of new gameplay features combined with a unique visual and musical style make this title stand on its own, and at £3.60 on the Virtual Console it gives old and new fans of the previous Super Mario Land releases a fresh spin on the series. If you want to experience some of the best platforming the Game Boy system has to offer, you needn't look any further than this release.

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User Comments (58)

McRokert

#2

McRokert said:

Must have, and now hope that they are bringing Wario land 2 and 3 quickly !

Mok

#3

Mok said:

I already purchased the two previous titles, even though I never played this one when it came the last time I will definitely pick this up from the e-shop!

WaveyChristmas

#4

WaveyChristmas said:

Super Mario Land 2's 'gameplay' & Level design is completely second rate in comparison to Wario Land's. :p

flatspikes

#5

flatspikes said:

So I have this already... is it worth the £3.60 to have it on my 3DS... part of me says yes... but then I'll need to re-buy Tetris too. To think I promised myself only new 3D stuff when I bought the console... Retro is too seductive!

robohobo93

#6

robohobo93 said:

I was disappointed that we didn't get it here yesterday. I made sure to save enough in my eShop account to get it and it was a no-show. :(

grumblegrumble

#8

grumblegrumble said:

Corbie.. I love your new about bit by your photo. I am a vintage gaming geek as well.. Oh, about SML3, I really can't wait until it comes to America since I've never played it before and can't wait to ;)

Deviant_Mugen

#9

Deviant_Mugen said:

Great review, Corbie. I started playing this about a year back, but I lost my save and didn't feel like continuing. I'll definitely add it to my list for when I buy a 3DS...

Also, now it's Waluigi's turn to shine. Give him his own platforming game, Nintendo! It worked for Wario, so why not take a chance on his lanky brother? Do it...

Bass_X0

#10

Bass_X0 said:

Not seeing anything in Wario Land that is making it miss that elusive 10/10 score.

Edgy

#12

Edgy said:

The best Game Boy game. The best Wario game. Everybody but this and send Nintendo a message about how we feel about top quality games!

Wolfcoyote

#13

Wolfcoyote said:

This one is a definite must-have. This one and Wario Land II are in my top five GB favorites.

Geonjaha

#14

Geonjaha said:

Well it's a good GB game, but I dont really enjoy it that much. I never really got into the Warioland series, and I dont think it deserves a 10/10 either @10. Over-rated game. 9/10 yes, but it got me bored easily.

THENAMESNORM

#15

THENAMESNORM said:

A great game! I still have my original cartridge, but have still bought it on VC anyway. I cannot compliment this game enough.

chewytapeworm

#16

chewytapeworm said:

Never played this game until yesterday, and now I can't stop. I can safely say that this has lived up to the hype. Platforming excellence!

FonistofCruxis

#17

FonistofCruxis said:

I'll definitely get this at some point, it looks like a fantastic game, the Wario land series is such an underrated series.

Bowser908

#18

Bowser908 said:

i will totally get this when it hits north america. i have wario land 4 on my 3ds as an ambassador game and i love it.

eviLaTtenDant

#19

eviLaTtenDant said:

One of the finest examples of what Nintendo is capable of when creating a new IP. Kudos for not just making this another typical Mario game. And for giving it another layer of depth by incorporating the keys and secret exits as well.
I hope everyone who doesn't downright hate platformers can experience this game now. :)

PS: It also seems to have been quite an influence for the makers of Shantae.

GamerZack87

#21

GamerZack87 said:

It's funny, cause I was playing this only a few hours ago, and now I'm commenting on a review of it! :D

It's interesting that the Brown Sugar Pirates were renamed the Black Sugar Gang in Wario Land II. I've never eaten black sugar...I wonder if it tastes like aniseed... :p

By the way, I would have opened with the header "The third Super Mario Land game and the first Wario Land game"...cause you know that'll never confuse any would-be first-time players. ;)

warioswoods

#23

warioswoods said:

One of my all-time favorite platformers, of course. So much better than SML1/2 it's not even funny. Actually, it is funny.

RevolverLink

#24

RevolverLink said:

I've only played Wario Lands 4 and Shake It!, but I adore those games, so I fully expect that the original trilogy will go down well with me.

NintyMan

#25

NintyMan said:

I'm eager to get this game once it comes state-side. What little music I heard sounded good, and those graphics are really good for a Game Boy.

nick_gc

#26

nick_gc said:

I love how even the screen flicker is present on this game. It really is a masterpiece and I much prefer this over Wario Land 4. Can't wait to play 2 and 3 of this series.

Whopper744

#27

Whopper744 said:

Why no NA release? I really have to quit complaining, but that kind of stinks. 4 is a great game, and this one looks great as well, and actually kind of charmingly simple....yeah, i just made up that term.

SaSoBe

#28

SaSoBe said:

I adore this game. It was one of the first games I got, when I was just a little girl.

CosmoXY

#29

CosmoXY said:

I never played this one back when I was a kid, so I'll get it when it releases in NA. Looks like fun.

TheRegginator

#30

TheRegginator said:

I feel like all of these reviews of Game Boy games are trolling me, just making me wish they were on the 3DS VC.

Stu_Dee_Jay

#35

Stu_Dee_Jay said:

As a (stupid) child, I bought into the sequel and was disappointed that Mario Land 3 wasn't Mario at all.

Despite still owning the original cartridge, I intend to download this tomorrow and enjoy it like everyone else did back in the day. No hard feelings, Wario?

Stu_Dee_Jay

#37

Stu_Dee_Jay said:

Not sure how developed his personality was in the first game, but in later titles, he's more of a greedy, selfish egotist who sets out for personal gain and ends up inadvertently doing good. It's an unusual concept for the values of a Nintendo character, but it sets up the quirky tone perfectly.

Jfilesguy

#38

Jfilesguy said:

WHAA!?! No 10, NO 10?!
I only say so because back when this was a Retro review Corbie gave it a 10, why not now?

Oh, and also...
WHY NO USA VC?!

hydeks

#39

hydeks said:

that's great, when is this game coming to North American VC? Am I the only one sick of NA gamers getting things last now -_-

Lunapplebloom

#41

Lunapplebloom said:

Had played this when I was younger, but it was borrowed from a friend. Never actually owned it, so I can't wait to play it again. Great review

Tasuki

#42

Tasuki said:

I never got the chance to play this game let alone own it, but I did have the Virtual Boy Warioland game and I loved it. I hope they bring this one to the NA Eshop.

Powerglove

#43

Powerglove said:

In my opinion Wario Land is definitely better than Mario Land 2. WL's levels are bigger, more complex, and there's more of them. Not to mention WL's graphics and soundtrack are better.

WanderFan91

#44

WanderFan91 said:

I should contemplate buying my own copy of the game one day; I remember playing one of my cousins' copy of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 a bit and enjoying it from what I've played back when I was little

warioswoods

#45

warioswoods said:

I even updated my avatar for this game. I'm all dressed up with nowhere to go, NOA. Bring it!

ToxieDogg

#46

ToxieDogg said:

A superb game this, much better than Mario's Game Boy efforts in my opinion. Love the replayablity of it...it's got 5 or 6 possible endings if I remember rightly, depending on how much treasure and coins you finish with, and the usual load of secret levels to find. Hopefully Wario Land 2 and 3 won't be too far behind.

Mok

#47

Mok said:

I purchased Mario Land 1 and 2 without hesitation but this third instalment is... I dunno, not sure I like it. I'm gonna give it another hour and see.

GTWarrior77

#48

GTWarrior77 said:

Like others have mentioned here already, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is much better than Super Mario Land 2. It's my first outing with this game and I can't put it down. The music, the gameplay, the graphics, are all excellent. One of my favorite downloads so far.

WolfLink22

#49

WolfLink22 said:

I can't wait to re get this on the 3DS's eShop. I have it on the GB but i don't want to have to blow in it to get it to work.

Dak_n_Jaxter

#50

Dak_n_Jaxter said:

Sorry if this has already been answered somewhere. But does anyone know when this will be available in the states?

bhornburg

#51

bhornburg said:

huge Warioland fan, I can't wait for the north american release. Also, when the heck is Warioland 4 (or other GBA games) going to finally be released for purchase on the eShop?!!? C'mon Nintendo, I have money I want to give you for these!!! hook us up!

Hokori

#52

Hokori said:

Wario land 1 2 3 4 are all out in Japan why do we only have the ambassador 4th game

GrandSparkster

#53

GrandSparkster said:

The only two WL games I've ever played/owned were 2 and 4.
So I'm definitely getting 1. Will probably get Mole Mania after some research.

Thinking about Planet Crashers but I never heard of that and I'm maintaining what little funds I have for the summer.

grumblegrumble

#54

grumblegrumble said:

Hells yeah! Playing it now (and I've never played it, which is strange since I'm a huge Gameboy/retro gaming/Mario fan) and so far, it's living up to its high rating on here ;) With Mario games, though, you really can't go wrong! A+

alvieao

#55

alvieao said:

It's about time Wario Land finally arrived on the North American eShop! Taking place after Super Mario Land 2, Wario is now an anti-hero protagonist this time around. Wario’s a greedy bastard who collects coins and treasures in his platforming adventures, but we love him anyway! There’s a reason Wario Land is regarded a Game Boy classic… It’s a brilliant game! It has top-notch platforming gameplay with great level design, amazing graphics and music, and rock-solid controls to boot. There are also secret levels to unlock (by finding keys) as well as hidden treasures to collect, which affects the game’s ending. While I also love Wario Land II and 4, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 remains an awesome Game Boy classic worth playing!

TonLoco

#56

TonLoco said:

One of my favorite gameboy games when i was a kid. I even remember the commercial for it when it first came out. I never got the best ending though. I was one or two treasure pieces short of the biggest castle.

JuanitoShet

#57

JuanitoShet said:

I just bought an original Japanese copy for my Game Boy...PSSSS. Goddamn, I'm in love with this game! It's just so brilliant. The only Wario games I've played up to today have been WarioWare Touched! and this one, but I don't think it'd be wrong of me to consider myself a Wario fan now.

Since I have this for the Game Boy, I'm kinda hoping I can purchase Mario Land 1/2 on my 3DS. I've already played the hell out of the first as a toddler/kid years ago, but never the second. Would be awesome to own the Trilogy!

RoryJames

#58

RoryJames said:

This series improves ith every entry. Like the review says, this third entry is a very creative and enjoyable game. It's also the trickiest so far, but the half way save points that you can buy help a lot.

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