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Wario Land 4 Package Art
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Wario Land 4

The Wario Land games have always been the pinnacle of sidescrollers. Being lengthy, dependable, and extraordinarily fun, these games have pushed their way into the hearts of gamers everywhere. From the first Wario Land on the Game Boy to Wario Land 3 for the Game Boy Color, the gameplay has generally stayed the same, but always tweaked just enough to give the title a fresh feel each time. But how does Wario Land 4, the first Wario game for the Game Boy Advance, fare?

From the very beginning, you will notice that the game has the same hint of quirkiness as the first three. As you see from the amusing animť-styled intro, Wario is on a mission to "retrieve" treasure from a recently discovered pyramid hidden deep in the jungles. Will he be able to find the treasure and still escape with his life?

visuals

While the game is not breathtakingly beautiful, it is still one of the better looking games on the GBA. A lot of thought went into each individual zone, so that the game presents different moods. In one zone you have creepy stages which actually look eerie, with dull yellow splashes of moonlight, drab furniture, transparent enemies... While in another zone you have happy stages with less attention being paid to lighting and more attention being paid to the lush and happy scenery.

Also, levels will change after you step on a switch to reopen up a portal at the beginning of the level. You will notice that the scenery becomes distorted and starts to take on different tints. A very nice touch indeed.

What I really enjoyed was how everything has a hand-drawn look to it. It really establishes the mood of the game. Additionally, scaling and rotating are thankfully present more than any other GBA title out there. For those that played Super Mario Advance and wished there were more large enemies and rotating platforms, this game will grant great satisfaction.

audio

Arguably the best-developed aspect of this game is the music. While the GBAís speakers arenít exactly the best, they still did a wonderful job making the compositions as clear as possible. Yet what makes the gameís music just so good? Itís weird and different.

There are actually singers in a few levels' soundtracks, uncommon for any game. Granted, the songs arenít traditional in any way, yet they still manage to appropriately match the mood of most levels. Ultimately, you really have to hear the game to fully appreciate it.

The sound effects are slightly goofy, though they arenít annoying in the least. Fans of Wario will be happy to know that his voice remains exceptional, which is great since Wario talks a lot throughout the game.

gameplay

This game is truly a unique sidescroller. Itís a lot like how Wario Land 3 was, especially in controls and fluidity, only itís so much more. For example, Wario is no longer immortal as in previous titles. Before you start to quiver in fear, you should know that it really doesnít make the game that much harder, even on the highest levels. Also, unlike the other games in the series, once you hit the hourglass at the end (or middle) of each level, you must quickly rush back to the portal located at the beginning. Block outlines that were previously left blank are now full, so new passages must be traversed. Yet donít worry if time runs out. Instead of being killed, Wario's cash supply begins to get drained, allowing a slight reprieve before life and time fully runs out.

Many items must be collected in each stage. For each colored passage of the pyramid (or level of the game), there are always four stages, and in order to reach the boss at the end of each passage, four pieces of a dish must be obtained across the stages. As an added bonus, a record that opens up a new song in the sound room is also hidden within each level.

After unlocking the bossís door for a given level, the player can enter a shop to buy items that diminish the life of the boss, which is extremely helpful in later levels. Said items are purchased by completing three mini-games, which are also within each passage.

These mini-games are one of the only things about Wario Land 4 that I didnít like. In a nutshell, they're repetitive and donít give enough money. Plus, the mini-games are limited in their fun factor. Choices are either a mini game in which you jump obstacles, a mini game in which a picture of Wario is shown that must be reproduced by placing pieces onto a blank face (harder than it sounds), and a nerve-racking baseball game.

multiplayer

Sorry, no multiplayer. While a multiplayer Wario would be a sight to see, don't count on it anytime soon.

overall

Wario Land 4 is definitely one of the better games for the GBA. However, it has a few flaws. Aside from the aforementioned mini-games, the game is short enough to beat in just a few days-- I ended up beating three of the hardest settings in just over 15 hours. While this seems to be a common trend in a lot of videogames lately, don't let this turn you off from getting the title. It's still great and definitely worth its price. WL4's actually fun enough to purchase a GBA for if you donít already have one, but be sure to pick up Golden Sun while you're at it, so you have something else to tide you over once you've exhausted the adventures of Wario and his pyramid.

final score Action/10


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"Mother 3 (Earthbound 2): Proof that Nintendo cares about it's fans."


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