“I, Wario, have an interesting story to tell. One day during my vacation in the Awazon river basin, I landed my trusty seaplane, Bulldog, and decided to relax in the shadow of the beautiful Aldegara Waterfall. While basking in the sun, I spied some strange creatures with masks entering the waterfall. This piqued my interest!
I hurried over and followed them into a waterfall. Behind the falls there was a large cave, and in the back of the cave…there was a vault filled with a glorious mountain of treasure!!
Some of the masked creatures jumped me, but I quickly overcame them. ‘This treasure is all mine now!’, I thought to myself and rushed in to collect the loot. Suddenly, the floor collapsed and I fell!
I found myself deep within the Earth! I was quite angry and vowed revenge on these creatures, ‘I will get their treasure!!!”
This game went through name changes before it was released. It’s prototype name was Wario’s Treasure Hunt, then on the back of the Virtual Boy box and Virtual Boy showcase in Volume 75 of Nintendo Power the game was called Wario Cruise. The name was changed one last time to Virtual Boy Wario Land shortly before it’s release. Even the game serial number has Wario Cruise still on it: 000-VWCJ-000.
If you’ve played a game in the Wario Land series then you will know what to do right away in this game. If not, in the Wario Land games not only is the goal to get to the end of the level but to collect as much money and treasures as possible. Rather than jumping on enemies like Mario, Wario can bash, smoosh, or pick them up to throw at another enemy to kill them. You still have a variety of power ups like the first game: finding a garlic bulb will turn small Wario into normal Wario and collecting another will turn you into bull/Viking Wario where you can perform ground pounds to stun bad guys and break certain blocks. Other power ups you can get include a fire spewing seahorse hat which breaths fire, a bird hat which lets Wario fly for a short time, and a dragon hat which lets Wario fly and breath fire.
The controls in this game also differ from your typical 2D Mario game. You still move around with the left D-Pad, jump with A, and crouch by pressing down while doing this you can move left or right, but by pressing B while holding left or right on the D-pad you can do a bash attack. You run by pressing the L button. Pausing is still with START and when paused if you press SELECT you can bring up the Virtual Boy start screen of you need to adjust IPD or focus.
The game is composed of 14 stages with 4 boss stages. Bosses are fought in stage 4, 8, 12, and 14. In the regular 10 stages there is a hidden room that has a special treasure inside. You will want to collect as many as possible since the number collected will affect the ending you get along with the amount of coins you have total after stage 14. The game has 4 endings, ranked A through D. The first time beating the game I got the Rank C ending since I only had 7 of the 10 treasures and didn’t have a lot of coins. You have the opportunity to get even more coins at the end of each stage by gambling them. Getting a game over in this game will result in you loosing the last treasure you had found and sine the game has no overworld map like the first game, you have to backtrack through cleared stages. For example, let’s say I got a game over in stage 7 and the last treasure I found was back in stage 3, that means I would have to go through stages 6, 5, 4, and finally 3 backwards. It may sound bad, but getting game overs shouldn’t be hard since the game offers you plenty of 1ups and power ups. Also if I remember, this game has little to no bottomless pits.
Overall the game is fairly easy, especially with the already mentioned abundance of 1ups. Boss battles are the hardest part of the game, especially the final boss. Compared to the other Wario Land games, not counting 3 or Shake It! I found this game to be as easy as Wario Land 4, but the series isn’t known for being difficult, the enjoyment comes from the gameplay.
The game is all in 2D like every other game in the series but it has a great use of the Virtual Boy’s scaling and 3D effects by having Wario and certain enemies switch between two different plains. This gimmick was used in the recent game, Mutant Mudds on the 3DS eShop. The bosses all used the 3D very well by having either themselves or an attack coming towards the screen. Everything in this game is detailed and looks great with the limitations given.
The game basically uses one theme for each level, but it’s remixed depending on the theme of the stage you’re at. If you’re in a water level the music uses instruments that fit. The game has 7 stage themes total and each one sounds great with some even getting stuck in my head after playing.
This is the Virtual Boy game I go back to and play the most. With the job of collecting every treasure and getting oodles of money adds to the replayvalue and when you get the Rank A ending you unlock hard mode and the game also has 3 save files. The only thing that takes away from the replayvalue to me is having to go back through stages to get to a previous stage.
This game is awesome! If you have a Virtual Boy I would highly recommend this game as it’s one of if not the best game on the console. The game has great controls, nice graphics that use 3D scaling well, has memorable music, and a good amount of replayvalue. My only complaint is the length, at 14 levels it shouldn’t take you more than two hours to beat the game and this is the shortest Wario Land game but also one of my favorites. Even if you have no interest in the Virtual Boy, but are still looking for a fun platformer then you can emulate the game. A copy goes for around $26 on eBay.
Virtual Boy Wario Land scores a 9/10 (Excellent).