Wario Land II
Wario Land II, known in Japan as Wario Land 2: Nusumareta Zaihō (ワリオランド2 盗まれた財宝, lit. "Wario Land 2: The Stolen Treasure"), is a game by Nintendo that was released in North America and Europe for the Game Boy in March 1998. This is the third installment of the Wario Land series. It is a 2D platformer starring Wario, the greedy treasure hunter, who was also the protagonist of the series' first game Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. While the game was originally released as a Super Game Boy-enhanced title outside of Japan, a version adding Game Boy Color support was released in Japan seven months later as one of the October 1998 launch titles, featuring colored sprites and backgrounds. This version came out later in North America and Europe as well. A successor to the game was produced and released in 2000, namely Wario Land 3, which adapted most of this game's gameplay mechanics.
“Aaargh! I can't believe that Captain Syrup and the Black Sugar Gang have stolen my treasures! I am one angry Wario! I'm going to get my treasures back if it's the last thing I do!”
The story begins at Wario Castle. There he lies at his bed, taking a deep nap. However, three shadowy figures approach the castle from outside. They are Pirate Gooms, loyal minions of Captain Syrup and members of the Black Sugar Gang. The pirates infiltrate the building and steal Wario's treasures, which he collected during his earlier adventures. To distract Wario and prevent him from chasing them, the pirates cause havoc in the castle by turning on a giant faucet, abandoning a vicious snake in his cellar and installing an oversized alarm clock. After this, the pirates escape and leave Wario in the mess they caused. Wario eventually wakes up by the alarm clocks's commotion and sets off to pursue the thieves, but not before rectifying the state of things in his home.
During his pursuit of the pirates, Wario learns that the fleeing bandits have scared his pet hen away, so he ditches his quest for a brief moment to rescue his beloved pet. He resumes the pursuit after the hen is safe again. Wario manages to get to the pirate's ship before they can set off. He drops the anchor, so the ship is forced to halt, but is then stopped by the ship guard Bobo, who delays his progress so the pirates can escape via a hot-air balloon. Wario chases them through the overgrown jungle of Maze Woods and a city with an unknown name.
Wario eventually arrives at Syrup Castle, the hideout of the mischievous pirate gang. Horrified that the pirates managed to return to their fortress, he continues his pursuit and breaks in the building. After battling many of the pirate grunts and four ducks, Wario confronts the pirate leader herself in combat. After defeating Captain Syrup and demolishing her aircraft, Wario blasts the pirates out of their fortress, reclaims his treasures and returns home to resume his nap.
The game also features alternate pathways and alternate endings, but they generally end with Wario safely back at his castle and his treasures returned. Eventually in the true final chapter (which contains a Time Attack feature), Wario returns to Syrup Castle and proceeds to a mountain range somewhere near the building. There he discovers a secret cave in which the pirates store their treasures. In a final raid, Wario overcomes the difficulties in the pirate cave and plunders Syrup's riches. He then returns home for the final time, but not without the Giant Spear Man following him closely. The pirate's motivation of doing so is unclear.
“Wario Land 2 is much better than any of my previous games. Why, you ask? Because in this game, I'm immortal! There's no Game Over! With multiple endings, you can play my game MANY times. Isn't that great?!”
Wario Land II is a 2D platforming game, like its predecessor Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. It is divided into five worlds (called Chapters), which each are divided into five respective stages (called Stories). The chapters are accessed one after another, so when the player completes a level, they will be instantly transported to the next level. However, after completing the game for the first time, the player will receive a Treasure Map which allows them to choose the level they visit at will.
The game is notable for its branching storyline. Throughout the levels, the player can discover many secret exits which lead to five additional Chapters. Five different endings can be unlocked in this way, not counting the real ending that is accessed after completing the unlockable Time Attack level.
Wario's primary abilities remain the same as in the previous game. The player can walk, crouch, and enter doors with the directional pad, jump using the Button and perform Wario's signature Dash Attack by pressing the Button. If the directional pad is pressed up while jumping, Wario will jump slightly higher. The Player can use this technique while jumping on an enemy to jump even higher. When standing on a slope, pressing down will cause Wario to perform a rolling attack, that can smash blocks and defeat enemies. Unlike earlier, Wario can now use a Ground Pound to create shockwaves even without using a Bull Pot. This can be used to reverse enemies' movement, as well as to defeat them. When Wario stuns an enemy by jumping on it, he can pick up the motionless foe and carry it around. Wario's speed will decrease while he is carrying a heavy foe (e.g. a Grunt, or a D.D.). A carried foe can be used to defeat other foes by throwing it on them. The player can now also power up Wario's throw by pressing and holding the Button. This will increase Wario's throwing distance and also instantly defeats the tossed enemy if it hits an obstacle.
One of the most prominent features in Wario Land II is Wario's immunity against death. Being hit by an enemy will only cause him to lose some coins, but it is not life-threatening. In addition, some enemies cause Wario to assume new, sometimes bizarre forms which the player can use to make progress. While some conditions (later renamed "reactions") can be used to gain advantages, some are rather a hindrance than useful, which depends on the situation. Most conditions can be cured by having Wario touch a body of water, while some wear off after a certain amount of time has passed.
Treasures and Mini-Games
Like in every installment of the Wario Land series, the player can obtain various optional treasures during Wario's adventure. The kinds of treasure that can be found in the game are composed of different artifacts, seemingly useless junk, strange oddities, and even references to other Nintendo series. To obtain a treasure, a coin-consuming mini-game must be completed. There are two different categories of treasures in the game, each having 50 parts, making 100 obtainable objects in total. Once all the treasures are collected, the player will gain access to the game's final stage, as well as to a remake of the Game & Watch mini-game Flagman called Flagman D.D.
Treasures are items that are hidden somewhere in the games levels. Each story has one of these, making a total of fifty treasures in the game. The treasure can be obtained by playing a mini-game behind the respective treasure door.
Before the matching game can be played, the player has to pay a certain amount of coins. The price for one try depends on the difficulty mode that is chosen at the beginning of the game, so the amount of necessary coins vary between 50, 100 and 200 coins. After the preparations are set, a lock will float down from above and attach itself to the treasure chest. The lock shows a picture of an enemy. After that, eight panels will be displayed in the lower half of the screen. The panels will turn around for a short time, showing pictures of various enemies. Then after a moment (the duration of the moment depends on the earlier payment) the panels will turn around again. The player has to choose the panel that shows the same enemy as that on the chest's lock to open the chest and receive the treasure. If the player makes a wrong decision, the game is forfeit and it has to be played again (at the full price).
When playing on the Virtual Console, the player can cheat at this game by opening the Virtual Console menu at the right time.
The Picture Panel is a panel of 50 parts that, when completed, forms a treasure map that reveals the secret entrance to the pirates' treasure cave. One part of the Picture Panel is hidden at the end of each of the game's levels. The player has to play a mini-game to obtain the prize.
The Number-matching game is a mini-game mainly composed of nine panels, arranged in a 3x3 pattern, facing to the ground. When turned around, they form the shape of a digit, which can be any digit from zero to nine. The player has to guess which digit is displayed on the panels to obtain the treasure. By paying 50 coins, they can make one of the nine panels turn around. The respective panel will be chosen at random. When the player wishes, they can make a guess. If the guess is right, the chest will open and release a piece of the Picture Panel. If not, the mini-game is forfeited and the player will have to replay the whole level in order to get another chance.
After beating the game for the first time, the mini-game will slightly change. The panels will now turn around automatically, while Wario's number of coins is steadily decreasing. This leaves the player with less time to think and makes the mini-game more fast-paced.
Chapter 1: One Noisy Morning
Chapter 2: SS Tea Cup
Chapter 3: Maze Woods
Final Chapter: Syrup Castle
Chapter 2: Invade Wario Castle
Chapter 2: Go to the cellar!!
Chapter 3: Ruins at the Bottom of the sea
Final Chapter: Uncanny Mansion
Final Chapter: Mysterious Factory!
The Really Final Chapter
Time Attack: Steal the Syrup's treasure!!
References to other games
Wario Land II generally received good to excellent ratings, and many reviewers agree that it marked a milestone in the genre of 2D Platformers. IGN.com praised the game's innovative gameplay, its replayability, and its continuous gameplay, and even though it criticized Wario's inability of running out of lives, the game received a rating of 9.0. GameSpot mentioned its branching storyline, especially highlighted the updated graphics of the Game Boy Color version, and rewarded the game with a 8.9. Gaming Target critizises the fact that Wario Land II provides the player only with one save slot and some other save-related issues, but also calls it an "essential game for every GBC owner". Gaming Target reviewed the game with a 9.0. Nintendojo.com rated the game 9.0 and called it "A unique and addictive platformer that no gamer should be without". Overall, Wario Land II received 86.94% on GameRankings.com.
Both versions of Wario Land II were directed by Hosokawa Takehiko and produced by Izushi Takehiro. Yamanaka Masaru served as the main programmer on both versions as well.
Pre-release and unused content
Wario Land II was originally scheduled to be released in 1997. A screenshot released in that year depicts an unknown underground area with broken ledges not seen in the final game. In addition, the chain of the grindstone carried by the D-Bat was longer than any chain in the released version. Breakable jars were also found in the underground area, which is not the case for similar places in the final version. The amount of Wario's coins is also not seen in the screenshot.