The 'Shroom:Issue LVII/Special Review III

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Special Review III

by Toad85 (talk)

Hey, everybody, it’s Toad85 again. You probably know me from my new A History of Video Games section, or from my activity on Mariowiki’s Forums. For this special Holiday issue, I’m going to review a special video game, one that I find criminally underrated and underappreciated: Wario’s Woods for the Nintendo Entertainment System. So, with no further ado, let’s...

...wait. Hold on a sec. I could tell you about the history of Wario’s Woods, or recite some seldom-told story about the NES, but actually review a game? For a nerdy guy like me? That sounds stark-raving mad.

Good thing I am stark-raving mad, or I wouldn’t have made it to the ‘Shroom in the first place.

Okay, T85, you can do this. Look at how the pros do it. This is a game that is close to your heart. The ‘Shroom needs you. I’ve just got to learn how to do it.

*Cue montage of me watching game reviews on GameFAQs, IGN, and RetroWareTV*

I think I’ve got the hang of this now. So, again, with no further ado, let’s start this game review already.

Game Quickie: Wario’s Woods

I guess I should start with the plot first. After all, what’s a game review without giving an impression of what the heck is going on?

Basically, while Mario, Luigi, Peach, etc. are away (presumably in Dinosaur Land, but it’s never really said), Toad is left to look after the castle. However, he gets sidetracked on an early morning stroll and ends up trapped in the Peaceful Woods, which have been overrun by the evil Wario. As no one else is around to do anything, it’s up to Toad to save the oppressed land and “quiet the sinister lout.” However, Toad’s not alone in his quest. He meets up with some sprites, the true inhabitants of the forest, who provide him with bombs to clear Wario’s goons. Birdo also makes an appearance, but I’m not really sure how she’s relevant to the game at all besides giving the occasional “OK!!” and arriving when Wario’s gone to tell you it’s safe.

Okay, let’s actually pop this sucker into the top-loader. Or, rather, select it from the Wii menu. I don’t own a top-loader. But I want one.

There are a total of six modes: Round Game A, Round Game B, Time Race, VS, Lesson, and Option. The Round Games is basically the story mode, in which you actually fight Wario and his cronies directly. The main difference between the two very similar modes is that “B” has boss battles, while “A” lacks them. I haven’t played much of Round Game B, so I can’t really tell who all the bosses are, but it was challenging to defeat the first ones.

Time Race is basically the same as the Round Games, but it lacks a story and you race against the clock instead of fighting Wario. Not much to say there. VS is a fun mode, as it allows you and a friend to play against each other, as you each try to outdo the other guy. I spent much of my time at first in here, playing with my little brother. He usually beat me. Moving on, Lesson mode basically teaches you the basics (a rarity for a NES title, which typically ask you to use trial and error), and Option menu gives information about your profile. Out of all the modes, I’d have to say that VS is the most fun. It’s just hectic trying to compete with another gamer and vying for the high score.

Moving on to the actual gameplay. Meh, let’s take Round Game A, since it’s pretty much the primary mode. Basically, you play as Toad (if that wasn’t already clear). He regains the super-strength you first acquired from Super Mario Bros 2. He can use this to pick up bombs, enemies, and other items about your height and twice your weight. Yes, Toad is badass.

The goal is to try to stack enemies and bombs of the same color next to each other. The resulting event, after stacking 3+ of the same color in a row, is an atomic explosion that murders the enemy. The longer the row, the higher points you get, and if you manage to make the elusive 5-in-a-row, you get a diamond for your services. If you destroy the diamond, you get a whopping amount of bonus points!

There are two sections of gameplay, Birdo and Wario. Each are timed. When Birdo is in the upper right box, the fairy’s bombs fall slowly, and there are no new enemies you have to worry about. This is the section where you can actually get crap done. But it only lasts for so long, before Wario appears out of nowhere. When you receive Wario in that box, the speed kicks up, and his Pidget drops more enemies than bombs. I find myself often screaming in agony when I get up to the higher levels, BECAUSE OF THAT FRICKING PIDGEY. HOW I HATE PIDGEYS. However, the Wario sections add challenge to the levels, and it's not like they're bad or anything.

Moving on… the first levels are incredibly easy, but, as I said, the difficulty jumps pretty quickly around Level 20. It then continues to jump every ten levels until the end of the game. I’ve never made it there, but I assume it’s ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL. And the controls don’t help.

See, rather than picking up the enemy or bomb in any direction using the A or B button in conjunction with the D-pad, you can only pick up the bomb DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU. I can understand this if the bomb is on the same level as you, but if you’re on a flat plane, and there’s a bomb to the lower left of you, YOU PICK IT UP. WHAT THE HECK, NINTENDO.

But the fidgety controls are pretty much my only complaint with this game. And I can overlook any blemishes it has, because it’s fun. Not to mention the graphics are amazing for an NES game, and the music is extremely catchy, if repetitive. Overall, I suggest picking this up or downloading this to your Wii Virtual Console. In my eyes, it’s the best NES games of all time, and it’s up in the top 10 on the all-time list. It’s really good.

Story: 9/10

Graphics: 10/10

Sound: 10/10

Gameplay: 20/20

Controls: 3/5

Replay Value: 5/5

Total: 56/60 (93.3%)