Wario Land 4
Wario Land 4, known in Japan as Wario Land Advance: Yōki no Otakara (ワリオランドアドバンス ヨーキのお宝, meaning Wario Land Advance: The Treasure of the Golden Diva), is a platform game released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It was later re-released for the Nintendo 3DS system on December 16, 2011 via the Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors program, just after its ten-year anniversary, as well as a downloadable Virtual Console game for the Wii U on May 8, 2014. It is the fourth game in the Wario Land series (fifth counting Virtual Boy Wario Land), which is a spin-off of the Super Mario series. It is also the final Wario Land game to be released on a handheld system and the last Wario Land game for seven years until Wario Land: Shake It! In the game, Wario travels to the Golden Pyramid after reading a newspaper article about a rumor of a Legendary Treasure hidden inside. His intention is to rob the Pyramid, but he accidentally goes on a quest to save the legendary Princess Shokora from the money-crazed Golden Diva, evil ruler of the Golden Pyramid. The game features 2-D graphics with linear transformations (similar to Super Mario World and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island). Wario Land 4 has received very positive reviews from websites and game critics alike, enjoying praise for its soundtrack, collectibles throughout the game, and level design.
Sometime before the events of the game, the legendary Golden Pyramid was discovered deep within a jungle. Expeditions were mounted to find the Pyramid's treasure, but a series of accidents prevented anything from being found. The game's story properly begins one morning with Wario reading the newspaper in his house. He reads an article about the Golden Pyramid and all the treasure within, and decides to go steal it for himself. He then hops in his car and heads towards the pyramid, almost running over a Black Cat on the road.
Upon arriving at the Pyramid, Wario climbs the outer stairs and heads inside, where he finds the same Black Cat that he almost ran over earlier. The Cat leads Wario deeper into the Pyramid and down a hole. Wario lands in a room near the center of the Pyramid, and proceeds to complete the challenges of its five Passages, thus opening the way to the Inner Pyramid, where the evil ruler of the Golden Pyramid, the Golden Diva, resides.
After exploring the Golden Passage inside the Inner Pyramid, Wario comes face to face with the Golden Diva. The Black Cat then jumps in front of Wario and attacks the Golden Diva, to no effect. The Cat gets swallowed by the Diva, who proceeds to fight Wario.
After the Golden Diva's defeat, the Pyramid begins to crumble. Grabbing his treasure, and with the Black Cat in tow, Wario hurries to escape the Pyramid. They both make it out, and watch the Pyramid crumble to the ground from a distance. The Golden Diva's jewelry then flies out of the treasure sack and toward the Black Cat. This causes the Cat to change form into Princess Shokora, the ancient ruler of the Golden Pyramid who was cursed by the Golden Diva. With the Diva's defeat, the curse is broken, and the princess thanks Wario by kissing him on the cheek. She is taken away by angels, and Wario takes his treasure to his car and heads home.
The ending cutscene shows Wario speeding through the city, almost running over a cat once more. A newspaper flies into the cat's face, with an article that reads: "STEAKS! EAT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!". The game ends with gold bars forming the words THE END.
Upon creating a new save file, the player can select a game mode to play. There are Normal, Hard, and S-Hard options. The most difficult mode, S-Hard, is unlocked upon completing Hard mode. Gameplay begins in the Entry Passage which includes one level and a boss, Spoiled Rotten. On completion, the next four areas of the game are revealed. This consists of four more Passages, each with four levels relating to a different theme with a boss at the end. The four Passages are the Emerald Passage, Ruby Passage, Topaz Passage and Sapphire Passage. These can be completed in any order. Once each bosses of these four Passages have been cleared, an inner pyramid, (the Golden Pyramid) is revealed on the main map. This includes one last level, (the Golden Passage) and the final boss, the Golden Diva.
Unlike previous installments in the series, Wario is given a heart meter, which contains a total of eight hearts. Wario can collect hearts throughout the stages. Collecting one replenishes one heart of the meter. Wario loses a heart by touching a threatening part of an enemy, spikes, etc. He can also fully replenish his meter by opening a Heart Box. Below the heart meter is the heart gauge. Most enemies drop a little heart when defeated. Each little heart collected fills the gauge by an eighth. Filling it gives Wario an extra heart, and the gauge is then emptied.
Each of the eighteen levels contains four Jewel Pieces, found within boxes, that need to be collected. When four Jewel Pieces in a level are joined, they form a jewel. The color of the Jewels varies on the Passage they are collected in. The player must collect all Jewel Pieces in a Passage to gain access to the boss. A Keyzer must be collected to unlock the next level. Without the Keyzer, the four Jewel Pieces in that level can still be collected, but the door to the next level remains locked.
When Wario enters a level, he enters through a vortex, which closes behind him. The only way to open it again is to find the switch somewhere in the level. This reopens the vortex and allows Wario to return to the map screen. A time limit is given to return to the vortex. The player should focus on finding the four Jewel Pieces and the Keyzer before hitting the switch if possible. However, there are some areas that can only be accessed by hitting the switch. This is achieved through the Frog Blocks. The Frog Blocks can be found either solid or transparent. When the switch is hit, all transparent blocks become solid, while all solid blocks become transparent. This opens up new areas that can only be accessed when the switch is hit, so there may be some other Jewel Pieces or maybe even the Keyzer to find in that new area. As soon as the switch is hit, a timer appears on screen. The amount of time given to reach the vortex varies on the level and game mode. If the time runs out, the player's score quickly decreases and the level becomes black and white. When the score reaches zero, Wario is sent back to the main map and must start the level again. In the Golden Passage, the switch is placed at the beginning directly under the vortex, so Wario lands on it upon entering the last level. This makes the last level unique and more difficult in that he must recover all four Jewel Pieces and the Keyzer within the time limit.
There are two Puzzle Rooms in each level (excluding the Entry Passage and Golden Passage). Each one is found in a Purple Pipe, and contains either a diamond worth 1,000 points, or an amount of coins that are worth roughly 1,000 points when combined. Wario must solve some sort of puzzle to obtain these points, usually using Arewo Shitain-hakase as an object to throw. Completing these rooms is optional and not necessary to complete the level or the game, but they provide an opportunity for the player to earn a few extra points. Likewise, the player never sees a Jewel Piece or a Keyzer in a Puzzle Room, but a Heart Box can be seen in some rooms.
There is also an additional bonus challenge to complete. In every level except for the Entry Passage and the Golden Pyramid, there is a hidden CD that can be collected and played in the Sound Room, each containing a different soundtrack. There is a total of sixteen CDs to collect. A Karaoke can also be unlocked, which is a full song with Japanese vocals. It can be unlocked by getting 10,000 or more points in each of the eighteen levels.
The game records the player's best score (points collected) in each level. The amount of points obtained in a level affects what icon appears on the map screen when standing at the entrance of that level, next to the best score. A score of above 10,000 shows a gold crown, 8,000 to 9,990 shows a silver crown, and a score of 6,000 to 7,990 shows a bronze crown. A score of below 6,000 shows no crown.
There is a total of twelve Treasure Chests in Wario Land 4. Each of the four main boss rooms contain three Treasure Chests, embedded into the wall in the background. Wario is not able to interact with them. During the boss battle when the time starts to run low (usually under a minute), the Treasure Chests in the background begin to disappear, one by one. Once Wario defeats the boss, the Treasure Chests that are left over are collected and stored in the Golden Pyramid for the final boss against the Golden Diva. The amount of Treasure Chests collected does not affect the main game. However, it does affect the game's completion, as the more Treasure Chests Wario obtains, the more beautiful Princess Shokora appears in the game's ending cutscene.
Wario has several different moves in Wario Land 4. Mastering each one of them is essential for progressing in the game.
All of Wario's reactions in Wario Land 4 return from the last two games. Wario has a total of ten different reactions in the game, all having a different purpose to assist Wario in progressing through the level. This can include turning into a bat to reach a high place or catching fire to break certain blocks. All of the reactions have been based on previous games in the series, but they are put to more use in Wario Land 4. Wario is invincible to enemy attacks in all forms, and touching an enemy will either defeat it or simply knock it aside, depending on the reaction.
Below is a table describing all of the reactions (exception: normal Wario).
Prior to the boss room of each passage, there is a Mini-Game Shop where Wario can play one of three mini-games. If Wario receives a certain amount of points in each of the mini-games, he can earn medals which can be spent at the Item Shop for items to assist him in defeating the boss of that Passage. Three different colored Game Bots run the shop, each hosting a different mini-game. Each mini-game costs 5,000 points to play (discounted to 2,000 points until Wario completes the Entry Passage).
There are three three mini-games, and they are:
The Item Shop in Wario Land 4 is a place where Wario can spend his medals in exchange for items. These items assist him in defeating a boss by dealing pre-damage at the start of a battle. The shopkeeper is a form of the Black Cat. This character is very similar to the later-occurring Mr. Game & Watch. However, a major difference between the two characters is that the Item Shopkeeper has eyes in Wario Land 4.
A table of the nine items and their descriptions is shown below.
The more effective an item is on damaging a boss, the more medals it is likely to cost. The price of the items also varies on the game mode, e.g. an item in Hard mode is more expensive than the same item in Normal mode. All items and prices are as follows:
Each item deals a fixed amount of damage to each boss. All damage totals are shown below. The last four items are not available for purchase against the first boss of the game, Spoiled Rotten.
The Sound Room is a place found on the main map of the Golden Pyramid, where the player can listen to any CD that they have collected within the sixteen main passage levels. Each of the sixteen CDs have a unique track recorded on it. A bonus Karaoke can be unlocked by getting 10,000 or more points (a gold crown) in all eighteen levels. The Karaoke may also be temporarily unlocked by pressing Start, Select, Up, L, and R together at the same time, while in the Sound Room.
Upon creating a file, the player is asked which game mode they prefer to play. The available game modes are as follows:
The chosen game mode affects the location of the Jewel Pieces, the type and quantity of enemies, and the health the player begins with upon entering the level. For example, on S-Hard mode, Wario enters the level with only one heart. The game mode also affects the time given to get back to the vortex after the player hits the switch (refer to the table in the section below). In a few levels on S-Hard mode, the switch even changes its location. Purchasing items from the Item Shop costs more medals on more difficult modes. The difficulty of Mini-Games are generally unchanged across difficulty levels. However, on S-Hard mode, Wario's Homerun Derby uses a cheerleader who throws very difficult pitches, compared to the lower level modes. After beating Hard or S-Hard mode, extra parts of the credits sequence are shown which feature Wario picking up women in his car.
List of Time Limits
This table is a list of switch times given to complete levels in different game modes. It also includes the times to defeat the in-game bosses.
Passages and levels
Within the Golden Pyramid, there are a few characters who are willing to help Wario. They all have different purposes and their personalities and traits may differ, but they all have the same goal; to rid the Pyramid of the money crazed Golden Diva and to restore it to its former glory.
Each of the six bosses guards a different Passage in the Pyramid. Items can be purchased with medals to weaken bosses at the battle's beginning. Defeating Spoiled Rotten unlocks the four main Passages, and clearing a main Passage boss stores its Legendary Treasure and collected Treasure Chests into the Golden Pyramid.
Enemies and other characters
During his adventure, Wario encounters more than three dozen kinds of enemies. While some can be found in more than one passage, many enemies are only unique to a certain passage. The enemy's characteristics usually go by the passage theme. Each enemy drops an assigned value of coins. The enemies that do drop coins will also drop a little heart when defeated. If both Wario's heart meter and heart gauge are full, then little hearts will be replaced by Silver Coins. The quantity and type of enemies is affected by the game mode, as harder difficulties will generally have more enemies, and easier enemies will be replaced by more difficult ones.
The following enemies may be found in multiple passages. This table is based on how enemies appear in Normal mode unless specified otherwise. No enemy appears in all six passages.
Entry Passage enemies
Emerald Passage enemies
Ruby Passage enemies
Topaz Passage enemies
Sapphire Passage enemies
Golden Pyramid enemies
The last part of the game does not introduce new enemies, aside from the creatures created by the Golden Diva. Some enemies that are otherwise exclusive to the Sapphire Passage reappear in the Golden Passage, the last level before the final boss. This includes Skeleton Birds, Men'onos, and Miniculas.
The game received generally positive reviews. The "portable masterpiece" received praise and excellent review scores on its soundtrack, collectibles throughout the game and its general thrill of satisfaction. One gaming website commented about even on its ten year anniversary, it "still remains the best portable Mario game to date". IGN gave Wario Land 4 a nine out of ten, or "Outstanding", citing its well thought out level design and replayability, and how the game "puts a lot more emphasis on action" compared to its predecessors. Praise was also given to how much attention the developers paid to the sounds and music. It was not given a full ten because the game does not necessarily push the performance power of the Game Boy Advance in regards to animation design. The website quoted that "it's a little disappointing to see that Wario isn't much of a step beyond his GBC adventure in terms of art and animation...other than the sprite effects, it could have been done on the 8-bit handheld".
References in later games
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$!
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$! contains a seemingly complete set of instrumental sounds used for the soundtrack of Wario Land 4 within the game's files, and may be assembled together manually to recreate each of the individual tracks. Various theme songs and sound effects from Wario Land 4 are also heard during normal gameplay:
Pre-release and unused content
Wario Land 4 was first announced at E3 2001. The first released screenshots were very different from the final game. Wario had a darker, more orange skin tone, and a lot of the enemies were shown to have a different color scheme as well. A notable difference from the final game is how Wario originally had a Garlic meter, serving as a replacement for the heart gauge below the heart meter. The Mini-Game Shop was going to be called the Game Corner, and Wario originally needed a Key to unlock a Jewel Piece Box.
Nintendo R&D1 developed Wario Land 4, with the executive producer being Hiroshi Yamauchi. Hirofumi Matsuoka (who had previously co-directed Virtual Boy Wario Land) directed the game. The game was among the first Nintendo projects for Goro Abe and Ko Takeuchi, who later become key figures of the WarioWare series.
There are currently three known glitches in Wario Land 4. The player is able to fly vertically, hold an invisible object and walk through walls. All of these can be encountered during normal gameplay.
In Wario Land 4, there is not a large amount of quotes within the game itself. But there are many notable quotes within the game's instruction manual, where Wario describes to the reader many aspects of gameplay and a few enemy descriptions. Some of the most notable are shown below.
Quotes found in the game;
Quotes found in the game's manual;
Names in other languages