Wario Land 4
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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 the downloadable Virtual Console game for the Wii U on May 8, 2014. It is the fifth game overall in the Wario Land series, which is a spin-off of the Super Mario Land 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.
Does Wario smell treasure again? Oh yes he does! Whilst reading his morning paper and picking his nose, he reads about the legendary Pyramid of Shokora! With no delay, and even forgetting to take his mid-morning nap, Wario hops into his fantastic car and heads off to find the Golden Pyramid.
The story begins in the ruins of the Golden Pyramid, where Princess Shokora, who once ruled the area, had been put into a cursed sleep by the selfish, money-crazed Golden Diva. Princess Shokora was transformed into a Black Cat, and banished from the Pyramid. The Black Cat soon came across a city inhabited by modern humans. There she lived on the streets with a group of stray animals. The Pyramid was later discovered by a group of archaeologists. Many undisclosed accidents hindered the findings of any treasure. Arewo Shitain-hakase, a robotic engineer, heard the rumors of the Golden Pyramid and set off on his own expedition. However, he is believed to have gone missing.
One morning, Wario was reading the morning paper, when an article caught his eye. The headline of the article says that a legendary pyramid had been discovered. With his mind on the treasure, he leaves early in the morning in his prized Wario Car and speeds through the city. The Black Cat is seen crossing a road, but Wario makes no attempt to slow down and he gains speed. Frightened, she covers her eyes with her paws, and the car's wheels narrowly miss her. A newspaper flies into the Cat's face. It reads "Pyramid discovered deep in jungle. Legendary Treasure nearly found, but accidents hindered findings." She seems to take an interest in the article.
Meanwhile, Wario speeds out of the city and enters the desert. With his mind on the ancient treasure, he speeds full throttle toward the Golden Pyramid mentioned in the newspaper article. After some time, Wario's vehicle runs out of gas, and he is forced to push the car to the nearest gas station. He soon comes across a jungle, where he leaves his car. After much trekking through the jungle, he finally reaches the Pyramid. Unable to contain his excitement, he climbs it without hesitation and soon finds an entrance. Inside the pyramid, he descends down a set of stairs and comes across the enigmatic Black Cat, who leads Wario into the next room. Wario and the Black Cat come across a precipice in the ground. The Black Cat jumps in and Wario jumps in after her.
He lands in a room somewhere near the center of the Pyramid. Here, Wario must clear the Pyramid's five Passages. A boss challenges Wario to a battle at the end of each Passage. When Wario clears all five Passages, the Inner Pyramid is revealed. Inside lurks the Golden Diva, the final Boss and the evil ruler of the Pyramid.
At the beginning of the battle, the Black Cat attacks the Golden Diva by scratching her face. The Golden Diva appears unscathed, and she swallows the cat. Wario then battles the Golden Diva himself. When defeated, the Black Cat is set free and the treasure is recovered. Wario flexes his muscles, and after this, the Pyramid begins to shake and crumble. Scared, Wario gathers as much treasure as he can and escapes the Pyramid with the Black Cat leading the way out. Climbing up the ladder on the way out, Arewo Shitain-hakase, who is also frantic to escape, pushes past Wario and exits the pyramid, and Wario and the Black Cat follow.
On the edge of the forest, Wario and the Black Cat watch the Pyramid crumble to the ground. They both laugh. The Golden Diva's Jewelry suddenly flies out of the treasure sack, and the Black Cat takes possession of them. Suddenly, she undergoes a transformation and turns into Princess Shokora, true ruler of the Pyramid. The Princess gives Wario a kiss and says, "Thank you, Wario...♥" Wario cannot believe his eyes, and he doesn't say a word as she is surrounded by four angels and flies up into heaven. Wario sits there for a while trying to making sense of it all. He soon dismisses it, grabs the remaining treasure and gets back into his car. With the treasure in the boot, he drives through the desert back the way he came, while the staff credits roll.
A few days later... the ending cut scene shows Wario speeding through the city once again. Like the beginning, Wario narrowly misses another cat, a white one this time. After Wario drives off, a newspaper flies into the White Cat's face. It 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 as. There are Normal, Hard and S-Hard. 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 boss of the five 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 are joined, they form a Pyramid 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. 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 last level of the game), the switch is placed at the beginning directly under the vortex, so Wario lands on it upon entering the last level. This can make the last level more difficult, as he must recover all four Jewel Pieces and the Keyzer within a 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 1000pts., or an amount of coins that are worth roughly 1000 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 is not necessary to complete the game, but rather if the player wants to earn a few extra points. Likewise, the player never sees a Jewel Piece or a Keyzer is 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, 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. 8000 to 9990 show a Silver crown, and a score of 6000 to 7990 shows a Bronze Crown. A score of below 6000 shows no crown.
There are a total of twelve Treasure Chests in Wario Land 4. Three of them are found in each of the four main boss rooms, embedded into the wall in the background. They cannot be touched by Wario at this point. 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, the more Treasure Chests Wario obtains on the game's completion, the more beautiful Princess Shokora appears in the game's ending cutscene.
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 Frog Medals which can be spent at the Item Shop for items to assist him to defeat the boss of that Passage. The three Game Bots run the shop, each hosting a different mini-game. Each mini-game costs 5000 points to play (not including the Entry Passage, which is discounted to 2000.) Points can be earned during normal gameplay.
There are three three mini-games, and they are;
There are three different colored Game Bots, each hosting a different mini-game.
“You thought you could just FIND items? The world doesn't work that way, kid!!”
The Item Shop in Wario Land 4 is a place where Wario can spend his Frog Medals in exchange for items. These items assist him in defeating a boss by dealing pre-damage at the battle's start. 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 the Item Shopkeeper has eyes in Wario Land 4.
A table of the nine items and their descriptions is shown below.
The more effective the item has on damaging a boss, the more Frog 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, how many enemies are seen in the levels, and the health the player begins with upon entering the level. For example, on S-Hard mode Wario enters the level with only one health point. The game mode also affects the time given to get back to the vortex after the player hits the switch (refer to table in the section below). In a few levels on some difficulties, the switch even changes its location. Purchasing items from the Item Shop costs more Frog Medals on more difficult modes. The difficulty of Mini-Games are generally unchanged across difficulty levels. However, on S-Hard mode, the baseball mini-game uses a cheerleader who throws very difficult pitches, compared to the lower level modes.
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.
“Even the powerful Wario gets into some embarrassing situations in this game! I eat too much and get all chubby, a bee stings my face and makes it swell like a balloon, my body catches fire, and all kinds of other bad things happen to me!!”
All of Wario's reactions 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 in all forms, but touching an enemy merely knocks it aside and not destroy it.
Below is a table describing all of the reactions (exception: normal Wario).
“So these are my basic controls! You got a problem with that?”
“How 'bout it? You can even do this stuff!”
Wario has several different moves in Wario Land 4. Mastering each one of them is essential for progressing in the game.
Passages and levels
“My game unfolds inside a pyramid made up of six passages!”
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 Frog 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
“Taking care of most of my enemies is easier than taking candy from babies – which I highly recommend, by the way!!”
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 also drops an assigned value of Coins.
The following enemies may be found in multiple passages. 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 doesn't 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'ono 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 other 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. A lot of the enemies were also shown to have a different color scheme. 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