Wario Land 4
Wario Land 4 is a platformer 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 instalment in the series 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 2D 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, Wario comes face to face with the Golden Diva. The black cat then jumps in front of Wario and attacks the Golden Diva in vain. The Cat gets swallowed by the Diva, who proceeds to fight Wario and gradually uncovers her many kabuki masks.
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 save file, the player is asked which game mode they prefer to play. The available game modes are as follows:
The chosen game mode affects various aspects of gameplay, such as 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 instead of the full eight. The game mode also affects the time given to get back to the vortex after the player hits the switch. In a few levels on S-Hard mode, the switch even changes its location.
Less time is given to defeat the bosses on more difficult modes, and prices at the Item Shop are more expensive. When beating the game on Hard or S-Hard mode, extra parts of the credits sequence are shown which feature Wario picking up women in his car.
The game 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 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, containing a total of eight hearts. Wario can collect additional hearts throughout the stages. Wario loses a heart by touching a threatening part of an enemy, such as spikes. He can fully replenish his meter by opening a Full Health Item box. Below the Heart Meter is a heart gauge. Most enemies drop a little heart when defeated, which fills the gauge by an eighth. Filling it gives Wario an extra heart, and the gauge is then emptied. Completely filling Wario's hearts and gauge will cause most enemies to drop an extra 100-point coin.
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.
Wario enters a level 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, due to the Kaeru Blocks. When the switch is hit, all transparent Kaeru 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 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 the game mode the player has selected. If the timer runs out, the player's score quickly depletes 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.
The game records the player's best score according to their 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 are a total of twelve treasure chests in Wario Land 4. Each of the four main boss rooms contain three treasure chests which are embedded into the wall in the background, as well as a piece of jewellery kept by the boss. 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 a boss in a main passage, the treasure chests that are left over are collected and stored in the Golden Pyramid, along with the jewellery retrieved from the boss. 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 which are all required to make progress 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.
Objects and obstacles
Passages and levels
There are two pink areas in each level (excluding the Entry Passage and Golden Passage). Each one is found in a Warp 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 pink area, but Full Health Items can be seen in some rooms.
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 Karaoke may also be temporarily unlocked by pressing Start, Select, Up, L, and R together at the same time, while in the Sound Room.
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 game. Each Mini-Game costs 5,000 points to play (discounted to 2,000 points until Wario completes the Entry Passage).
The three Mini-Games are:
Purchasing items from the Item Shop costs more medals on more difficult modes. On S-Hard mode, Wario's Homerun Derby uses a cheerleader who throws very difficult pitches, compared to the lower level modes.
The Item Shop is a place where Wario can spend his medals, in exchange for items which assist him in defeating a boss by dealing damage before the start of the battle. The shop owner is a form of the black cat.
A table of the nine items and their descriptions is shown below.
The more expensive the item, the more damage inflicted on the boss. 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.
Within the Golden Pyramid, there are a few characters who assist Wario.
Each of the six bosses guard 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
While some enemies can be found in more than one passage, many are only unique to a certain passage and their characteristics usually go by the passage theme. Many enemies drop an assigned value of coins as well as 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 worth 100 points. The quantity and type of enemies depend on the game mode, as harder difficulties will generally have more enemies, and easier enemies will be replaced by more difficult ones. Most enemies can be defeated using some of Wario's moves, such as a regular "Attack" or "Smash Attack".
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 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 gauge, 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