GBA Review: Wario Land 4
Review by: Tiger (tiger@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: Game Boy Advance
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Platform
 # of Players: 1-4
 Size: 64 Megabits
 Developer: Nintendo
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Game Save: Yes
 Multi-Pak Link: No
 Single-Pak Link: No

 Release Date:
 US: Nov 19, 2001
 EU: Nov 16, 2001

Screenshots:

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Final Score:
8.0/10

Reviewed on: September 29, 2002

Wario has done it again, but now he's back jumping from the GBC to the GBA with new and improved graphics and additions. Now what has Wario been up to lately? It seems his treasure grubbing self has located a secret pyramid stacked high with precious jewels, to grub all for himself! Unfortunately the pyramid doors slam on his face when he tries to escape with his goodies, and the adventure begins.

The main premise of the game is to escape. But of course, with as many jewels and gold in Wario's fat pockets to boot. To get to different areas, Wario must find 4 hidden pieces of a gem in each pyramid chamber and Keyser (a ghost with a key nose to open the portal back into the chamber) to access the evil boss. However, once the portal is opened back up, there a limited time that Wario must backtrack to the get back to the portal (which is located at the beginning of each level) to get back into the chamber. If Wario doesn't accomplish this, he will go back to the chamber and lose all the valuables he has accumulated.

For fans of the Wario Land series, this doesn't disappoint. This game does a great job of continuing the Wario Land series, and with new and improved graphics the GBC just couldn't do. Along with the same controls, but with an added headbutt, the feel to the game is just like at home. There are many familiar features from previous games, like fat Wario, Swelled Floating Wario, Flat Wario, Burning Wario, and the water bubble Wario. There are many familiar aspects of the game, as well as new ones.

Replay value is high as there are 3 mini games (home run derby, roulette, barber shop matching game) and a hidden CD to find in each level. You can also see which CDs you have created in a CD shelf in the pyramid. Listening the CDs however, is like listening to bad game background music. If even that. Although you do get to view a lot of funkified Wario like images. The point to the mini games (located in each chamber) is to collect big coins to use in the item shop before a big boss. You can purchase aids to help deter the boss's HP. Say for instance, you buy a music pipe with 9 big coins, and after you buy it, the guy with the music pipe will follow you to the next door (which is the boss) and before the battle begins, he blows the pipe and the music notes hit and hurt the boss, lowering his HP. This eases the battle between the boss, as some are rather difficult.

Final Comments

Although personally I enjoyed the previous games on the GBC, I am not quite sure if I like this one as much. Since now Wario is able to feel pain (now he has heart meters), Wario is not as easy as before. The timed backtracking at the end of each level is also a pain, because sometimes you only find one of the four crucial gem pieces in the unlocked portion of the level when you open the portal. All in all, Wario Land 4 is a great addition to the Wario Land series, but personally didn't strike me as a "great" game as the previous games did.

-- Tiger (tiger@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Wario Land 4 is a great game with lots of improved and great graphics. It contains a lot of interesting new elements, but recycles too many of the old ones. Especially when the new elements are timed backtracking (no one likes backtracking anyway) and a heart meter, when Wario Land was known for not dying in the previous games. Well, Nintendo tries to justify this "dying" by exiting the portal and zoomed back into the chamber. But being zoomed out of the level and losing all your coins is just not cool.