Dateline : 6th November 2011


Squinting at a small screen isn’t much fun but when a game is a s good as this you can’t go wrong at all. Growing a Village People style moustache RetroBear hops, skips and jumps his way through WarioLand 2…..


Some dozy twonk has left the tap running and that's why the castle is flooded

I’ve never been a big fan of watering down a concept or introducing new characters to support existing ones, designed simply to “freshen things up”. This usually means that the creators have run out of ideas and are grasping at straws to find new ideas to keep the cash rolling in. Cynical as it may sound, poor old Sonic has suffered from this in recent years. We could accept the introduction of Tails, but once you start doing that you end up adding Knuckles, Shadow etc and before you know it you’ve got more cameos than in the new Ben Stiller film.


Mario started life with his own cast of characters – the rotund plumber himself, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Bowser. I can forgive the inclusion of Yoshi because he’s rather cute, but when I first heard about Wario I was distinctly underwhelmed. It just seems LAZY, turning the M upside down. The less said about WaLuigi (which is just pathetic) the better.


This game was released in both normal Game Boy mode and a special Game Boy Color version - one of the few games to do that


This though is where Nintendo start to show they know what to do with new characters and not reduce them to bit parts or crappy games of their own (see Shadow The Hedgehog). They gave Wario his own game and he hasn’t looked back. I was lucky enough to pick up a loose copy of WarioLand II around 12 months ago and was instantly hooked by just how playable and fun the game is.


As with all Mario-esque platform games, Wario has had a bad day. His castle has been flooded, his treasure stolen and someone has let the chickens out. The game involves you going outside of his castle to track down the villains and restore order once more. In true Mario fashion you collect coins along the way, but unlike Mario you can’t die. Wario is invincible meaning that you can keep ploughing through the game without having to worry about save points or being sent back to the start of the game when you die.


What is incredibly wonderful about WarioLand 2 is you can set your own destiny. All roads will lead to the end of level bosses, but how you get there is up to you. There is no one set pattern to follow meaning you may take the long way or the short way to level end. You’ll need a bit of the old grey matter was well, as progress will be stopped by puzzles needing to be solved. However these shouldn’t prove too tricky for most gamers. Once you get to the end and defeat Captain Syrup (I swear I didn’t make that up) order can once again be restored.


There ain't no place like Super Wario Land


Everything about WarioLand 2 screams quality ; the graphics are big and bold which for a Game Boy game is quite something, the tunes are fittingly plinky-plonky and add charm, whilst the game play is pretty sensational. Some puzzles need some thinking but once the penny drops you’ll progress quite easily enough. It’s actually quite hard to fault this game at all !


Quite frankly one of the best hand held platform games there was. These types of games are ten-a-penny on the Game Boy but this is one of the top titles you should have.


VERDICT : A game I prefer to the Super Mario Land series, and a supreme title in every department.


NOTES : Dirt cheap to find – less than £2.00 on Amazon and round the same on eBay – so one game you really have no excuse for not owning.


UP NEXT : From the sublime to the frantic – Frostbite on the Atari 2600