Wario Land 4 Review by: Totts
Not since Super Mario Bros. have I been so filled with wonder and excitement when I discover a new secret or accidentally stumble across a new room. Remember how it felt the first time you found a Warp Zone or jumped and a block appeared out of thin air in the original Super Mario? Thatís exactly the way I felt while playing each and every level in Warioland 4. Some secrets are so well hidden that it takes blind luck to find them. In one level I was just running around areas I had already been through when I was about to slam into a rock wall. I pushed the other direction to slow down, but to no avail I went crashing into it, or at least that was what I was expecting. Instead, the wall simply dissolved into thin air and I entered a secret chamber where a huge diamond was hiding. Mine for the taking! Other levels have those trademark Nintendo hints that let you know thereís something just out of your reach. After much exploring you may finally figure out the puzzle, but sometimes it will remain a mystery until a second or third time throughÖ.
Graphically the game looks fantastic. The game is insanely colorful and the sprites are well animated. Wario himself has many different incarnations throughout the game, but you can always tell itís him thanks to the wonderful artwork and trademark features of the big guy. The graphics are very sharp and clean looking on all of the levels, but most important of all the screen is fairly bright so you donít have to have floodlights on to see the action. The game is loaded with parallax scrolling, sprite scaling, and other graphic touches to show off the GBAís power as well. In many instances some of the backgrounds reminded me a bit of Super Metroid. Maybe itís just the art direction, but Iíd be interested to hear if anyone else feels the same way. Perhaps some of the same people worked on both games? Needless to say the graphics are superb and the many different areas of the game all look great.
The sound is a real surprise. Itís actually the first thing that I noticed about the game since in the introduction youíll hear vocals in the soundtrack. Granted, itís not the best voice ever heard in a game, but itís really cool to hear vocals in a soundtrack on a Game Boy system. Other stages have vocals in the background music as well, and while theyíre usually in Japanese, it somehow fits the game perfectly. Hidden in each stage is a CD that you can find to listen to the background music anytime you like. Warioís trademark laughing is back, but it does sound a bit different from the awesome Mario Kart 64 voice. Perhaps they used a different voice, or maybe the sound chip in the GBA just couldnít do the job well. Whatever the case, it sounds good enough and isnít as overbearing as those found in Mario Advance.
When all is said and done, this game simply rocks. Nintendo has struck gold again with Warioland 4. Itís so much fun to play and is yet another 2D game on the GBA that is a must-have. If you have never before played a Warioland game, this is still a perfect place to start. After trying it out I guarantee that youíll be checking out the older versions on Game Boy Color to see what youíve been missing over the past 8 years. If you crave some great 2D action, look no further, Warioland 4 stands far and above any other platformer on the system.