Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Nintendo's bad-boy anti-mascot Wario has arrived on the Gamecube with his first next-generation adventure, Wario World. Designed by Treasure, this release lets gamers control the greedy character as he tries to recapture his loot from a variety of strange monsters. Wario World mixes traditional side-scrolling platforming action with interesting puzzles and interesting boss battles to create a quirky title that fits into the Nintendo pantheon nicely. However, the question is whether this tried and true formula can satisfy today's gamer. We take a look at the game and find out.

After enjoying much success on Nintendo's Game Boy platforms over the past few years, our hero Wario is taking it easy and enjoying the spoils of his previous adventures. However, one his many jewels turns out to be a lot more malicious than he expects it to be. This black jewel has turned Wario's many coins and treasures into monsters. In order to regain his wealth, Wario must travel to some strange and bizarre worlds to fight the hordes that have been unleashed. Warioworld takes place in a bizarre alternate world, with strange monsters and odd environments. As the game begins, you are placed inside Wario's castle and must travel to other worlds to recover the treasures. You enter a warp gate and are placed inside the other worlds, where you have to battle monsters, find crystals and other treasures. Once you've found enough crystals and located the right trap-door, you can then battle the bosses. The action mainly takes place in tightly controlled side-scrolling levels that offer limited depth of vertical movement. Using a fixed camera angle has advantages and disadvantages. One the one had, this approach makes Wario World feel a bit dated and constricting compared to the more modern 3D platformers that offer more open environments. However, given Wario World's simplistic gameplay, using a fixed angle actually works to the game's advantage, since it allows you to focus on the game itself, not the camera system. It's a mixed bag, and how you react depends on how much you enjoy old-school games or whether you're accustomed to state-of-the-art graphics and production values.

Despite the lack of camera movement, it doesn't mean that the gamer has a limited moves list. In addition to the usual running and jumping, Wario can climb ladders, jump onto moving platforms, jump onto platforms, grab enemies and perform special attacks such as piledrivers or spinning moves to keep them guessing. On each level, Wario faces a ton of monsters that he can defeat by simply punching or hitting them. While each may not be that difficult individually, the sheer number of foes can make for some intense battles. While Wario can outrun a lot of these enemies, this isn't a good strategy since the monsters release coins that Wario can pick up when he beats them. Fighting the standard monsters is fairly easy, but there are harder ones that go after him with sticks and bats. For these characters, he'll have to use more advanced techniques to defeat and can use his pile-driver or butt-bounce moves. In addition to these moves, Wario can grab and hold objects or enemies then throw them around at other foes, or use them to break locked doors and discover hidden areas. Wario can also use his vacuum breath to suck up treasures from around himself. There are also sticky balls and balloons that Wario can use to get through tougher areas and transport himself through the levels much faster. There are various switches in each level that he can pull that can open up new areas or unlock extra items. These include bonus treasures and even levels from WarioWare that players can download into their GBA using the link cables.

In addition, each level features numerous trap doors, there are several types of these. These can lead to simple areas where Wario gets extra coins, but they usually lead into a puzzle area. These puzzle levels take place in full 3D, and require Wario to complete a simple task. While they're relatively simple, they make a nice break from the action. Some of these reward Wario with crystals that he can use to unlock the final boss battle. While only a few crystals are needed on to unlock boss battles on the first level, more are needed as you progress. Despite the simplicity of their design, Wario World's levels are quite large and will take awhile to complete, especially later on. Players will face off with numerous enemies who will stop at nothing to hurt Wario. His heart meter goes down each time he's hit, but Wario can earn more by finding heart pieces, and can also buy more at by using the garlic plants he'll find. In addition to the treasures he finds while the moves are relatively simple to perform, you can earn extra coins and treasure by chaining moves together.

Wario World's visuals showcase the expected amount of polish with light-sourcing, weather effects and even some realistic water. Overall, the visuals are decent, making for a nice-looking title with occasionally inspired level designs and cool characters that give Wario World a unique feel. Wario's movements and attitude are conveyed with expressive animations that bring him to life. The monsters are interesting to look at as well, with a quirky look and feel to them that makes the game's aesthetics fall outside the norm. Most of the environments take place in castles or jungles and are rendered with some nicely detailed objects. Once you get a bit deeper into the game, things veer towards the bizarre in the boss-levels and extra areas. These levels can be a bit strange, and their disconcerting nature seems to be by design since it deliberately adds to the challenge. The music is appropriately off-key and fits the quirky nature of Wario World perfectly, with decent voice acting that further brings Wario's personality to the forefront. Unfortunately, despite its Treasure lineage, Wario World doesn't quite live up to the standards set by other Gamecube titles such as Super Mario Sunshine or even Luigi's Mansion thanks largely to the predictable level designs. This is doubly disappointing considering the developers and their source material. Still, there are definitely some moments where inspiration shines through, but there's just isn't enough of them.

Even with the solid controls, excellent graphics and interesting character designs, Wario World has a huge Achilles Heel and that is its length and difficulty. Most levels are simply designed making them easy to traverse, while offering little challenge for experienced players. The enemies are numerous, but they don't offer a lot of variety in their attacks. This becomes repetitive quickly, making it easy to anticipate their moves. Most of Wario's foes can be dispatched with simple movements. The addition of puzzle areas and boss fights adds to the longevity somewhat, but isn't enough to make up for the overall short length. Most gamers should be able play through in a weekend without much effort. Even though this is fun while it lasts and solidly constructed platformer with quirky character designs, the lack of depth is quite glaring and makes for a game that ends up falling short of the initial promise. Wario World's short length makes it a decent rental, but certainly not something you'd want to pay full price for.

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