After establishing himself as a marketable character in Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land
and Wario Land 2
returned in May 2000 in Wario Land 3
exclusively for the Game Boy Color
. This sequel retained the best parts of WL2
and added some new features and challenges, making this a popular and fulfilling game worth exploring.
The story begins as Wario is out looking for treasure in his biplane, but tradgedy strikes as his plane crashes in the middle of the jungle. As he searches for help Wario comes across a hollowed out tree, and inside the tree is a snowglobe depicting a little group of cities. By some powerful magic Wario is whisked into the little world and is greeted by a mysterious figure. The figure explains that his six treasures have been stolen and scattered around the little world, and that if Wario can recover them he can keep any other treasures he finds. Always ready for some greed and adventure, Wario accepts.
Unlike the last Wario Land game which was divided into episodes, WL3 features a map screen that allows Wario to come and go as he pleases. As he accomplishes goals new levels open up and change. Wario's primary goal in each level is to obtain the key to the exit. There are four different keys: gray, green, red, and blue. Some keys are just sitting out in the open, while others are hidden away, and still others are held by powerful enemies. Wario can obtain as many keys as he likes during a level, but he can only exit through a single doorway, and thus any extra keys he's picked up will return to their resting places after he leaves the level. Thus each level must be played a minimum of four times in order to find each key and exit. Furthermore, it is typically not possible to play the level consecutively over and over to find the next key in the sequence. Wario will often have to find the first key and then not return for the second until after he completes other levels. It should also be noted that after each level day turns to night and vice-versa. Levels have different enemies and items in them according to the different time of day.
The secondary goal in the game is to find hidden treasures and powerups. Some treasures simply go to Wario's stash, but hidden among the treasure are powerups that add to Wario's collection of moves. The body slam from the previous WL games has returned, and as the game progresses Wario picks up the ability to swim, jump high, pound the ground, and much more. These new moves allow Wario to backtrack to previous levels and find other hidden keys. Also hidden among the treasures are items that open up new levels on the map screen. For example, one level holds a gear for a broken elevator. Finding the gear repairs the elevator and allows Wario to access a level hidden in the clouds.
The last goal in the game is to find the mysterious figure's lost treasures. These are earned by defeating a boss. If Wario is confused about what to do next he can return to the mysterious figure's shrine for advice and tips. On the other hand, he can ignore the advice and roam around the land to his heart's content, although he won't necessarily get anything done.
The transformations from Wario Land 2 have also returned. Once again Wario cannot die, but he will find himself being flattened, set on fire, zombified, inflated, and much more. Using these abilities is a key part to finding treasures and keys, although sometimes the transformations can be as much of a hinderance as a help.
Graphics and sound are crisp and clear for a GBC game, with the overall look of the game being sharper than Wario Land 2. Wario has clearly come of age in this title. Wario Land 3 is a fine addition to one's Game Boy Color library and should be easy to find in stores. Despite its sleeper status it was popular enough to warrent a sequel, Wario Land 4 for the Game Boy Advance.