Yeah, I know the Wario in Smash is very much based on the WarioWare series of games, complete with levels and music and logo, but… I just haven’t played them. Well, I played one with a friend once, but I barely remember it. I think it was fun though! So rather than ignore Wario entirely I thought I’d cover his debut game instead, Super Mario Land 2 on the good old Gameboy. I mean, his original costume from this era is selectable in the Smash series after all, so it’s not a complete cop-out! Let’s take a look…
There he is… in his massive glory, apparently…
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, to give its full title, came out in Japan on October 21st 1992, with a North American release the following month, and a European release in January 93.
While being the sequel to a popular handheld game and generally a really good game by itself, Super Mario Land 2 is mostly recognised for being the debut game for Wario, a soon-to-be recurring character in the Mario series, and eventually gaining his own series. Two series, really, in WarioWare and Wario Land. Who would have though the most unoriginal thing ever of an evil doppelgänger would lead to such a long run!
Looks like Mario to me!
It plays like regular Mario! Get from one end of the stage to the other, using platforms and power-ups, while either avoiding enemies or killing them by jumping on their head, mainly. Along with the Super Mushroom (get bigger and can take a hit without dying), Fire Flower (can fire fireballs) and Starman (temporary invincibility) there is also the Magic Carrot, which turns Mario into Bunny Mario, able to jump higher, jump repeatedly in the air, and gently hover back to the ground using his large ears.
You also collect coins, which can be used to play mini-games rather than getting a 1up for 100 coins, find hidden areas and generally keep hitting those “?” blocks. Like Mario 3 and Mario World, there is an overhead view map where you can move in between levels, and in Mario Land 2’s case, even chose which of the six zones to do in any order the player wishes. At the end of each zone is a boss, and after you beat the six bosses and gain the six Golden Coins, you face Wario three times to beat the game. There are several hidden areas as well.
Graphics and Sound:
Mario walks across Mario Land after having taken down a large Mario robot… Mario!
For a Gameboy game the graphics are good. The sprites are chunky and quite detailed, the backgrounds are often more than just static lines, and the levels are really well designed, often going vertically as well as horizontally. It’s a really nice looking game for the system.
The soundtrack is good, though most may not be as memorable as some of the classic Mario tunes, it’s far from bad and some are still quite catchy. Sound effects are all the classic Mario sounds you know and love. Once again Nintendo got the most out of their own hardware.
Mario doing his best to kill as many innocent creatures it takes to get back to his lavish castle…
While Mario was away in Sarasaland (Mario Land 1) Wario moved into his large castle island (?!) and put a spell on the door so Mario couldn’t get into his apparent huge living place. In order to break the spell Mario needs to run around his own land, where the residents have been tricked into thinking Wario is the real Mario and Mario is an imposter, and collect six Golden Coins guarded by six allies of Wario.
Mario does indeed gain the coins, get into his castle and jump on Wario’s head repeatedly until he buggers off. That’s the last we hear of Mario’s apparent castle island…
The map is certainly varied, that’s for sure!
This was THE game I played to death on the Gameboy. Sure, I played the original Mario Land quite a bit, I played Tetris, Fortified Zone, Crash Test Dummies (just me?) and quite a few other games, but this I played to death! It was the choice of levels meaning if I got stuck I could play on another stage, and the general look of the game for a handheld. It got top marks from me!
Mario and a Piranha Plant… two Smash characters in one screenshot, and neither of them are Wario…
Now? It’s still a really good Mario game! Great levels, gameplay and general look. Admittedly I’m now playing on a PC monitor rather than my Gameboy (which I could still do, I think it still works…) so it feels different, but not bad by any means. Sure there are many other better Mario games, but that doesn’t take away much from Mario Land 2…