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June 24, 2020
While Mario & crew have seen a variety of spin-offs over the years, Wario's first starring adventure is worth taking a look back on.

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3



Hot off the success of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Nintendo RD1 took the opportunity to release a platformer starring their own creation -- Wario.  As the yellow-clad anti-plumber, run and jump through levels, hurl your enemies to their doom, and find the hidden treasures.  Your ultimate goal is to gather enough treasure to build yourself a gigantic castle, and to do that you'll need to "liberate" the golden statue of Princess Toadstool from the Brown Sugar Pirates and their leader, Captain Syrup.

Like Super Mario Land 2, Wario Land features an overworld map with plenty of sublocations to explore.  Gathering treasure and coins is important, and you'll money not only to build your castle at the end, but to unlock hidden rooms, save the game, and even to use as a weapon -- at any point in the game, you can hurl your OWN coins at enemies to kill 'em.  Don't waste too much of your cash, or you might only be able to build a squalid little shack at the end of the game.

While this game is officially "Super Mario Land 3," it really serves as the first in the Wario Land series.  It does have more in common with the Mario platformers than later titles, though: power-up blocks provide garlic pots that act much as the Super Mushroom, upgrading "small Wario" into the full-size Wario we all know.  Further upgrades allow Wario to ram through enemies and blocks, shoot fire from his hat, or even soar through the skies -- the only other Wario game to feature this power-up system is Virtual Boy Wario Land.  In addition, this game features the weirdly familiar "Gooms" -- they look a lot like the Goomba (Galoombas?) from Super Mario World, and serve as the generic foe; hop on their heads to knock them over, and toss them at other enemies.

It's worth noting that Mario does make a small cameo in this game.  If Wario succeeds in defeating Captain Syrup's forces, Mario will fly in to carry off the statue of Princess Toadstool before Wario can collect it, waving as he flies away.

Yeah, Mario's kind of a jerk in this game.

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