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Wario Land II

Platform: Gameboy Color

By ROBB GUIDO

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 1999


Nintendo may not be Numero Uno at the moment, but it is still the only game company that can routinely re-release games for big profits.

Even if you own Wario Land II in black and white, you'll revel in the chance to play it again in color. On the other hand, if you missed Wario Land II the first time, you're in for a vivid surprise.

While Wario II has no new levels, colorization brings the game back to life and will grab the attention of Gameboy Color owners. Wario is packed with great game play, alternate courses and multiple endings. As typical with Nintendo games, there also is a pair of mini-games that will have you straining not to blink.

Wario uses a novel concept. Because W-man is a villain, kind of the evil version of Mario, he possesses his share of invincibility. This makes it impossible for Wario, the lead character, to die. Instead, Wario must crash through walls, make harrowing jumps and avoid raging rapids that will take him back to the beginning of a stage, all in an attempt to regain his treasure (which he stole in the first place).

Without being able to kill Wario, Nintendo resorts to clever means to frustrate players. For instance, a boss may knock you off the screen, forcing you to find your way back to him. Players also are challenged to find treasures hidden in out-of-the-way places, and the gamemakers have carefully hidden exits to alternative levels and endings.

Nintendo delivers solid graphics and sound to complement the game's sterling control, and the color palette of Gameboy Color is used well, considering makers basically did a touch-up job. Future games will use Gameboy Color's capabilities more adeptly.

If you can take but one game on the road with you this month and you've already beaten Zelda for Gameboy, then Wario Land II should make an excellent Thelma to your Louise.

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