Saturday, June 19, 2010

Video game number one hundred and sixty nine: Wario Land: Shake It!

Video game review number one hundred and sixty nine in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is"Wario Land: Shake It".

Wario is sort of a jerk. I imagine that the folks at Nintendo were probably watching old Star Trek re-runs one night, and saw Captain Kirk's alter-ego from another dimension pop out, along with Spock and his badass goatee. They might have been under the influence or something, and probably said to themselves: "Hey, what if there was an "evil" Mario?". "He'd be just like Mario, only...meaner." That's how I imagine Wario being created.

The first time I remember being introduced to Wario was back in the 1990's, when he starred in his own little adventure games. Eventually, he made his way to Mario Kart 64, and that's where he'll live in infamy as far as I'm concerned. Wario's voice in that game is going to be stuck in my brain forever. I never used his character for more than a few rounds at a time (I prefer Toad and the smaller karts), but he was always there...declaring "I'm Wario, and Im'a gonna win!". When he died, all you'd hear was "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH". I sometimes find myself spouting his lines while driving, or during other games....or just in every day conversation. For me, Wario's catch phrases have lasted for well over a decade, which is a lot more than I can say for Bart Simpson, Austin Powers, Wayne's World, Beavis and Butthead...or almost any other cultural event that wound it's way into my speech in the 1990's.

Wario is rad.

Although I can't say I was a huge fan of the Wario platformers, I have played some of them before (including a particularly good one on the original Gameboy called "Wario Land". This game reminds me a lot of that, only updated for the Wii (and in color of course).

You control Wario, who is minding his own business when some little creature asks him for help rescuing the queen of his people. Wario isn't interested, until the little guy mentions that the bad guy has ALSO stolen their treasure (a bag of coins that never empties, no matter how much you shake it). That entices Wario to take the job.

The levels are straightforward enough. You hold the Wiimote sideways, like a classic NES controller, but you're required to do some of the retarded Wii gimicks in order to pull off some of his special moves. Running, jumping and attacking are all normal, but if you want to grab coins, bash blocks or open doors, you have to waggle the Wiimote around like a moron.

This game highlights the feature that annoys me the most about the Wii. If Nintendo gave you an option to turn off the "waggle" in games where it doesn't make sense to you, that would be great. Unfortunately, they apparently think everyone bought their console because they want to shake their controller around all the time, even while playing the most basic of platformer games.

I'm not one of those people.

I enjoy the motion control games on the Wii when they're done correctly, but I primarily bought this system because it's the newest Nintendo console, and that meant it would be the only place I could play the newest Mario games. When I'm playing those games, I don't mind some new technology being thrown in, but if it completely dominates the game, and takes away what actually made the game fun (instead of adding to it)...that's when I lose interest.

This game has an interesting enough story, the levels are fun...and they remind me of the classic Mario (and Wario) games from the 1990's. Unfortunately, having to shake my stupid controller every five seconds to pull off even the most basic of moves was enough to make me completely annoyed with the game after only a few hours.

Overall Score? 6/10. The game had all the right ingredients to have been a perfect homage to some of the best games I played when I was younger. Were it not for the stupid control scheme, I would have played through this one until I beat it. As it stands, I'm simply not interested in continuing. If you're someone who enjoys the novelty of shaking your controller around to accomplish things that would be easier if they were mapped to a single button, this is the game for you. In fact, it could be a nine! If you're more old school, and you think the motion sensing stuff should only be used in party-style games....this is probably a pass.

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