Content of the article: "Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is A Lot Harder than I Remember"
So I've never played all the way through the original Wario Land. I've previously beaten Mario Land 1 and 2, but never this one, so I thought I might as well do a quick run through and see how it fares. Trust me when I say that excluding the end castle level, even Mario Land 2 was a cakewalk in comparison to 3.
So the goal in this game is to collect as much money as possible. If you max out your money pool, you get the best ending. Collecting secret treasures add to your money pool at the very end, so really you need to collect all the treasures and a certain amount of money (I won't spoil how much) to get the best ending.
What makes this game hard in particular are how the levels are designed, especially near the beginning when you haven't found any places to farm lives or coins. There was one level where you're riding a minecart ready to jump to the next platform, then an enemy swoops down below you, making you jump on it by accident and losing your initial jump, falling into the pits below.
If you die, you lose all of the coins you collected for that level. As frustrating as that is, it's even more frustrating when you lose all your lives and realize that half of your money is gone. Yup, if you don't collect any secret treasures, you lose half of your money if you lose all of your lives. My first playthrough I lost about 1500 coins losing all my lives. Late game it's not a big deal, you just lose a treasure and that's it, you just have to go back and get it if you remember where it was. You can also find secret areas to farm lives and money if you know where to find them. But during the early game, it's absolutely ruthless.
I should also mention that if you're up to farm coins for the best ending, it takes forever. I was less than half of the amount that I needed to get the best ending by the end of the game, so I had to go back to the secret level to farm. It's quick, it takes me a good 30 seconds to beat, but it only gives me 90 coins per run. If I wanted it to go faster, I would have to risk them in a minigame. The coin minigame has 2 buckets with pullstrings that you can pull. One of them has a coin bag which doubles your money, and the other one has a weight which cuts your money in half. You can play it 3 times, and it's 50/50 every time. I've heard there was a trick to it on some forum, but as far as I know it's completely random. It's super frustrating to have your money cut down from 90 coins to 23 because you risked it in the minigames and you have no one to blame but yourself. It does feel good to max out at over 700, though.
As frustrating as it is, it's a great game, bosses are fun and creative, the powerups are cool, and it's a great start for the Wario Land series which only got better from there. In terms of some of the best classic Gameboy games (before GBC), I'd say that excluding Pokemon that this is up there with Donkey Kong as one with the most content. It seriously took me over 10 hours to beat it, a few hours more than Mario Land 2. If you don't mind how frustrating it can be sometimes and you're a fan of Wario, I'd say check it out.
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