A Super Mario Bros. spinoff. Specifically, a spinoff of the handheld original Mario titles Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. They largely supplanted the original handheld sidescrolling Mario series, which would not be revived until New Super Mario Bros., more than a decade later.The Wario Land series centers on Mario's Evil Counterpart, Wario, in the search for treasure. The games play somewhat similarly to the Mario Bros series, with a few notable exceptions. Wario is much stronger than the Mario Bros., so many of the games revolve around object manipulation and combat. Wario can pick up enemies and objects to attack and solve puzzles, and generally has butt-stomp and charge attacks to deal with enemies. While you can breeze through each level to reach the goal, usually every stage has a number of hidden treasures that must be found on alternate routes to reach 100% completion and the best ending. Instead of Mario, Wario's nemesis in these games is usually Captain Syrup, a Femme Fatale pirate captain and her army of goblin-like pirates.Like Mario, Wario usually has a variety of power-ups which give him alternate abilities. Unlike Mario, Wario usually has to be hit by an enemy to "power up" and they are usually used for solving puzzles rather than getting from A to B.The series thus far includes:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Two in Crescent Moon Village in Wario Land 4: one in Arabian Nights in said game and one in the Golden Passage in the same game. Averted in 3: the sewer in one level is a single room.
Accidental Hero: Wario. Saving the world is just a fortunate side effect of his treasure-hunting.
Achievement System: Wario Land Shake It has multiple challenges for each level and boss battle that can be optionally completed. Once all are completed for a level/boss battle, the music for said level/boss is added to the Sound Test.
Acrofatic: Wario is a far faster and more agile character than you'd expect from someone so overweight, being able to swing extremely high from bars and vines, jump rather high in normal and some other forms, and when shot from a machine in The Shake Dimension, run fast enough to glide across water. Although in Wario Land 2, 3, and 4, one enemy's Status Buff is to make you even fatter so you can break certain blocks by jumping on them.
Of the early Super Mario franchise as a whole. The Wario Land franchise takes a minor element of the original series — collecting coins for points and lives — and makes it the central aspect of its own — collecting coins for vast, unmitigated profit.
Wario's Power-Ups are another example of this. In the first game they work very much like the classic Super Mario ones with a much more thuggish theme — Wario's answer to the Super Mushroom is the Garlic Pot, his standard power-up form (Bull Wario) is obtained by obtaining a Bull Pot (or another Garlic Pot if already Normal-sized), and he also has Dragon and Jet forms. In the latter games, instead of being parodies of specific types of power-up, the series parodies power-ups as a trope, with many of Wario's special abilities being a reaction to some enemy's attack: Bouncy Wario (if walloped by a hammer), Crazy (Drunk) Wario (whose breath in the second game is so toxic it kills enemies), Fat Wario (who is so obese that he can shatter all but the sturdiest of floors), Flat Wario (if crushed by a giant weight), Hot Wario (in which Wario is literally set on fire, which eventually grows to consume his entire body), Frozen or Ice Skatin' Wario (encased in some foe's ice-breath), and Zombie Wario (guess) are all typical examples. The only real "power-up" by 3 is Vampire Wario, for which Wario still needs to be beaten.
Always Night: Crescent Moon Village, Uncanny Mansion, Hotel Horror, Arabian Night, Bad Manor, Boogie Mansion, Shake King's Shakedown Schooner. Generally averted in Wario Land 3, with its night/day mechanic, but the East side of the music box also fits this trope (until Wario collects the two sun fragments and allows the sun to rise on this side, at least).
Anti-Hero: Wario doesn't mind helping people out... as long as the price is right.
Captain Syrup manipulates Wario all through Shake It, and doesn't suffer any repercussions for it...unless unlimited wealth counts.
Baleful Polymorph: In 3 and 4. In 3, the entire population of the Music Box world was turned into the monsters Wario beats up throughout the game by Rudy the Clown. In 4, Princess Shokora was transformed into the Black Cat by the Golden Diva after she lost in a magic duel. In both cases, the transformations happen before the events of the games, and are undone when Wario kicks the Big Bads' asses.
Batman Gambit: Syrup pulls off a nice one at the end of Shake It, having manipulated Wario to save the Shake Dimension and gather treasure...but the Shake Dimension had to give her the endless coin sack for consolation, and took Wario's treasure with it.
Beam Spam: The Shake King in the final form of the final battle in the Shake Dimension somehow has the ability to fire HUGE laser beams and lightning bolts pretty much everywhere. Which is somewhat unexpected, considering the character and what not.
Catchphrase: "HURRY UP!" It was even made into an emblem on the back of his biker jacket in Brawl.
Cash Gate: The exits of most levels in 1 require a 10-coin to open.
Characterization Marches On: Wario himself started out as nothing but a jealous Mario wannabe, who hypnotised Mario's allies and tried to take his place. Starting from Wario Land, he eventually received different character traits, most notably his greed and lack of manners. He also Took a Level in Badass, as he'd now use more direct fighting moves and develop a tougher attitude. Strangely enough, this happened as he became less of a villain and more of an Anti-Hero.
Chekhov's Exhibit: The Shake Dimension Globe. Lasts about four minutes in the museum in the intro cut scene.
Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!, which is really just the western release of a Bomberman game with Wario added to increase sales. This doesn't stop the fans from attributing the game more to Wario than Bomberman. Top billing has that kind of power.
Damage Discrimination: Oddly enough, in The Shake Dimension, it's positive towards Wario and rather cruel towards the enemies. Because you know, nothing instantly kills Wario, but nearly anything that hurts him, such as obstacles or boss attacks, will completely vapourise any enemy that's in the way. As will water for some reason.
Early Installment Weirdness: The original game and VB Wario Land are more linear and contain more elements of its parent series (lives, shrinking down when hit, powerups from blocks, etc.) Starting with Wario Land II, the series dropped those elements and became more based on exploration. (And Wario wasn't killable again until Wario Land 4.) (Well, except for one attack from 3's Final Boss.)
Everything's Better with Penguins: The boss of Sherbet Land is a spiked hat and boxing gloves wearing penguin. There are also basic enemies called Pengoons in the Shake Dimension, and the Penkoons from the original were half penguin, half raccoon hybrids.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Everything. Cuckoo Condor being one of the most obvious examples. For those who haven't played the game: It's also a giant flying cuckoo clock. Which fires lighting and buzzsaws at you. The second form of the boss fires eggs at you, which will either explode if you catch them and hold them for too long, or hatch into ducklings, which will chase you and explode.
In the first game, Wario himself plays like an evil counterpart to Mario.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: Syrup Castle in Wario Land 1 and 2 is a HUGE skull shaped castle on a nearly-as-high mountain. So big a place, in fact, it's got a whole FIVE levels set inside it in the second game, and one of those is just finding the entrance.
Bloomsday (Scumflower in PAL territories) to Roger the Potted Ghost. Both are bosses rooted in pots which must be pushed off of their arena platform into the bottomless pit behind it (or in Bloomsday's case, the pool of water surrounding the arena).
Fake Difficulty: All over Wario Land 2 and 3. When the hero can't die, all you can really do is annoy him. In particular, most of the bosses have a way to kick Wario out of the fight and make him start over... and over... and over...
Feed It a Bomb: You have to feed bombs to both the evil treasure chests and the boss Large Fry in Shake It! to defeat them.
Foregone Victory: Wario Land II and 3 had the unique feature of Wario never dying, but simply being pushed away (off a high-up platform, away from a boss...). This did have one exception; being crushed by the Final Boss in Wario Land 3would kill you, complete with Game Over screen.
Frictionless Ice: In Wario Land The Shake Dimension, ice blocks when punched on ice don't stop, but interestingly, many of the puzzles require you to stand in front of them and jump on them while they're moving to reach higher platforms.
Frothy Mugs of Water: In Wario Land II, birds throw beer bottles; in the U.S. version, this was changed to "crazy balls". Wario Land 3 averts the trouble in both versions by changing it to a spun-around "Dizzy Wario".
Greed: Wario in both this and WarioWare, and practically every major villain in the series has this as a defining trait.
Ground Pound: A standard move in many of the games in the series, with Wario Land 4 and Shake Dimension also having a powered up version if you use the move from a higher enough place.
Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The first three/four games (depending if you count the Virtual Boy one). The bosses aren't all easy, but many of them are, and compared to the maze like levels they're found in, the battles are the least of your troubles.
Human Snowball: Snowman Wario after stepping on a slope. Yep, he doesn't even need to be skiing or going fast to become an out-of-control giant snowball, just standing on any slightly sloped ground will do until he hits a wall.
Indy Escape: Common in Wario Land 1 and The Shake Dimension.
Interface Screw: The aforementioned Drunk/Crazy Wario and Dizzy Wario meander back and forth and are difficult to stop.
Iron Buttmonkey: Wario. In fact, it's even used as a game mechanic; you have to do some pretty crazy things to your character to get past some obstacles in the second and third games.
It's the Journey That Counts: Every bit of subtext in the games imply this; as the page quote illustrates, the background and scenery are very mellow backdrops for Wario's adventures, and his endless quest for money is often either fruitless or a Pyrrhic Victory. Wario, however, is far too tenacious to ever take the implied lesson to heart.
Jungle Japes: Monsoon Jungle and Mystic Lake in Wario Land 4, the entire area of Jiggle Jungle in Wario Land Shake Dimension.
Large And In Charge: Averted by Captain Syrup in the first games, pretty much defined by Rudy the Clown and the Shake King in the later games, and used to a degree by the Golden Diva and Black Jewel in some of the other games.
Lethal Lava Land: Stove Canyon in Wario Land 1 and Fiery Cavern, the third level of the Sapphire Passage in 4.
Level Goal: A skull-marked door in the original and a door with flashing star symbols above it in Wario Land 2.
The twist ending of 3. The banished devil Rudy the Clown, in the guise of the spirit of the temple, talks Wario into retrieving the 4 magic music boxes and using them for escaping the music box world. Rudy obviously tries to use them to free himself.
Wario has a long history with this trope. In Wario Land 1, he destroys Castle Syrup to reveal the Golden Peach statue, only for Mario to appear and snatch it right then and there. Wario even cries afterwards. Poor guy.
Made of Iron: One of the awesome things about most of the Wario Land games is that to solve many of the puzzles and levels, Wario has to get some sort of condition, like being lit on fire or stung by an insect which puffs him up. It's meant to be an opposite to Mario being able to smash every enemy he comes past.
Practically all the character, enemy and boss names, but the most glaringly obvious has to be Catbat from Wario Land 4... which is pretty much a cat/bat hybrid. Or the Wario Land Shake It! level called Mount Bighill.
Wario's name is meaningful as well, a portmanteau of the Japanese word warui, meaning "bad", and Mario. The most approximate translation would be "Bad-io." (English gamers who aren't familiar with "warui" are more likely to think that Wario's name indicates a war-like nature.)
Mini-Boss: The first game has one in the final level. There's a Knight that walks around back and fourth that you have to hit 3 times to kill before you can move on to the final boss, and the first two times you hit him he charges after you for a little bit.
Multiple Endings: What new home the genie creates for Wario at the end of the original game is determined by your amount of coins and treasures collected.Wario Land II has several, but most aren't any better than each other. You also get some bonus images for collecting all the treasures in Wario Land 3. How many of the treasures you earned for quickly beating the bosses at the end of Wario Land 4 determines what form Princess Shokora takes, and what bonus images are received at the end of the credits and what vehicle Wario is driving during them is determined by the difficulty level of the file.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Wario is pretty much made of diamond in every aspect, amplified by Wario Land II or 3 which made him COMPLETELY invincible to damage or being killed. Most damage also won't do more than one heart of damage to him in the games with a health bar, instant kill obstacles are completely nonexistent after the first game, and hey, anything that transforms him, like being set on fire, frozen solid, squashed flat, or the like, is completely harmless to him. Actually, it IS possible to die in Wario Land 3, but you simply have to be caught by the hands of Rudy the Clown. But that just takes you back to the world map. It could freak you out to think it's a real game over, especially after it saves after the scene. Even in Wario Land 1, the only things that can actually hurt Wario are the sharp parts of the enemy (IE: If he bumps into a spear-wielding Goom from behind, he will stun it as opposed to taking damage), and fire/plamsa-based substances. In fact, 90% of all things that actually CAN hurt you in this series fall into either category. For a character in the Mario universe, that's still very resilient.
Nintendo Hard: Gurgle Gulch and Launchpad Labyrinth in Shake Dimension, among others.
Orcus on His Throne: Captain Syrup in Wario Land 1, although averted in 2, as well as the Shake King in Wario Land: Shake It! They basically do a whole lot of evil stuff (sometimes off camera/in cut scenes), send hordes of minions after Wario, and personally just sit around in the darkness waiting for Wario to walk through the door for the final boss battle.
Power-Up Food: Garlic gives Wario different effects depending on the game. Most of the time, it restores health. However, garlic in the first game restores him to normal after being shrunk from a hit, if he's already big then it gives him a Bull Cap. In Wario Land 3, it's a one-off treasure that permanently powers up his bashing attack. In others, eating too much turns Wario into "Fat Wario," who can defeat any enemy by touching it and break through hard blocks.
Promoted to Playable: This is where it all really started for Wario, though he'd been playable once before in Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!
Shell Game: The Virtual Boy Wario Land had one where Wario could gamble what coins he's collected. He had to choose the right container to get more coins out of two, three or four—the more containers he had to choose from, the higher the payout if the right one was chosen.
Slasher Smile: Cractus and Spoiled Rotten, both from Wario Land 4. Wario himself for that matter.
Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: Between Fantastic and Surreal, usually borderline. Of course, it depends on the level and game. Some early games are fairly standard fantasy, and then you've got The Big Board, the Very Definitely Final Chapter, Doodle Woods and Fiery Cavern. You've got the fairly usual scale in enemies too, pirates and man eating plants? Fantastic or Unusual. Cuckoo Condor, Aerodent, Large Fry and Killer Dolphins? Definitely Surreal. That's without counting Wario's Woods or Wario Blast...
Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: It doesn't just fall on the silly end, it pretty much defines it. Don't honestly expect ANYTHING to be treated dramatically, and expect some really, really weird characters and places.
The Spiny: There's literally an enemy almost exactly like the Mario series Spiny in the fourth and fifth games. Interestingly enough, if you look closely, the ones in Wario Land 4 look a lot like yellow Kirbys with spiky helmets.
In Wario Land 4 and Shake It!, finishing a level required hitting a switch then running back to the level's start. 4 had a timer to get back, and if it ran out, your coins would be rapidly leeched away; if those ran out, the level ended in failure. Shake It! just gave you bonuses based on how quickly you got through the level.
Wario Land 1 also had a timer, but it was large enough that it almost never runs out in a casual run.
Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: Very low in most of the games. Heck, in the latest game, you don't have to see the intro or ending more than once, and after the first time it's just an optional extra to be viewed in a media room.
Tremor Trampoline: Happens every time the screen shakes. Even Wario himself is capable of doing this to most of his enemies by Ground Pounding. However, in 3, he can't do this after first obtaining the ability to Ground Pound; he has to collect a certain power-up later on before being able to bounce his enemies like in 1 and 2.
A Twinkle in the Sky: Exactly what happens to the second boss, Hot Roderick in Shake It. Courtesy of a boxing glove to the face from Wario's unicycle.
Also a few levels in the original (Sherbet Land for an ice-themed variant, and SS Tea Cup levels as a mix of this and Gangplank Galleon), and Wario Land 4 had Mystic Lake, which despite not being the sea, had the kind of wildlife more likely found in a Pacific Ocean coral reef.
Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Chortlebot in Shake It. Even for a robot clown (a pretty creepy concept in itself), this thing is way creepier than probably needed and has enough weapons to take down an army (like the flamethrower or circular saw). And laughs manically as it attempts to kill Wario.
One of the possible missions in the levels of Shake It! is to clear the stage without killing any enemies. While directly killing them counts as a fail, the game has no problem with, say, knocking them out and leaving them on top of carnivorous plants.
In the first game, you can throw any of the smaller Mooks underneath a "Pouncer" or into a lightning bolt, and you'll get 10x the coins for your trouble.
Villain Protagonist: In the original game, as his motivation was to steal Mario's statue of Princess Peach back from Captain Syrup so he could hold it for ransom. The later games make him more of an Anti-Hero.
Most transformations, especially setting Wario on fire and the like to solve puzzles.
The Final Boss of 4. When the Diva's face is crying and throws spiked hammers, you must wait for the hammer to retract its spikes, pick it up, throw it in the air and hit yourself in the head with it. Only then is Wario in a state where he can damage her. If you figured out on the first try that this is what you had to do, without doing it by accident, you're lying.
Waddling Head: Gooms, Pirate Gooms, bird type creatures and Bandineros.
Spoiled Rotten in 4. Becomes a Wake-Up Call Boss if you're playing on the hidden S-Hard mode; the alotted time is cut to a mere 15 seconds. It's possible to win without items, but it may take a few tries.
What Could Have Been: When Good-Feel was first approached about developing what would become Shake It!, their original idea for Wario was a Western-style shooter, until Nintendo told them to stick to platforming.
World of Chaos: This is by far not a series that makes a whole deal of sense. Basically take the Hollywood Atlas, the Super Mario Bros. stuff and various randomness that makes it nearly a Widget Series in some respects, throw it into a blender, and you've got what's in some of the Wario Land games.