Video Game: Wario Land: Shake It!
Wario shakes things up.Wario Land: Shake It!
(subtitled The Shake Dimension
in Europe and Australia) is a platform game
on the Nintendo Wii
, released in 2008. It's the only game in the Wario Land
series to be released on a home console instead of a handheld, excluding the 3D spin-off Wario World.
The game's main gimmick is that shaking the Wii Remote causes Wario to rapidly shake anything he's holding (such as a bomb, an enemy, or a sack of gold coins) or to perform an Earthshake Punch, a move that rattles the screen and causes various changes to Wario's environment.
The story concerns Captain Syrup stealing an ancient globe that turns out to be a portal to an alternate realm
called the Shake Dimension, inhabited by peaceful pixie-like creatures called Merfles but ruled by a ruthless Viking named the Shake King.
The Shake King has kidnapped the Shake Dimension's Queen Merelda and stolen the bottomless coin sack, a sack that never runs out of gold coins no matter how much you shake it. Captain Syrup mails the globe to Wario, who accidentally releases the only Merfle that managed to avoid capture at the hands of the Shake King. The Merfle explains his predicament and Wario agrees to lend a hand, ostensibly to rescue Queen Merelda, but actually because he has his eye on that bottomless coin sack.
Wario journeys across the five continents of the Shake Dimension, gathering coins, finding hidden treasures, and rescuing a Merfle at the end of each level. After freeing the captured Merfle, he must high-tail it back to the level's entrance before a timer runs out
and the Shake King appears to steal back his loot. Each continent has four regular levels, a boss fight, and up to three hidden levels accessed by finding hidden maps. Every level also has three to seven missions for Wario to complete, as well as three (often comical) treasures.
This game provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Wario, naturally. He couldn't care less about Queen Merelda—he's only interested in her bottomless coin sack. At the end of the game, he tosses her aside and heads right for the gold before she even finishes thanking him.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Bad Manors and Boogie Mansion.
- Bilingual Bonus: An obscure example. The sound "tl" is extremely prominent in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs (still spoken by some indigenous Mexicans today). It lends its name to Ratl Ruins and their boss, Rollanratl, himself based on the Aztec rain god Tlaloc.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Finding every hidden treasure in the game decks out Wario's garage in gold and riches.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you leave your controller untouched in the middle of a level, Wario gets antsy and mumbles, "C'mon, c'mon, pick it up and play already!"
- Buffy Speak: The "max fastosity dasherators," so named by Wario.
- The Bus Came Back: Captain Syrup, Wario's flirtatious rival, returns for the first time since Wario Land II (albeit as an ally and shopkeeper).
- Cargo Ship: Implied by the Kissing Stapler, one of the treasures in Jiggle Jungle. "The first in a line of office supplies for lonely workers."
- Comically Missing the Point: The Emerald Melon, as described in the game's treasure inventory.
A cruel hoax played on melon enthusiasts. Don't try to bite it—it'll only lead to heartbreak.
- Damsel in Distress: Queen Merelda.
- Darkest Africa: The second continent, Wiggly Wilds, is based on the African savanna.
- Dating Catwoman: Captain Syrup has a flirtatious personality, often calling Wario by affectionate nicknames. It's a ruse, naturally, as Syrup is using Wario as her stooge to get her hands on Queen Merelda's bottomless coin sack.
- Dub Name Change: In Europe and Australia, the boss of Jiggle Jungle is named Scumflower. For reasons unknown, his name was changed to Bloomsday in America.
- Flying Seafood Special: Large Fry appears to be some kind of fish.
- Far East: Mount Bighill and Bamboozle Village have a Chinese look to them.
- Floating Continent: Airy Tale Castle and Prism Prison. They also have a Greco-Roman aesthetic.
- The Goomba: Bandineros. They're actually completely harmless, as they can inconvenience Wario but not actually hurt him. They're mainly there to be a quick source of garlic, and occasionally to be used as projectiles by the player.
- Ground Pound: One of Wario's standard moves. It gets stronger if you jump off a sufficiently tall ledge before you use it.
- Hearts Are Health
- Hollywood Atlas: Every continent in the Shake Dimension is clearly inspired by a real place on Earth.
- Horny Vikings: The Shake King
- An Ice Person: If any snow falls on Wario, he becomes trapped in a snowball. His mobility is severely impaired, but he can roll along the ground destroying everything in his path. This is the only way to destroy certain icy barriers.
- Man-Eating Plant: Venus Guytraps.
- Man on Fire: Some fiery enemies can set Wario alight, but not actually hurt him. When on fire, he can only run very quickly in a single direction until he touches water or the fire consumes him entirely (harmlessly, for comic effect). Certain barriers cannot be destroyed unless you make use of this mechanic.
- Mayincatec: The first continent, Ratl Ruins, has a Central American theme.
- Megaton Punch: Wario's Earthshake Punch.
- Monster Clown: Chortlebot, "the first and last humor machine" and the boss of Rocking Range. He is a giant mechanical clown head.
- Pirate Girl: Captain Syrup.
- Potty Humor: Averted. The game's art director tried to emphasize Wario's masculinity and keep the usual sophomoric humor to a minimum. Wario still has funny animations and gets involved in plenty of slapstick, but his most prominent trait in Shake It! is his tremendous physical strength.
After Iíd played a bunch of the games in the series, I thought Wario was pretty manly. Heís so uncool that he ends up being extremely cool. Depending on the game, he can be coarseófarting and doing stuff like thatóbut I didnít want to show that side of him. As much as possible, I wanted to show a macho Wario, one who is masculine and tough. I asked the animators to emphasize strongly his manly characteristics. We built up this image step-by-step during the animation process.
- Punny Name: Almost every level has a groan-inducing pun for a name. Standouts include Bad Manors, the Chinese-inspired Bamboozle Village, Sneak Peak, and It's-All Mine. Similarly, the five continents of the Shake Dimension have a synonym for "shake" in their names: Rattle, Wiggle, Rock, Jiggle, and Quiver.
- Ribcage Ridge: Present in Stone Tooth Cave and It's-All Mine.
- Save The Queen: What the Merfles think Wario is doing in the Shake Dimension. In reality, he's only interested in her treasure.
- Shout-Out: Plenty of hidden treasures are allusions to other games and media. Some examples:
- The Really Tempting Apple, a treasure from Rocking Range, already has a bite in it, implying it's the famous fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (popularly depicted as an apple), with which Satan tempted Eve in the Book of Genesis. The Swine Pearls, another treasure, are a clear reference to one of Jesus's sayings from his Sermon on the Mount. Their description in your inventory even asks, "Why put one before the other?"
- Peach Sandals are "Sandals previously worn by a princess." Presumably, Princess Peach. The inventory description goes on to say, "They smell good. Suspiciously good." Make of that what you will.
- The Turtleskin Hat is highly reminiscent of the helmet worn by Fred Flintstone.
- Pandora's Box is one of the treasures in the game, found in Boogie Mansion.
- The Spiny: Bumbleprods.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Rollanratl's theme sounds remarkably similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme music. There are other musical shout-outs here and there; for example, the Soggybog River theme features the famous first ten notes from Eye of the Tiger.
- Timed Mission: Every level (except for Wavy Waters, Windbreak Bay, and Creep Blue Sea) require you to head back to the start as fast as you can after you rescue the local imprisoned Merfle. Take too long, and the Shake King appears to take back all that treasure you plundered. One of the missions in every level also requires you to make it back to the start even faster than that (for example, if the timer says five minutes, you may need to do it in less than three).
- Lowdown Depths and Launchpad Labyrinth are unique in that rescuing the Merfle is the first thing you do, forcing you to play the entire level under pressure.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Garlic, for Wario. It comes in big and small varieties, each replenishing different amounts of health.
- Viva Las Vegas: Glittertown and Neon City are based on Las Vegas. Curiously, their theme music is the Greenhorn Ruins theme from Wario World.
- The Wild West: The third continent, Rocking Range, is based on the southwestern United States. Wreck Train and Derailed Express are even set on cargo trains and have theme music highly reminiscent of classic Hollywood Westerns.