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Video Game / Wario Land 3

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Wario Land 3 (subtitled The Mysterious Music Box in Japan) is the third game in the Wario Land series (not counting Virtual Boy Wario Land), released in 2000 for the Game Boy Color.

While Wario is riding in his airplane over a forest, its engine randomly explodes, causing him to crash in the middle of said woods. While looking through the first cave he sees for help he finds a music box just lying about, only to be warped inside when he picks it up. There he wakes up inside a temple and meets a hidden figure, who tells him that he was once the god of the world within the device—until the day an evil being arrived, stole his power, and sealed it away in five smaller music boxes. The figure asks that Wario track down these relics and restore them to the temple; in exchange, he will not only help Wario return to his own world, but also let the antihero keep any extra treasure he finds along the way. The greedy Wario agrees and immediately sets off in search for them.


Wario Land 3 borrows a lot of its gameplay from Wario Land II—being impossible to killnote , using enemy attacks as abilities, and sharing a lot of the normal abilities. However, Wario Land 3 takes an even less linear route: Instead of challenging you to reach the end of each level, some of which have alternate routes, Wario Land 3 challenges you to find the four keys and chests of every level. However, the vast majority of chests (and levels) are inaccessible at the beginning, forcing you to collect treasures to unlock more. Thus, Wario Land 3 is less about figuring out how to beat levels and more about exploring through levels, searching for treasures you can collect.


Tropes featured in this game:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Averted. The sewer underneath the town in N2 The Peaceful Village is just one room.
  • Accidental Hero: Wario just wanted to leave the music box; he wasn't planning to defeat any villains wanting to Take Over the World until Rudy was freed and attacked him.
  • All There in the Manual: The English manual contained character profiles for some of the enemies... that turn out to be highly questionable in light of the game's ending.
  • Always Night: The East side, at least until you collect the two sun fragments.
  • The Amazon: W3 The Pool of Rain.
  • Art Shift: The cutscenes, which are in much greater detail.
  • Background Boss: The Final Boss looms over Wario, who can only interact with his fists and face.
  • Bag of Spilling: The game begins with Wario unable to do most of his Wario things, such as shaking the stage with his Ground Pound, performing high jumps or even the series staple of his bull charge. Said abilities are recovered progressively by finding certain treasures. To sweeten the deal, Wario also claims power-ups that boost him beyond some of his original abilities, like the Frog Prince's Gloves, which allow Wario to swim against currents.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The entire population of the Music Box world was turned into the monsters Wario beats up throughout the game by Rudy.
    • Wario himself also goes through this when hit by certain enemies. Among the possibilities are Fat Wario, Snowball Wario, Bouncy Wario, Vampire Wario, Zombie Wario, and Flat Wario.
  • Balloon Belly:
    • The Fat Wario status effect: if the hero eats an apple or a doughnut, his already-large gut bloats to a much bigger size.
    • Pesce's boss battle. You win by feeding him so much cheese that he sinks to the bottom of his pool. He'll become stuck in a tunnel, giving you access to a treasure chest.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Brrr Bears, who repeatedly push you back with their icy breath, are some of the most annoying enemies in the game.
  • Be the Ball: Shoot, a sportsbunny almost exactly like Dunk from Wario Land II; Shoot, however, prefers soccer to basketball. Like Dunk, Wario must bounce on Shoot to make him curl into a ball and then cast him into the net. Unlike Dunk, Shoot's battle has a turtle goalie whom Wario must also knock down to get a better shot at the net; the turtle will block most of Wario's shots (though it is possible for Wario to score without stunning him), but will let Shoot score for free.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: You must beat Shoot at soccer/football by how he tries to eliminate you—stomp the opponent into a ball and shoot three times.
  • Big Bad: Turns out to be the hidden figure himself — later known as Rudy in Dr. Mario 64 — when you deliver the five music boxes to him.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: E3 Castle of Illusions, N2 The Peaceful Village (at night), and E7 The Forest of Fear.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Though this is one of the few rare instances where Wario is actually a hero, even if he didn't really intend to be one.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Getting every music coin in each level is much harder than getting all of the treasures. And what is your reward? You get one extra course in the extended mini-golf game.
  • Bonus Level: The Forest of Fear, the Warped Void, and Above the Clouds are totally optional levels; players will only enter them if they go out of their way to find non-story treasures in the main game. Fittingly, most of their included treasures only affect each other; this is most notable in the Forest of Fear—the Gray Treasure (a Compact Mirror) unlocks the Warped Void, and every other item from the Forest opens new paths in that level. This is the only level in the game with this feature.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Temple, upon obtaining all five music boxes, is made up only battling the final boss.
  • Broken Bridge: You collect diverse MacGuffins that open new levels or areas in other levels.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: E1 The Stagnant Swamp.
  • Bubbly Clouds: S6 Above the Clouds.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: W1 Desert Ruins.
  • Cap: Oddly for a Wario game, Wario can only hold 999 coins, whereas normally he can hold much more than that.
  • Collection Sidequest:
    • Zig-zagged regarding the main plot. Wario's primary quest is to collect five Magic Music Boxes at the behest of a hidden figure, with the promise that he may keep all the treasure he finds on the way. Wario's treasure hunt is therefore both completely incidental to the story and completely necessary to the gameplay.
    • Played straight with the Musical Coins. There are eight of these in every level, and collecting them will fill in an uncolored part of the picture of a golf course. Unfortunately, these are especially vexing: the game does not record the Musical Coins you collect during a visit to a level, so you must collect all eight in a single run; many of these coins are only available to you once Wario obtains specific abilities, so you have to remember where they all can be found; three, the prize, as mentioned under Bonus Feature Failure, is underwhelming.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each level has four chests that serve as objectives, as well as four keys to unlock the chests, colored gray, red, green, and blue. You'll also occasionally find coins in those colors that are worth 10 coins each — whichever color coin you find is whichever chest you're closest to, making navigation a bit easier.
  • Console Cameo: One of the treasures in The Big Bridge is a Pokémon Pikachu.
  • Cranium Ride: Used on one occasion to get to a musical coin.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Treasures can only be used to automatically change or unlock new levels; so, sadly, Wario cannot use that axe he found in N1 Out of the Woods to attack enemies.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The only point in the game where you can die is during the final boss fight against Rudy. Your penalty for it? A Game Over screen and being sent back to the map so you can simply try it again.
  • Death Mountain: W2 The Volcano's Base.
  • Eldritch Location: E5 The Warped Void.
  • Excuse Plot: The whole story about the music boxes is pretty much an excuse to have Wario roam around collecting treasures.
  • Fat Bastard: Brrr Bears who try to freeze Wario solid have bellies that bounce when they walk.
  • The Face of the Sun: Taiyō is a small sun with a face.
  • False Innocence Trick: At the end of the game, you learn that the hidden figure is sealed within the five music boxes to prevent him from conquering the world outside the music box. Your goal in the game is to deliver them to him after he tricked you into thinking he was good.
  • Floating Limbs: Rudy's hands. In fact, performing a ground pound on one stuns it, allowing it to be picked up and thrown freely.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Downplayed with a glitch that can occur in "The Pool of Rain" (it won't ruin the whole game, but it'll force you to reset); for some reason, if you play the game on an emulator and use save states, you won't able to climb all the way up the beanstalk into another area once it pops up. Resetting the game and not using save states before you finish the level remedies it, thankfully.
  • Giant Hands of Doom:
    • These appear in W1 Desert Ruinsnote  and S4 The Steep Canyon. They reach out in an attempt to grab Wario and pull him into the quicksand/rapids.
    • This is also Rudy the Clown's preferred method of combat during the final boss fight.
  • Good All Along: Every enemy and boss except Mad Scienstein and the final boss, Rudy the Clown. They are actually the citizens of the Music Box world who sealed Rudy away using the Music Boxes sometime before your arrival, but got cursed into monstrous forms just before he was sealed. The reason they attack you is because they fear his revival and didn't think you were strong enough to defeat him, but once he is defeated for good and they are returned to normal, they have no problem letting you keep all the treasure you collected and sending you back to your own world.
  • Goomba Springboard: Possible once you get the Jumping Boots.
  • Green Hill Zone: Though N1 Out of the Woods might count, N3 The Vast Plain is probably a better example.
  • Ground Pound: Possible once you get the overalls.
  • Guide Dang It!: While few of the treasures are that hard to figure out, some of the music coins can be well hidden. The worst example is one in S1 The Grasslands. It is way up on a platform above the screen — and thus invisible until you reach it — which is above a cliff over the blue chest. So, not only do you have to jump off a Spearhead to reach to top of a seemingly empty cliff, you also have to find a rather small hole to jump through upward to reach the platform, which is only reachable by throwing another Spearhead onto the cliff and jumping off the thrown enemy to reach the hidden area.
  • Hat of Power: Getting the spiked helmet allows you to break blocks with your head.
  • Helpful Mook: You often need to use the enemies to get some treasures, mainly by using their attacks to get certain abilities (such as being set on fire).
  • Hell Hotel: W4 A Town in Chaos.
  • Human Snowball: An ability Wario can gain in E2 The Frigid Sea. It can be used to break snow blocks.
  • Inflating Body Gag: Helio's battle. He has an air pump inside him, and you defeat him by making him cough it up and pumping it until he pops. Appropriately, Helio looks like a literal balloon.
  • Informed Equipment: None of the powerups have any effect on Wario's visual appearance when collected.
  • Interface Screw: Wario can become dizzy if hit by an orange bird in S1 The Grasslands.
  • Kitsune: Wolfenboss, a flying fox in a sorcerer's robe who attacks with magic. His Japanese name is Kezune, the pronunciation for Kitsune.
  • Lethal Lava Land: S5 Cave of Flames. W6 The West Crater and E6 The East Crater could arguably count as well.
  • Lighter and Softer: Wario Land 3 is a much brighter game in aesthetic and tone compared to the rest of the series and especially its successor, falling more in line of being a Mario title than the Wario Land series. The graphics are brighter and more colorful, the soundtrack is simplistic and lighthearted, the enemy lineup is much more friendly, cutesy and silly. The "enemies" are Good All Along, being the cursed citizens of the music box world, and Wario for the first time, takes on a more heroic role rather than the greedy Anti-Hero and Villain Protagonist he was in prior entries.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: This game is Wario's most heroic role to date.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: All of the bosses except the final boss, as they are revealed to be the citizens of the Music Box world who have been cursed into monster forms by the Big Bad, and are attacking you to try to stop you from getting the Music Boxes to revive him. In fact, the only enemy in the game who is actually working for the Big Bad is Mad Scienstein, who is also the only uncursed human you encounter.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The Final Boss features a Boss Remix of the main theme, but as a matter of fact, the fight itself outpaces the music. If Wario is on top of the battle, the final boss will Turn Red and have a change in music before the refrain kicks in.
  • Lost Woods: N1 Out of the Woods and E7 Forest of Fear. The former is definitely more friendly than the latter, which is also a Big Boo's Haunt.
  • Magical Flutist: Wario temporarily becomes this after getting the flute, just to make the Fire Snakes pop out of their pots.
  • Magic Music: A large part of the plot is the powers held in the five music boxes, and the need to retrieve them.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Most notably E7 Forest of Fear, which is full of spikes.
  • Market-Based Title: In Japan, this game had the subtitle "Fushigi na Orgel" (meaning “Mysterious Orgel” or “Mysterious Music Box”).
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Wario learns he fell for this when he delivers the music boxes to the hidden figure.
  • MacGuffin Title: Only the Japanese version (See Market-Based Title).
  • Minigame: There is a minigolf game you have to beat many times to make a block move to access certain treasures.
  • Metroidvania: Certain treasures obtained give you powerups in order to access new areas in previous levels. For instance: The red overalls found in The Volcano's Base let you stomp on a frog with a platform on its head in Out of the Woods.
  • Monster Clown: The "hidden figure" turns out to be one of these.
  • Musical Nod: Getting a Musical Coin plays a sped up version of the sound effect heard when Wario obtains a treasure in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: No matter how much he gets hit by enemies, Wario can never die. (Except for when he gets crushed by final boss Rudy's hands.)
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Your goal of delivering the five music boxes to the hidden figure. It turns out he's a monster clown who took over the world and turned the townsfolk into the monsters who acted as your enemies. They were really just trying to stop you from reviving him.
  • No Name Given: The final boss is later given a name in Dr. Mario 64; he's only referred to as "a hidden figure" in this game.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Inverted in the battle against Rudy, as it's the only way to reach the Game Over screen. It's Played for Laughs more than anything, though, as you just return to the world map afterwards.
  • Notice This: Whenever you acquire a new ability or unlock an event that affects earlier levels, the game shows you which levels to revisit to get new treasures.
    • It's also easy to guess which of the various obstacles will be transformed once the player has located the correct treasures. Be it a locked door, a suspiciously out-of-place boulder, or a wall with a passage behind it, the basic rule is this: if it doesn't blend in with the rest of the level and you can't interact with it, chances are you'll be back later.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Wario only agrees to find the music boxes and free the hidden figure when offered freedom and any treasure he finds along the way. Played twice over when the figure, Rudy, is freed, reveals his plan to take over both the music box world and the outer world, and tries to kill Wario. Wario defeats him in self-defense, not only saving both worlds, but also lifting Rudy's curse on the music box world's inhabitants, who give Wario the rewards Rudy originally promised him.
  • One-Hit Kill: There is exactly one example of this in the game: Rudy's hands. In this case, it's because the final boss stage is a Boss-Only Level, so the game can't send Wario off to another room upon taking a hit as with other bosses.
  • 100% Completion: Collecting all 100 treasures and all 8 music coins in every level.
  • Palmtree Panic: N4 Bank of the Wild River, N5 The Tidal Coast, and N6 Sea Turtle Rock.
  • Plot Coupon: The vast majority of treasures are this.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The treasures that give Wario new abilities.
  • Poor Communication Kills: With the exception of Mad Scienstein, all of the enemies in the game are cursed townsfolk trying to stop Wario from releasing Rudy. Wario doesn't know that the hidden figure is evil, whereas the townsfolk think he does; they could have saved themselves and Wario a lot of trouble by telling him who — and what — he was really working for. They end up giving him the same reward Rudy promised him in the beginning, anyway, so his greed wouldn't be an issue. Possibly justified in that it's unclear whether any of the townsfolk can speak while cursed, though the manual suggests they can.
  • Power Floats: Wolfenboss, complete with Midair Bobbing when he moves.
  • Power-Up Food: One of the treasures you get beefs up both Wario's Dash Attack and Rolling Attack. That treasure? None other than garlic!
  • Reaching Towards the Audience: In this case, to form a "W" with his hand.
  • Remixed Level: Every level. Certain treasures change a certain level's landscape, granting access to treasures previously inaccessible.
  • Respawning Enemies: By re-entering a room. Necessary to prevent a level from becoming Unwinnable without restarting.
  • River of Insanity: N4 Bank Of The Wild River and S4, The Steep Canyon.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: W1 Desert Ruins.
  • Save Both Worlds: What Wario ends up doing at the climax of the game.
    Rudy: Now I can rule this world and the outer one as well!!
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: To an extent. While a lot of the harder treasures are most likely to be encountered near the end, the game has rather bumpy difficulty near the middle. Most notably in terms of bosses: The first boss, Doll Boy, is much harder than most bosses, and the third boss, Wolfenboss, is harder than any other boss in the game — including the final boss.
  • Second Hour Super Power: The Ground Pound, which is granted by the sixth treasure of the game, which in turn is protected by the first boss of the game, who resides in the fifth level you can visit in the game.
  • Secret Level: Arguably Above the Clouds, The Warped Void, and Forest of Fear, since it's unlikely you'll find these levels before beating the game.
  • Shifting Sand Land: W1 Desert Ruins.
  • Sinister Sentient Sun: In The Vast Plains and The Colossal Hole lives Taiyō, a small but mean sun enemy that flies around the sky during daytime, trying to set Wario on fire. Its name even means "Sun" in Japanese.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Around level 4. Though the game starts out rather linear, treasure and level choices gradually widen as the game goes on.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: E2 The Frigid Sea.
  • Sound Stone: The music boxes.
  • Spring Jump: Bouncy Wario, which you become if you're hit by a Hammer-bot or certain bosses.
  • Sting: When the hidden figure is revealed upon being freed.
  • Story Overwrite: The game saves after beating the final boss; but when you resume your save, Wario is back in the music box, despite leaving before. Rudy is also back in his seal, and you cannot fight him again until all the treasures are collected. Until then, he can only tell you where to find the next treasure to collect.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Played with. Before you get the flippers, Wario cannot go below the surface, constantly paddling above the water. When you do get them, he can swim underwater fine.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A lot of the enemies act pretty much just like Wario Land II enemies, but look different:
    • Yarimaru/Spearhead = Yarikuri/Pirate Goom
    • Brrr Bear = Yukimaru
    • Fire Robota = Flame Kitsune
    • Pneumo/Jellybob = Bee
    • Cookun/Doughnuteer = Cook
    • Omodonmeka = D-Bat
    • Haridama = Sawfish
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: A few bosses. But the most notable is Helio, who for some reason just so happens to drop the pump that fills him with air and causes him to blow up.
  • Teru-Teru Bōzu: The Teruteru enemies, who appear in "The Vast Plain" and "Beneath the Waves".
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Many variations of "Out Of The Woods" are used throughout the game, including the title screen.
  • Treasure Map: Wario finds one at one point near the end. The treasure it leads to? His last upgrade, which allows him to carry heavy enemies!
  • Underground Level: E4 The Colossal Hole, N6 Sea Turtle Rock, W6 The West Crater, and E6 The East Crater. S5 Cave of Flames is this mixed with Lethal Lava Land.
  • Under the Sea: W5 Beneath the Waves.
  • Units Not to Scale: On the map screen, the Colossal Hole and the volcano crater appear to be several times larger than most other landmarks, such as the Big Bridge. When you go inside the levels, however, the opposite happens.
  • Unique Enemy: The Red Lump in The Peaceful Village, the pink-and-blue umbrella Para-Goom in A Town in Chaos, and the red Omodonmeka in The Warped Void, all of which there is only one in the entire game (With said Para-Goom also appearing in the tutorial videos for certain moves).
  • Unlockable Content: Includes...
    • Time Attack, after beating the game and collecting all 100 treasures.
    • A room with longer minigolf courses, unlocked after collecting all 7 crayon treasures.
    • An extra course in the aforementioned minigolf game after collecting all 8 music coins in all 25 levels.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Wario. Rudy was sealed away by the power of the music boxes, which had to be used together again to release him. Wario was told instead that these would bring him back to his world.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Not even a potential, but a guarantee: The game's programmed so that all sprites literally explode when opening a chest. Well, to get to the red chest in E1 The Stagnant Swamp, you have to ride a turtle to get to the chest, and he's pretty much guaranteed to stay there when you open it, meaning you pretty much have to blow up the poor turtle who took the time to help you get there in the first place.
  • Where It All Began: The last of the five music boxes is hidden in N1 Out of the Woods, the very first level. And the Final Boss fight takes place in The Temple, the starting point for Wario's quest.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Rudy's first order of business when Wario frees him? Try to kill Wario, of course.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Wario needs to collect certain treasures in order to reclaim his abilities from Wario Land II. These include swimming, ground pounds, and picking up enemies.


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