I must be honest. When I got my first GBA game for Christmas as a kid, it was Wario Land 4. I cried because I wanted Super Mario Advance since all my friends had the game. I felt my father didn't get me the right game and I spent most of the holiday bawling my eyes out to him and my family (I will also admit that I cried a lot as a kid, mainly if things didn't go my way). Looking back, I recognize how underrated Wario Land 4 was as a game.
The game was a platformer that was a bit different from its predecessors. You didn't have a way of losing lives (with the first Wario Land being the exception), but you did have a heart meter. You also had the ability to choose where you could go (A la Mega Man), with four worlds to choose from (with each world containing four stages). You had to collect four pieces to form a jewel that would fit into the boss door. You couldn't proceed to the boss until all four jewels were collected. Sometimes, you had to get these pieces through various transformations, ranging from a springboard Wario to a Zombie Wario.
Once all four bosses have been defeated, you proceed to the Golden Pyramid to fight the Golden Diva. You could take the bosses down with "allies" that would deal damage to the boss. You'd pay for these by winning coins from one of three mini games. The amount of damage done using these "allies" also varied depending on the item and the boss, another element similar to Mega Man.
The game stuck out to me not just for its music, but for its level design. One minute, you're navigating a factory through using a mechanical wheel, with you being stung by bees to float to the sky the next. The ingenuity regarding the level design made you think about how you were going to collect the items in each level. You also had to explore quite a bit in these levels to obtain everything, so the levels had a good amount of space to them. The game had a reasonable difficulty to it, with bosses requiring some sort of plan to attack them.
I want to thank my father for giving me this game for Christmas as a kid because I didn't realize how much this would mean to me as a gamer. It introduced me to a different video game style and entertained me in the process. Thank you, Dad.
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