Welcome back to Warped Pipes, the series where I try, against all odds, to come up with a coherent timeline for the Super Mario franchise of video games. At long last, I’ve come to the final NES title that I’ll be covering...
Like the Yoshi games before it, Wario’s Woods tries to ride the Tetris puzzle game wave and involves clearing pieces from the screen. Here is the story according to the manual:
The Peaceful Woods were once a friendly home for sprites and gentle creatures. Since the invasion of Wario and his band of monsters, though, this quiet community has been turned upside-down. Now, it is Wario’s Woods and peaceful creatures are not welcome.
Toad, the Mushroom Kingdom hero, has made his way to Wario’s Woods in order to quiet the sinister lout and win the woods back for the sprites. The sprites can create bombs. It’s Toad’s job to take the bombs and line them up with the enemies of the woods so that the enemies go down in defeat.
If Toad clears enough monster-packed sections of the forest, he’ll go up against the mighty Wario himself.
The game essentially plays out like the manual states, but it omits an important detail: Toad is aided on his quest by the former villain Birdo, who essentially offers encouragement throughout.
Toad, Birdo, and the sprites ultimately succeed in clearing the woods of Wario and his monsters. In the SNES version’s ending we see Toad make it to Wario’s Castle and bomb it, seemingly destroying the structure.
This game bears a number of interesting similarities to Mario & Wario in that it involves Wario attacking a forest region inhabited by a species of fey and ends at Wario’s residence. I think it is likely that the Peaceful Woods and Yōsei no Mori are in the same general region of the world if not just different names for the same place, given these strong connections.
The strangest aspect of this game is Birdo acting as a hero. In the only other appearance of Birdo in the series so far, she acted as a villain inside the dream realm of Subcon. How exactly Birdo traveled to the waking world and why she switched allegiances is a major mystery at the moment and something that I am hoping other games will be able to explain.
It’s also unclear why Toad and Birdo are left to deal with the situation here instead of Mario and Luigi stepping in as usual. It is conceivable that this game takes place concurrently with another title where the brothers are otherwise occupied. Perhaps this could be happening while the viral crisis of Dr. Mario plagues the Mushroom Kingdom?
Because this game sees the destruction of Wario’s Castle, we can assume it must take place after Wario Land and Mario & Wario, which gives us the following timeline of events:
In the next article I will take a look at Donkey Kong for the Gameboy, AKA Donkey Kong ‘94. Check back soon!
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