Welcome back to Warped Pipes, the series where I dig deep into the stories of Mario games. This time around, we get to see the beginning of Wario’s transformation from villain to antihero in...
Note: I know that last time I promised you a different sort of article analyzing an enemy type from the series, but that proved to be more work than I bargained for. In the interest of actually getting the occasional article out, I’m going to skip that one for the time being.
As always, let’s first look at the manual to find out the story’s set up:
So having failed in stealing Mario’s fortune and home, Wario decides to antagonize the Brown Sugar Pirates to try to fund his dream of owning a castle.
The events of the game then follow from this set up as Wario bashes his way through the Brown Sugar Pirates’ hideout on Kitchen Island and claims their coin and treasures as his own. Wario accomplishes this in a similar fashion to his rival, relying on various powerups to overcome enemies. However, Wario is far more hardy and brutish, acting as more of a heavy weight brawler relative to Mario’s nimble acrobatics.
This culminates in Wario defeating Captain Syrup, who is revealed to be a woman in a surprise twist. However, unfortunately for Wario, Mario ends up claiming the Princess Toadstool statue for himself.
Based upon how successful Wario was in collecting riches during his adventure, we see one of five different endings in which Wario’s new home is a bird house, tree trunk, log cabin, pagoda, castle, or planetoid.
While the narrative is pretty straightforward and the game clearly takes place after Super Mario Land 2, the part that really requires interpretation is the game’s ending. With five different endings, how do we determine which one is canonical? Well I think the previous game I covered, Mario & Wario, can actually help us with this. The castle seen at the end of this game looks suspiciously like Wario’s home in that game. Based on this, and the way the manual sets up the story, I think it is pretty clear that Mario & Wario follows Wario Land and that the castle ending is the canonical one. This probably means that Wario’s attack on Mario and his friends in Mario & Wario is revenge for their stealing the Princess statue from him.
Kitchen Island is yet another island nation in the Mario world. It appears to be ruled over by the Brown Sugar Pirates, making Captain Syrup its de facto sovereign. The island hosts a wide variety of creatures (and a whole bunch of ducks) across its shores and inner forests, all of which seem to be in league with the pirates. The pirates, like Wario, don’t seem to be necessarily evil but rather just driven by greed and other selfish desires.
Based on the above interpretation, Wario Land takes place soon after Super Mario Land 2 and before Mario & Wario in the Post-War Era of the timeline, as shown below:
In the next article, Wario continues to get top billing in our final NES title: Wario’s Woods.
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