Review by Crazee Boy
While not good enough to surpass Wario Land III, Master Of Disguise is great.
My favorite game for the Game Boy Color was Wario Land III. I really liked Wario Land II, but when I got into III (and after I found a copy!), I fell in love. Wario Land IV didn't live up to the expectations III left, I never did play Wario World, but here's Master Of Disguise, a new side-scrolling, platforming Wario adventure. I was excited, and despite the mixed reviews, I had to get this game. While initially frustrated, I soon came to enjoy the game, but it was over far too quickly.
Master Of Disguise has great 2-D graphics. Well-detailed sprites, great backgrounds, and nice cut-scenes all help bring the game to life. While these aren't by any means the best the DS can do, they work wonderfully, and there's not much more I can say.
I, myself, enjoyed the music. It always fits the areas, and the boss music always has a nice, epic rock and roll feel to it. While these aren't completely memorable tunes, they work.
The sound effects are pretty basic. Stomping noises, footsteps, explosions, coin sounds... All very stock, but once more, they work. The small voice clips, like Wario's evil laughter, are crisp, however.
The controls are a bit of an issue. This is my biggest problem with the game. First off, it's not a typical control scheme. Rather than moving left and right with the D-pad, running with Y, jumping with A, etcetera, you move left and right with left and right on the D-pad, or Y and A. To jump and crouch, you use up and down on the D-pad, or X and B. To make Wario execute an attack in his current form (more on that later), you tap the touch screen. Sometimes anywhere, sometimes where you want to attack, depending on the form. Or in his artist disguise, you can make Wario draw blocks to climb on.
Now, to change disguises, you have to draw something on Wario. For example, a tail will turn him into Dragon Wario. Drawing a space helmet makes him Cosmic Wario. This isn't as responsive as I had hoped, and it fails you when you need it most. Once you get used to compensating for the game's less-than-great shape recognition, you shouldn't have any problem, but to a newbie, this could prove frustrating and troublesome.
The meat and potatoes of any game, the gameplay. Master Of Disguise delivers in terms of the classic Wario Land formula. You explore, beat up some enemies, and find treasure! All the glorious treasure! While you don't technically have to collect it to win the game, going after the loot is a Wario staple.
The levels are well designed, but unlike the older Wario games, rather than comfortably-sized, numerous levels, in Master Of Disguise, there are ten really big levels, that span the ten episodes that make up the game. A lot of these will make you scratch your head for a while. Even when you have the map, which shows you where you need to go next, it's still very confusing. I must say, though, it's satisfying when you finally figure out some mind-boggling puzzle.
One problem here is the consistency, though. Without spoiling anything, in one level, you have to jump across a raging water current. The thing is, in any of his forms, Wario can't make it. So you must jump across, set off a crumbling part of the ceiling that falls, and then that reaches JUST far enough for you to jump on it. ...Or you can just turn into artist Wario, draw a block, and jump across. It's as if the level designers forgot you have these abilities...
I won't spoil much, other than what you'll learn in the opening cut-scene. Bored and poor, Wario is watching TV. There's a show on about a great thief, with a magic wand that transforms him. Suddenly, Wario has an idea. He goes into his closet and creates a device called the Telmet. With the Telmet, Wario gets onto the TV, and soon steals the thief's wand. The wand identifies itself as Goodstyle, and Wario, with Goodstyle's help, becomes The Purple Wind. "The Purple Wind! Silent but deadly!", As Wario says.
Now, the story is entertaining, and while they're very few, the characters are good, and have good personalities.
And I'm not sure where else to put this, but the game has some nice humor. While mostly crude fart and poop jokes, Wario referring to himself as silent but deadly makes me giggle occasionally.
I actually enjoy replaying the earlier levels with new abilities, collecting all the treasure and reading it's descriptions. I'm a ways off from collecting everything %100, but I'm working on it!
Wario: Master Of Disguise is a somewhat short, but entertaining game. The occasionally unresponsive touch screen controls detract quite a bit, and with just a little refinement, they could be so great. Anyway, I can't recommend it more if you like Wario games, or like platforming games. It's not worth buying a DS for, but it's good fun while it lasts.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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