Without a doubt Mario/Wario Land is the greatest of it's genre to ever come from Nintendo. But even as the series keeps progressing after the Virtual Boy's 1995 release, I still don't care, even if Wario Land 3 offered more colors or Wario Land 4 on offers better graphics.
When you start a new game you will get an absolutely awesome intro movie! It really sets the mood for the game right from the start as the intro crosses over into direct gameplay. With the controller in hand you can't help but want to collect coins, diamonds and more.
Although it's clear why Wario Land got a Kids-Adults rating, you can't help but feel joyfully evil when you bash and kill the enemies on bad guy Wario's path. The enemies, who are in fact only defending treasures that were theirs to start with, are sympathetic creatures, and fun to fight. But take this not to think Wario's enemies aren't evil, soon you'll be facing skulls with the fire of hell in their eyes, chain-saw-fish that wear serial killer masks, giant mosquito's that will try to suck you dry, and scary smiley faces that come swirling at you with their eerie smile (who still give me nightmares!) Wario Land, with it's many layers in both levels and creatures, represents a classic sidescroller yet with 3D aspects. The 3D in the game comes from these very same layers as you see Wario and all these enemy creatures moving from front to back. Wario must jump back and forth to progress and while he's at it creatures literally come storming at him from just about any corner you could imagine, some by means of a surprise attack others in smooth 3D animations from the background. Wario will really have to flex his muscles to get out of this adventure!
Wario's controls are like a dream come true, if you ever played the Game Boy port, you'll swear by the new controls. You'll run, swim, stomp, dash, bash, jump, leap, toss, and fire without looking at the controller longer than a few seconds when you first start out, their that easy! As for the treasures, you'll be in a world of trouble before finding them all, some are extremely easy to find, but others you'll spend oh so much time finding in the maze like levels.
While all of this is going on, where would the game be without some nice sound effects? Nowhere, so you'll be listening to really catchy typical Mario/Wario adventure songs. These are all-around nice tunes, but you'll be so busy playing that when you reach sections of the game where no background tune is played you'll feel an eerie sensation.
Of course this wouldn't be a decent platformer if it didn't give Wario a ton of power-ups to stop the attackers. Be it Small Wario, Regular Wario, Bull Wario, Eagle Wario, Sea Dragon Wario, or even King Dragon Wario you won't soon get bored of the power-ups. I myself like King Dragon Wario the best for its ability to fly and attack with dragon-fire. Each power has it's own advantages at certain spots, I'll leave it to you to find out where they are. One thing is for sure, you will be using them a lot to discover new and areas hidden within the levels, and fret not about finding the million and one secrets, because each time you suspect a tucked away passage or block, or just nothing at all, you might be surprised by finding the coolest items at the weirdest spots when doing life-threatening tricks to get there. It's all in the fun and excitement of the game. Be sure to lengthen your life insurance by playing the heart mini-game at the end of the level and if you want to try and double your collected money go for the coins game at your own risk.
Even though the game is over before you know it (no more than a few to ten hours), finding the keys that enable you to open the elevator door that leads to the next higher level will slow you down for sure. Control Wario precisely or it's down a deep dark hole (or even bubbly lava pit) for you, at least they were nice enough to keep track of your progress in between levels by saving. As per the bosses, they offer game play to another perspective when you are forced to use the game's 3D non-stop by hitting them or dodging their attacks in mid-air in between planes. You'll be surprised by not only multiple game endings, but also a new harder mode which offers more frantic and faster action and believe me by this time you'll be so addicted at the game, wanting to do it all over again (and collecting all the treasures & more money for whole new endings) isn't just an option ... it'll be a must.
In short: One of the Virtual Boy's most carefully crafted games is nothing short than a blast to play. It's sheer genius from the directing hands of Gunpei Yokoi, whose eye for detail is amazing. If you like platform adventures, heck, if you like videogames you will have nothing but fun and more fun from this title. Your game collection just isn't complete without a copy of this awesome game.