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Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wario: Master of Disguise playthrough log

Wario: Master of Disguise box cover art I played this for the first time today... got through the first 2 stages in about 1.5 hours..

The gameplay itself isn't bad... but holy shit this game has WAY too much talking. I just want to explore and move on, but the game keeps on interrupting me with lengthy dialog scenes... and it's not like in a Paper Mario game where the dialog is actually entertaining. here it's just a really mediocre story about Wario creating a device that lets him go into a TV show and steal the spotlight from a thief character.. he steals the thief's magic wand that lets him transform, and then uses it to look for treasure. also the wand is a character who accompanies Wario and gives you tutorials on pretty much everything.

It's basically just a Metroidvania style puzzle platformer, with the world divided into several stages where you explore and collect treasure while finding your way to the main objective... Each treasure chest has a random minigame that you have to complete in order to open it. These are kinda like Mario Party minigames that use the touch screen, and they only take 30 seconds or so to complete. Some of the treasures you find will give you a new disguise power. You have to switch between disguises by drawing a shape ontop of Wario, which seems really pointless, it could've just been done with a pause menu.

Each disguise has its own ability that lets you get to places you couldn't before. The main thief disguise lets you jump high and tackle. The astronaut disguise lets you shoot lasers and have low floaty jumps... I hate the artist disguise, it makes Wario stand still in front of a canvas and lets you draw a block anywhere on the screen to use as a stepping stone. This ability is used a lot in stage 2 and it gets REALLY tedious when you are backtracking trying to find out where to go. There are also upgrades for each disguise that you supposedly unlock by collecting enough gems, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Even ignoring the annoying boring cutscenes, this game is nowhere near as good as the Wario Land games. The puzzles are very simple and just more of a time sink than an actual challenge.
There are all sorts of enemies and other obstacles but they can all be dealt with very easily and I've never come close to dying yet. I think the enemies are just there to allow you to collect gems for upgrading your disguises.

Stopped playing for now after collecting the first of 5 tablet pieces. That character who Wario stole the wand from is also after this tablet, he wants it even more than he wants the wand back, as it's supposedly some kind of wish-granting item. Oh and this rival also fights you at the end of each stage. The boss battles are technically puzzle bosses, but the game shows you the icon for which disguise you are supposed to use at each phase of the boss, so it's not really much of a puzzle at all.

9/09/2016

This actually gets quite hard by stage 3.. a museum with a confusing map and some pretty tough puzzles. There's a lot of paths that look like you could go that way but it's actually blocked off by walls or doors that you haven't opened yet... The enemies are museum guards that blow a whistle when they see you to bring a bunch of other guards into the room to fight you. They aren't hard or anything but they can get in the way, especially since the whistle-blowing enemies can't be killed, only stunned.

This level makes use of the "Genius" disguise a lot (found in world 2) to hide some important passageways that you otherwise can't see. Also you get the electrician disguise here, which is only useful for lighting up dark areas and for activating certain electrical machines. There's a really dumb part in this level you have to activate a machine that challenges Wario to a random riddle, where the answer is based on one of the exhibits that you see in this level. You answer a riddle by writing in the answer with the artist disguise. The game doesn't recognize the letter "I" very well at all though. There are a few of these riddle sections, and for the first 2 I just failed on purpose until I got a riddle that doesn't require drawing the letter "I". The Sphinx character at the end tells you to find the 3 sphinx's treasures before it'll let you pass, and then when you do find them it challenges you to 3 riddles in a row... I found out that if you fail any of these you die, so I couldn't retry this time and had to keep redrawing a straight line about 100 times until it finally registered it as "I"...

This level took me an hour to complete... the game is definitely picking up in difficulty. Other than those riddles I really liked the puzzles in this level. I have to admit I did use a guide to look up the riddle answers, but that was the only thing I used a guide for. Also this level had the "Captain" disguise, which makes Wario into a pirate wearing a swimming tube, which lets you float and swim across the surface of water instead of just sinking to the bottom.

9/10/2016

Stage 4 is an ice cave, with water dripping from the ceiling that temporarily makes the ground slippery. If you slide on a slippery surface with the astronaut disguise you can get flung across to certain areas that you otherwise can't get to. The map is a bit confusing but not as much as that museum level was. The enemies here include some infinite respawning water bubble enemies that work like boos. They are very annoying to deal with.

This is the level where you finally gain the dragon disguise, that lets you breathe fire and destroy the fire blocks that I've been seeing everywhere since the first level. You also gain an upgrade for the Artist form that lets you set three blocks at a time, which is another huge game changer. Also that upgrade lets you spawn heart refills by drawing a heart shape. It seems really cheap, but it's kind of difficult to draw a perfect heart and you wouldn't be able to do it in a situation where you are being attacked. Also this level makes use of the Captain disguise a lot more, and every level up until now has made a lot of use out of the Genius and Artist disguises. The astronaut laser power is still being used for some parts as well, such as when there are chandeliers that you can shoot to lower them and use them as platforms.

And with that I now have every disguise power, according to the transformation icon slots in the upper screen. I'm not gonna bother going back to 100% clear the earlier levels cuz that seems pointless. I'd rather just keep going and see what ending I get when I don't replay any levels. I'm pretty sure I've been getting all of the treasures you could possibly get except for the ones that require an ability that you don't have yet, that's good enough.

The story actually gets a bit more interesting here... Wario still thinks that Cannoli (the rival thief that originally had the transformation wand) is the one who took the wishstone tablet from the museum, but then it shows a scene where Cannoli is following behind Wario, and he says that he wasn't the one who took it, so there must be a third thief that's after the wishstone. Wario meets this third thief, Carpaccio, at the end of this level, and he fights you in a boss battle that is much harder than anything else in this game up until now. I actually got a game over on this a couple times.

This boss battle takes place in a giant water balloon where the boss floats in the middle, and Wario can rotate the boss and the room around by moving left and right. The boss sends out two water balls to attack you with, and you're supposed figure out which one to shoot with the laser and if you shoot the wrong when you get damaged by an explosion. I couldn't really figure out which one to hit so I just had to guess. To damage this boss you have to turn into artist Wario and draw a block on one of the switches in the middle, but you have to rotate the room at the right angle and also must do it quickly enough so that he doesn't send out another attack at you while you are still drawing.

I managed to beat this boss using guesswork, but I later found out from a guide that you're supposed to use the Genius form to see which ball is the one you're supposed to shoot. I guess I didn't notice that icon...

10/14/2016

Stage 5, a pyramid... it's been a month since I last played this.. had to refresh my memory on all the disguise tutorials. I almost forgot about the art power which is very useful/required for getting around.

This level is mostly about platforming over spikes... a lot of times you have to use dragon form to light torches to make platforms appear.. and a lot of the doors and passages are only visible in genius form.. also you get an upgrade for genius form that lets you attack. It was pretty easy to get everything in this level just by using genius everywhere and lighting all the torches. the boss at the end is a flying pharoah head, it's very easy but would've been hard if the game didn't provide hints.

That level took nearly an hour to beat...

10/19/2016

Stage 6, a water ruins level.. there's a big waterfall here that you gotta get rid of in order to get to where the wishstone is. this level has an upgrade for the cosmic disguise, that makes your lasers bounce off walls, and uses that ability for puzzles... there's also a lot of stuff here that you need genius wario to access... and parts of the ceiling often fall down and block your path if you aren't fast enough. there's one part where some acid water drips down and breaks certain floor blocks that you otherwise can't break, and another part later on where it uses that same mechanic except you gotta race through the room before the acid breaks the floor so you can get to the treasure.

this level is pretty confusing.. it took me nearly an hour and a half to get through with all of the treasures... except for one that is... it was blocked off by an unbreakable/unmovable underwater block. I'm guessing I'll be able to get that later with a new upgrade?

I still can't break those blue fire blocks I'm seeing everywhere... but in this level they aren't too much in the way, I can usually get around them with some crafty block pushing or use of the art disguise... oh yeah and this level has this really tricky mechanic where you gotta use art wario to weigh down a seesaw so that you can get up higher, and then quickly draw a checkmark or circle on wario (depending on whether you need to go higher or more horizontal) in order to move in the air and get to another platform. The boss of this level also requires the use of this mechanic.

This game's puzzles are getting really tricky, I wasn't expecting it to get this good...

11/20/2016

Stage 7 was mostly an under-lava stage... at first you can only go in the lava as dragon form... but then one of the chests gives you hot pants that let you stay in the lava with any form without taking damage (until a certain enemy damages you and takes them away, but if that happens you can always get those pants back from a respawning chest)...

You get the pirate disguise upgrade here, which lets you explore below the water in a submarine and shoot torpedos... you have to use this for like 99% of the stage... it's a very easy stage that only took about half an hour. I think I might've missed some stuff above the lava though and I couldn't go back up to it because the dragon blocks respawned.

Stage 8 is a ghost castle.. there are switches you can hit with the laser, which turns on/off ghost platforms and also makes ghost enemies solid and able to attack you and be attacked... this stage is a lot more complex like what the game usually provides... I missed some map spots at the beginning but have no idea how to go there... and I think I missed a couple of doors that vanished because I didn't get to them in time... other than that I got everything else. also I learned that drawing hearts with the art form uses up money and lowers your score for the level.

These last 2 bosses were very easy, although the dolphin boss in the ghost level was annoyingly hard to hit.

12/13/2016

Stage 9... this is where the game gets unbearably annoying... this stage has buttons that require electricity, and to fill up the electricity you have to go back to this one room and fill it up with zap wario.. the level layout has a lot of floors that you can drop through with Dragon Wario to get back down to where you came, and it has a lot of spike traps and really tricky platforming...

and it has the "Wicked Wario" costume, where you gain wings and can fly in the air by blowing in the microphone. At first you can only fly straight up and float slowly down, and it's only useful for going up through floors that you can go up through... but much later in the level you gain the mastery of that ability that allows you to move around while flying. It's really annoying to control though, since blowing in the microphone doesn't work all that well.

At the end, you get to where the 4th wishstone is, and Cannoli and the bad guy he is partnered with have already gotten to it. Then I have to race the bad guy through an obstacle course in order to get the wishstone back. this obstacle course uses all of your abilities. it is rigged in his favor, and it took me a while to realize I had to rig it myself by using art form to block the other guy's path.

That level took almost an hour and a half. I'm probably close to the end (still 1 wishstone left), but I just can't continue playing this for now, it's too boring and annoying. The treasure minigames have gotten much harder, but it's not the good kind of hard...

Final stage...

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This last level turned out to be really good... actually it helps a lot that I figured out how to use the mic by rubbing my thumb over it instead of blowing into it... that makes flying so much easier.. it's a good thing because this level requires a LOT of flying... it also has some of the best puzzles in the game.

And the final boss is really hard too... the first phase where she's wearing a crying mask and fills up the room with water, is kind of annoying.
the 2nd phase with the happy masks that I gotta shoot with the laser... wtf, I can't figure out how to dodge its projectiles most of the time, and actually damaging it seems to be just reliant on dumb luck... you have to hit all 3 of the masks that appear with a single laser shot to damage it... I must've tried like 7 or 8 times and kept dying here... eventually I learned to focus on dodging the projectiles and only make a few shots instead of spamming which causes me to get hit most of the time...
the 3rd phase was easy... an angry mask that brings fireballs down and up out of the ground very slowly. you have to hit it with dragon wario, any time that it's not in super angry mode.

Pretty decent ending... the wand reveals his true form, as the original Cannoli who made the wish on the demon wishstone in order to gain magical powers.. he managed to seal the demon and broke the wishstone into 5 pieces and waited for someone who is able to defeat it. Cannoli gives Wario all the treasure in the world as a reward... of course I saw this next part coming... Wario warps back out of the TV, and finds that only he came out, and his treasure is still there in the TV show...

Unlocked a "secret season", containing 5 special episodes... not done yet.

A bit later I beat the first 2 special episodes... These are just speedruns of previous levels where you have to get certain treasures marked on the map within a time limit...
The 3rd special episode is in the water ruins level, and that place is just way too confusing to bother memorizing the path to speedrun through it.. I'm just watching the rest of the special episodes on youtube now, I really don't care about beating the rest of it.

oh my god... special episode 5 is a speedrun of the last level in the game, with the mushroom puzzles... this looks absolutely insane... you have to know exactly what to do and where to go and have to be perfectly optimized and can't make a single mistake. Yep, I'm totally done with this game now. I have no desire to speedrun through these tedious levels.

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