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Wagyan Land

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Released: 1991

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Game Gear

Publisher: Namco

Developer: Namco

Submitted by: Matt

What’s this? A Namco-developed 2D platformer released only Japan? How exciting! Well, it would be if Wagyan Land’s only remarkable feature is that it’s completely unremarkable.

Firstly, Wagyan Land isn’t a very good ambassador for the GameGear’s visual prowess. The backdrops could have easily been drawn in Paintbrush while most enemies only have two frames of animation. Even the lead character – a little green dinosaur – isn’t particularly well drawn. He defeats enemies by spitting out random Japanese Kanji symbols which can be enlarged by collecting power-ups.

Actually, ‘defeats’ isn’t the correct word to use – enemies are only stunned for a few seconds before they spring back to life. While frozen on the spot though they can be used as temporary platforms to get to higher places. Some levels offer multiple exits – just like in Super Mario World – so that you end up taking different paths through the game. A colourful looking map screen is shown between levels.

The emerald lizard can only take one hit before snuffing it but there are infinite continues to make things easier. Simply select the word ‘select’ on the title screen and you can continue from where you left off.

Wagyan Land isn’t an awful game – the controls are nice and tight – but on a format that has a host of decent 2D platformers simply being mediocre isn’t good enough.