Wai Wai World 2: SOS! Parsley Castle
Box Shot
Wai Wai World 2: SOS! Parsley Castle
Platform: Nintendo Famicom
Publisher: Konami
Designer: Konami
Genre: Action
Players: 2 (Simultaneous)
Published Date 1991
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

Even though I've never been a fan of comic books (well, American comic books anyway) the idea of crossovers between famous characters always seemed mega-cool. Given what a big Konami fan I am, the idea of collecting heroes from several games and putting altogether in one big adventure was just incredibly cool! And that game was Konami World. The idea was excellent, and the game was fun, but the execution was ever-so-slightly subpar. Willing to give the franchise another shot, Konami retooled the entire game idea around and churned out Wai Wai World 2: SOS! Parsley Castle! While ditching the adventure aspects of the original in favor of more straight-out action, Wai Wai World 2 turns out be very fun, if not particularly exciting game.

The outer space fortress of Parsley Castle has been invaded by nasty beings and the token princess has been captured, so goofy cyborgesque hero Rick and his Konami followers are off to the rescue. There are a total of five characters other than Rick: Simon Belmont (of Castlevania) and his long and powerful, yet unwieldy, whip; Bill (of Contra), with his versatile gun, Fuuma (the undead knight of Getsufuu Maden, a Japan-only title), equipped with a short range sword; Goemon (of the game with the same name) with boomerang-type throwing pipes; and Upa (a litte baby also from Japan-only title named Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa) who can turns enemies into clouds, which can then be used as platforms. All of the characters appear as cute, super-deformed version of themselves.

At the beginning of the game, you can choose a "configuration" consisting of three characters, in addition to the main character Rick. At points in the game, little pods fly Contra-style across the screen that will let you choose which of the three characters. You assume this form for 60 seconds - getting hit will only shave seconds off the timer. Once this runs out, it's back to Rick. Not to worry - these power-ups are fairly common. And Rick isn't exactly a wimp either - though his little blaster gun is weak and has poor range, he does have a jet-pack that allows him to do a little double-jump.

After choosing your characters and seeing a cute little map of Konami World, you're dumped into the first level, which seems to be from a generic game rather than a specific Konami title. The first thing I noticed was the automatic scrolling of the game - I always hated platform games like this. Given that this first level is not only overly long, but slloooowwwwww, things were not looking good for Wai Wai World 2.

Luckily, it all picks up from there. In all of the following levels, the auto-scroll is gone. Rick and the gang will venture through stages from all of the games mentioned in the paragraphs above, ranging from the old-style Japan setting of Ganbare Goemon!, the jungle level of Contra or the bloody world of hell in Getsufuu Maden. Each level is extremely colorful, and also features slightly revamped music from its respective game. Not only that, but there are various extremely cool mini-games. Some of the smaller ones include a tiny little car racing game, an "arrange the tiles to form a picture"-type puzzle, and a bizarre tribute to Frogger. But by far the coolest are the Twinbee and Gradius levels. These play exactly like the titles they are based from, and are a total blast. The levels are completely new, and there are touches that are almost jaw-dropping on the NES - a Space Harrier style 3D level with Twinbee shooting clouds to gain bells, and a battle with one of those gigantic Gradius 1 boss ships, somewhat reminiscent of R-Type. The variety and quality of these games-within-a-game are just astounding for the good ol' NES/Famicom.

While I have to admit Wai Wai World 2 is fun, there's just something lacking. Given that this is a Konami game, you'd expect some excellent game design and challenge. But other than the concept and the superb mini-games, the level designs aren't anything special, and the challenge is almost nil. The gameplay isn't bad - it's just anything special. In no way, is it a bad game - contrary to the fact, it's very fun, especially in two-player mode. A little more effort just could've been put forth to make the side-scrolling stages, the meat of the game, to be more involving and....well...harder. In spite of this compalint, which may mainly be because I was weened on the toughest-of-tough early Konami titles, Wai Wai World 2 is still a quality title that rivals the early 16-bit games , not only in variety but in every other department as well.