The year 1992 marks a very big time for Mario. Up until this point, Mario had a number of obstacles that would get in his way, but by and large, his grief and princess-saving actions largely revolved around Bowser.
However, 1992 marks Wario’s inception into the Nintendo universe and, ever since his debut, he’s been a fascinating character to both Nintendo fans and staff alike. Audiences were amazed by the concept of an “Evil Mario,” and this obsession with this new character would see Wario eventually taking over the Super Mario Land series due to his popularity.
Ever since the ‘90s, Wario’s role has been consistently shifting and evolving. He plays the part of hero and villain. He crosses over from platforming icon to microgame mogul. It often feels like there’s nothing that Wario is not capable of doing, with the character considered to be a lot more interesting than the more traditional Mario.
Accordingly, shining the spotlight on just how dissimilar Wario and Mario are can unveil a lot of surprising details about these characters. There’s no better way to learn what this ornery character is capable of than comparing him to his utter rival.
So clear out those treasure caches and pull out the thieving supplies, because here are the 15 Things Wario Can Do That Mario Can’t.
15 He Can Turn Into A Vampire And Zombie
The Mario fanbase went pretty bonkers when Mario suddenly revealed his new Boo transformation back in Super Mario Galaxy. Big deal. Wario was already dipping into horror and playing with the afterlife decades before Mario.
Wario is already a fairly frightening character to begin with, so deciding to turn him into even more of a monster is certainly a bold move. The Zombie Wario transformation first appears in Wario Land II, but quickly becomes a staple of the series.
The ghoulish form allows Wario to disintegrate through platforms. Wario Land 3 brings Vampire Wario into the mix, which is actually a very well designed ability. Wario is even able to phase between being a normal vampire or a more mobile vampire bat. Vampire Wario even shows up in Dr. Mario 64 as an unlockable character for some reason too.
With all of the supernatural transformations that Wario has experienced through his history, a full-on horror-centric Wario Land title could hold a lot of potential. He’s the perfect sort of guy to be running the next haunted mansion that Luigi finds himself in.
14 He’s A Skilled Hypnotist
The glorious Wario Land commercials that Nintendo put out during the ‘90s are not only nostalgic camp to the extreme, but they also help reveal an aspect of Wario that has largely been forgotten over the years.
The premise behind Super Mario Land 2’s commercial is that Wario is hypnotizing the viewer to get out there and purchase this game. This was ostensibly most audience’s introduction to the character, so the fact that it would be while Wario is performing this hypnotism routine is significant.
The approach was so successful that the same strategy was used for Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3’s commercial. Using Wario’s famous gold coins as hypnosis devices actually isn’t a bad idea.
Wario’s hypnosis abilities have largely remained contained to Nintendo’s marketing materials, but Super Mario Land 2 does canonically state that Wario hypnotizes the citizens of Mario Land in order to put his master plans of domination into action. Who knows, maybe Wario has recently watched Get Out and is ready to put those old skills back into practice.
13 He Has Superhuman Strength That’s On The Same Level As Bowser And Donkey Kong
Wario might more closely resemble his human counterparts, Mario and Luigi, but anyone that’s driven a lightweight racer into Wario at full-speed in Mario Kart 64 knows that the guy is built like Bowser or Donkey Kong, some of Nintendo’s behemoths.
Simple stats ratings throughout the many Nintendo sports games that Wario appears in confirms the character’s super strength and how it’s comparable to that of Donkey Kong and Bowser. There’s so much more evidence in this regard though.
For instance, Wario replaces the Metal Cap in Super Mario 64 DS, officially taking over Mario’s more strenuous activity in the game. Wario’s moveset in Wario World is also largely strength-based (Mario typically doesn't resort to piledrivers on Goombas and Shy Guys).
Even Wario’s initial appearance in Mario Land 2 shows him to be so powerful that his equivalent of Mario's ground pound technique causes earthquakes to occur. By the time Wario Land: Shake It! comes around, Wario’s refined his skills enough that he can cause earthquakes by simply punching the ground.
12 He Has A Strong Control Over The Main Elements
If Pokémon has taught the world anything, it’s that understanding and mastering the powers of the elements is absolutely crucial business.
Wario has a truly eclectic mix of power-ups and abilities at his disposal, but a lot of these forms may seem counterproductive when push comes to shove. After all, when is the extremely obese Fat Wario going to win in a fight?
That’s why it’s so important that Wario knows to respect the classics here and gives the proper amount of attention to the main elements. Wario’s journeys see the adventurer experimenting with abilities like Flaming Wario, Electric Wario, and Frozen Wario, all of which have him prepared for whatever element he’s going up against.
Mario’s been coasting on a solid grasp of fire for too long now and only recently mastered ice. Wario understands that it’s important to expand your horizons. If Wario gets stranded in a pool of water or around some electric conductors, he’s going to be just fine. Wall kicks and fireballs are only going to carry Mario so far though.
11 He's A Skilled Electrician And Is Actually Quite Intelligent
It's crucial to understand that not only is Wario a lot more intelligent than Mario and Luigi, but he's also a borderline genius. It's easy to get lost in the character's rough around the edges attitude and his burly exterior, but there's also somehow a winning brain in there too.
Mario and Luigi routinely get their innovative equipment courtesy of Professor E. Gadd, but Wario is much scrappier and resorts to building all of his own equipment and weaponry. Whether this is because E. Gadd refuses to serve Wario and he needs to put matters into his own hands remains to be seen, but it doesn't change his skills.
Some of the more impressive examples of Wario's intelligence and electrical prowess in action can be seen with how he builds a functional inter-dimensional portal in a matter of seconds in Wario Land: Shake It! Rick Sanchez might not even be capable of working that fast.
In Wario: Master of Disguise, Wario’s “Telmet” invention allows him to travel into television. Also, several earlier titles throughout Wario's run make reference to his skills as an electrician, which clearly blossoms into an all-around mastery in the field.
10 He's In Possession Of A Sentient Magic Wand
Sure, Mario has had his fair share of atypical helper buddies throughout the years, but some of Wario's partners could legitimately give Mario's sidekicks nightmares.
One of the most unusual situations that Wario finds himself in involves him coming in possession of a powerful magic wand, Goodstyle, in Wario: Master of Disguise. Not only does this magic wand grant Wario tremendous power, but it also happens to have a mind of its own, adding a particularly unusual wrinkle to this relic.
Unfortunately, further exploits between Wario and Goodstyle have yet to take place, especially since the Wiimote would have been such a natural incorporation of the character. All of the ingredients are there for an unconventional platformer whenever Nintendo is ready to throw Wario back into the fray.
9 He Can Speak German
So here's something that Wario should pride himself on: he's the only Mario brother who is bilingual. Around the era of the Nintendo 64 when many Nintendo characters were finally getting to "speak" in some capacity, some very curious decisions were made regarding Wario's origins.
The major one being that in the Japanese titles he's portrayed as German. In the Japanese versions of Mario Kart 64, and the first two Mario Party titles, Wario is voiced by Thomas Spindler, a German translator. He even speaks two German lines (including "So ein Mist").
This is far from unintentional and according to Nintendo staff, voice directors chose for Wario to specifically be of German descent. This bizarre aspect of the character slowly disappears over the years and of course in the English versions of the game Charles Martinet portrays Wario, rather than a German voice actor.
8 He Can Turn Into A Ball Of String
Tanooki Mario? So what! Bunny Mario? Who cares! When culling through the annals of the power-ups and transformations throughout the Mario universe, it's hard to get more insane than turning into a ball of string.
Ball o’ String Wario makes its appearance in Wario Land 3 and it's pretty hard to take the thing seriously. The Wario Land titles have a definite slant towards puzzle solving within its platforming elements and while turning into a ball of string might not seem practical, soon it becomes the only way to break through platforms and gain access to treasure.
With there already being a Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Yoshi’s Wooly World, why not push Wario in the same direction? He was unraveling and driving cats crazy years before anyone else.
7 He's A Video Game Developer And CEO Of His Own Company
Somewhere along the line when Wario was refining his electrician skills and plundering away priceless artifacts, he decides to go along and incorporate himself. Wario makes a go at joining the big leagues and turns a profit as a reputable video game developer.
The WarioWare franchise is entirely based on the premise of Wario shifting his priorities into the game development business, with the countless microgames from the series being the fruits of his labor. On top of all of that, he's not just some developer. It's his company-- he's the CEO. When was the last time Mario was ever attending board meetings with the majority stockholders?
If all of this wasn't enough on its own, a "Wario Pharmacy" is seen within the stages of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! So clearly Wario is only going deeper with his skills and monopoly, adding pharmaceuticals to the mix too.
6 He Has A Superhero Alter Ego
Mario might have his Super Mario form that apparently grants him added height and strength, but Wario sports a whole other alter ego to fight evil. The instruction manual for WarioWare: Touched! reflects on Wario’s alias rather elegantly: “Stouter than an iron burrito... Studlier than a snow tire... I am... Wario-Man!” Doesn’t that say it all?
Wario-Man first shows up in WarioWare: Touched! but quickly becomes a staple of the franchise. Wario taps into this powered up version of himself when he consumes “Nasty Garlic,” with the games going as far as referring to the ingredient as Wario’s “radioactive spider bite” into becoming a superhero.
The Wario-Man routine is so popular that it also becomes Wario’s Final Smash in the Super Smash Bros. series. One superhero alias clearly isn’t enough for Wario either, as Wario: Master of Disguise sees him masquerading as “The Purple Wind” throughout his adventures. Hasn’t he ever heard of branding?
5 His Transformations Really Put Mario’s To Shame
It’s easy to get excited over all of the fun transformations that have become available to Mario through the years. It’s always so satisfying when new titles add more abilities to Mario’s roster that allow gameplay to change in challenging ways.
New jumping skills or a fancy new projectile are always a good time, but when it comes to Wario, he doesn’t settle when it comes to fresh transformations. The many “reactions” that Wario experiences in the Wario Land titles highlight Nintendo at their most creative and playful.
It’s this experimental attitude that leads to transformations like Flat Wario, Bull Wario, Snowman Wario, Fat Wario, and even Ice Skatin’ Wario. Wario Land II even throws a drunk Wario into the mix with “Crazy” Wario. Mario never gets to knock a few back.
Wario: Master of Disguise goes further with all of this by basing its gameplay around Wario’s seven new “disguises,” which include outlandish forms like Cosmic Wario, Arty Wario, and Dragon Wario. Suddenly Mario’s hammer skills aren’t so impressive.
4 He's Been An End Boss
Over the years Wario has slowly turned on his villainous ways with the character steadily growing into a commendable anti-hero with villains of his very own. Even though Wario might currently fit the bill as one of the "good guys," his career as an antagonist sees him become the ultimate baddie in a few titles.
Wario makes his grand appearance in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, where he hits the ground running as Mario's final foe (Bowser was surely crying in the shower after hearing the news). This isn't Wario's only stint as an end boss though. He's also the final antagonist for Toad in Wario’s Woods, establishing a weird dynamic between Wario and the shroom-based character.
Even though a number of Nintendo titles have focused on putting evil characters in the spotlight, such as Wario or Bowser, Mario has still never had the honor of popping up as an end boss. When it comes to the pomp and circumstance required to be a mighty final foe, Mario is still lacking in the department.
3 He Can Let Gluttony Get The Better Of Him
When it comes to the seven deadly sins, it doesn’t seem like many of Nintendo’s intellectual properties would be abusers of these moral restrictions.
In spite of Mario and the many characters to come out of Nintendo usually being beacons of morality, there’s one sin that Wario has a real hard time overcoming. Wario’s extreme gluttony may initially look like a bit of a joke, but the deeper one examines the character, the easier it is to see the drastic nature of this compulsion.
It’s no secret that Wario is a slave to his appetite, particularly when it comes to sweets. This gluttony becomes so intense though that a number of Wario’s transformations are based on him uncontrollably eating random things.
It’s not always food, either. This lust for consumption also leads to Wario eating inanimate objects. Wario aggressively biting his opponents is also a go-to attack of his throughout Smash Bros. WarioWare: Touched! first makes reference to Wario’s gluttony as a severe problem for the character, but clearly he has no interest in changing his ways.
2 Owns The Microgame Monopoly Whereas Mario Only Owns The Minigame Monopoly
Some gamers like short games, while other gamers like really short games. This tiny detail might not seem important, but it ultimately determines if gamers are more into Wario or Mario’s approach to multiplayer madness.
There’s no denying that Mario runs the racket on minigames in the Nintendo universe. The first Mario Party debuted nearly 20 years ago and they’re still churning out titles.
However, five years later Nintendo would get even more innovative with their experimentation of “microgames.” These gaming snippets are like minigames, but even shorter, often resulting in exercises that are only a few seconds long.
With Mario already doing a fine job pushing minigames, a more unusual approach was used for these atypical games, resulting in Wario becoming their mascot. Now there are over five titles in the popular WarioWare series and Wario has been seen as such a figurehead in the microgame community that fellow game in the genre, Rhythm Heaven, actually pays tribute to him and his games’ style. Mario’s still waiting for his touching homage…
1 He Can’t Die
Perhaps the most crucial difference between Wario and Mario is that one of the two happens to be invincible. Sort of a big deal, right? So much of the Mario games— especially the earlier ones— is about keeping Mario alive and preserving his limited health. This is a franchise that equips its protagonist with so little life that running into an enemy literally causes Mario to shrivel up into a smaller version of himself. Get hit again and he’s done for.
In order to better differentiate themselves from the existing Super Mario Land games, the Wario Land series focuses more on exploration and puzzle-solving. This means that keeping Wario alive isn’t the challenge here, but rather finding all the secrets and knowing how to properly use all of Wario’s items.
Accordingly, Wario has no health bar in the first two Wario land titles, making it impossible for him to die. Granted, the later Wario land titles did eventually incorporate a health bar into the franchise, but it’s still an afterthought to the other dominant aspects of the series. At one the titles even considered adding a “Garlic Meter” into play.
Do you know of any other crazier things that Wario can do that Mario cannot? Chomp down on some garlic and let us know in the comments!