Today is a great day for Wii U owners in North America, as Platinum Games’ newest, superhero-themed action title The Wonderful 101 has finally launched in your territory! And it isn’t letting up with its Zelda references, after previously hinting at the series’ Heart Pieces with “Hero Heart Fragments” and quoting the famous “It’s a secret to everybody!” line. In a third reference I’ve found, the game is even more blatant in its love for Zelda, as there is an entire level set in a place called “Lowrule”.
In Operation 005, after navigating through the jungles of Mt. Ogretoe, our heroes venture into The Lost City of Lowrule. The level itself doesn’t really house more obvious references to the Zelda series any further than its name, although in this Operation there are points where you can light up torches to solve puzzles and reveal concealed items.
Here’s some other Nintendo references I’ve noticed: some boss fights are reminiscent of Punch-Out!!; Wonder Black has a handheld that looks very similar to a 3DS; and Wonder Gamer has what looks like a Famicom controller on his hat, to name a few. When you consider that the game was originally intended to feature an all-star Nintendo cast, these similarities make a lot of sense. Perhaps at one point in development, these weren’t just references but blatant homage levels to Nintendo’s franchises. I’m convinced that in early development stages, Wonder Blue and his Valiantum Blade was in fact Link and the Master Sword, and Wonder Red and his Unite Fist was Mario and his fiery, gloved fist.
There are of course also references to Platinum’s other games, such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Bayonetta, as well as director Hideki Kamiya’s previous superhero game, Viewtiful Joe. If you’ve found any more in your time with the game, I’d be fascinated to know! The Wonderful 101 is now available worldwide, and once again I’d personally highly recommend picking it up.