Think Pink! Day 2: Excellent Adventures

Posted by Captain K

Think Pink! is a week long tribute to the pink puff we all know as Kirby. In honor of Kirby’s new game Kirby’s Epic Yarn, every day this week we’ll be taking a look at a different set of his adventures. From Dream Land to amazing mirrors, golf to pinball, canvas to knitting, we will celebrating every single one of Kirby’s games. Enjoy!

Today we’ll be covering my favorite entry in the entire Kirby franchise, as well as its outstanding remake, and the compilation that raised the bar for all Kirby games since. There is very little negative to say about any of the games today, as they are all excellent examples of how to make the series’ base mechanics work best. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Kirby’s Adventure

Platform: NES

Release: May 1, 1993

Developer: HAL Laboratory

 

 

While not the official sequel to Kirby’s Dream Land, this was the second release in the franchise. Being given the opportunity to develop for the full color NES, HAL decided to pull out all the stops and really take advantage of the hardware. They started by making some major changes to the Kirby formula that would up becoming permanent fixtures. For starters, they painted Kirby pink for the first time giving him his trademark look. Next, they expanded on the original game’s design of straight forward level progression by adding a map screen of sorts where Kirby could walk around and choose what levels or mini-games he wanted to participate in. Finally, this game marked the first appearance of Kirby’s copy ability. While the main mechanic still revolved around Kirby inhaling enemies, he could now swallow them and adopt their abilities. This turned out to be not only a cool way to defeat enemies, but opened the door to a world of unlockable hidden paths. Certain areas could only be reached with powers gained in previous levels which added a layer of strategy to the experience.

This game is without a doubt my favorite Kirby game. It hits every note an NES game should and does so with uncommon flair and personality. The improvements from the first game to this one are so tremendous that this could have turned into a different franchise altogether, but they still maintain the unifying physics and art direction that made the first game so great. It’s also worth noting that this is at times a real technical marvel by NES standards. The final boss battle uses all sorts of effects, like parallax scrolling, that you almost never see on the system. It truly is a sight to behold, and one of my all time favorite final boss battles.

Plus, this is the first appearance of Metaknight, who pops up throughout the game in true Proto Man fashion, never truly letting you know if he is friend or foe, finally culminating in another totally awesome boss battle.

Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land

Platform: Game Boy Advance

Release: December 2, 2002

Developer: HAL Laboratory

 

Several years later, Kirby had become a household name and it was time to bring him to Nintendo’s newest handheld, the Game Boy Advance. It was decided that instead of an all new game, they would produce a full remake of Kirby’s Adventure. The results were very impressive. The graphics were the most obvious upgrade, but they also added new challenges, bonus games, and an unlockable mode that let you play through the entire quest as Metaknight. On top of all that, the music was given a major overhaul. The NES game had a fantastic soundtrack that featured some of the franchise’s most memorable tunes. For this reason, repurposing the 8-bit score was given a lot of care and attention. This process can prove to be tricky if not done right, but thankfully their execution was flawless.

On a bizarre side note, this game’s cover art is a perfect example of a strange trend in American gaming. For whatever reason, American publishers feel the need to make their game covers seem more “action-packed” than their Japanese counterparts. The results can be pretty strange, especially when the main character is someone as cute as Kirby. Even with his Street Fighter headband and grimacing face, Kirby is still adorable. Weird.

Kirby Super Star

Platform: Super NES

Release: September 23, 1996

Developer: HAL Laboratory

 

Considered by most to be the best game in the franchise, Kirby Super Star is a collection of bite-sized Kirby adventures all rolled up into one awesome Super NES cartridge. 5 of the 8 games included are traditional platformers including “Spring Breeze,” a full remake of the original Game Boy game, and “Revenge of Metaknight,” where players square off against Kirby’s mysterious rival on his giant flying battleship, The Halberd. The remainder are what would be considered mini-games by today’s standards, including “Gourmet Race” which features the first appearance of one of the most popular Kirby themes ever.

Where Kirby’s Adventure improved on the art style created in Dream Land, Kirby Super Star perfected it. From a purely aesthetic point of view, this is without a doubt the best Kirby game. The colors almost unbelievably vibrant, the animation is flawless, and the music is top-notch. There’s a sharpness to the presentation that stands out and while the overall design is still very simple, it is done so boldly here that it works like a charm. Reviews for the game were very favorable across the board, and while it never reached the high sales of games like Donkey Kong Country or Super Mario World, it is still considered a great success.

Kirby Super Star: Ultra

Platform: Nintendo DS

Release: September 22, 2008

Developer: HAL Laboratory

 

Unfortunately all remakes aren’t as amazing as Nightmare in Dream Land. Nintendo saw fit to repurpose Kirby Super Star for the Nintendo DS as Kirby Super Star: Ultra and the results did not impress. The art style was toned down several notches in order to make it match some of the more modern Kirby games, and while it still featured all the same content as the original, it didn’t feel as tight. This game stands as a testament to the fact that it is certainly possible to over-animate. Every move is very exaggerated, resulting in strange hit detection which inevitably leads to cheap deaths.

In addition to the complete original game, new mini-games were added that took advantage of the DS’s touch screen. They were serviceable, but ultimately proved to be pointless. Bear in mind that I’m not saying this game is bad or ugly, because it’s not. On the contrary, this is a great game. It just has a hard time living up to the legacy of its older brother.

That’s all for Day 2. Join us tomorrow as we finish off the remaining traditional platformers in Kirby’s repertoire. Things will get even stranger for our pink hero as his abilities take on odd new forms. He’ll make some colorful friends who have their own cell phones and solve the mystery of a missing cake. See you tomorrow!

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Posted on October 18, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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