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January 9, 2015

Top 12 Kirby Copy Abilities

Hey everyone, and welcome to 2015 on Planned All Along! What's planned? Well, at least two themed months, a lot of great reviews, even more videos... A lot of stuff really.

By the way, this is the 100th review post on Planned All Along!

On Christmas 2014, I received Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition for the Wii, the 20th anniversary celebration of the Kirby series! That box contains 6 Kirby games, bonus levels, episodes from the Kirby: Right Back At Ya! anime, and the box also has a collector's booklet AND a CD of music! I'm thrilled. This is great.

Even though I don't talk about it so much, I really like the Kirby series. Perhaps not as much as the Mario series or the Pokémon series, but it's still got a place in my heart. It's very fun to see all the forms Kirby can use, and it's even better to use them in combat. Sure, there are some amazing ones and then some that aren't as good. That's perfectly normal. And today, I asked myself what were the Kirby copy abilities that I loved above all the others. The team at HAL Laboratories got really creative with the many forms Kirby could use, and the combinations of forms too. In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, he could combine two basic abilities to get a stronger ability, and those were very creative.

Just imagine. I think those aren't even all of Kirby's copy abilities.

Keep in mind, those are my personal choices. I will like a Kirby transformation based on that ability's usefulness, the concept (what is IS), and Kirby's look once he's transformed. (Also, I won't include the transformations from the Super Smash Bros. Series.) So, let's start the first Top 12 of 2015 right now!

12. Match Kirby
Obtained in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards by combining the Fire and Spark powers, this ability is both hilarious and very effective. Kirby pulls out a bathing towel and rubs it over his head. It creates sparks... and then Kirby catches fire. He then starts running like crazy, killing enemies in his path. A silly idea gets turned into something very useful. In fact, when you look at the table of combinations in The Crystal Shards, you'll see some pretty odd ideas. Kirby can turn into a curling stone, a refrigerator, a light bulb, a Swiss army knife and a giant snare, among other oddities. It's almost a challenge to find them all.n You'll see many of them in this Top 12, probably because it's the Kirby game I played the most...

11. Needle Kirby
Kirby has a few signature forms, especially those based on the main elements. We all know about Fire Kirby, Ice Kirby, Sword Kirby... He also has one that turns him into kind of a porcupine: Needle Kirby. In that form, he kinda reminds me of the Spinies from the Mario series: His spikes can harm almost anything, he is protected from attacks by aerial enemies, and in some cases he can even stick to walls. In The Crystal Shards, the Needle form is basic and can be combined with all the other basic powers to create some truly impressive effects. Combined with Fire, Kirby will become a bow that shoots flaming arrows. With the Spark power, he becomes a lightning rod. With the Ice power, Kirby will become a giant stinging snowflake. And combined with a second Needle power, Kirby will turn into a Swiss Army thingy with lots of large (and weird) spiky items everywhere. Look! Ain't that weird?

10. Magic Kirby
This one appeared only twice so far: In Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, and in Kirby: Squeak Squad. In the former, it could be used only once, but in the latter it could be used as often as you wanted. And it's becoming one of my favorite Kirby forms to talk about. When you have a character who can have basically every power in existence if he can just inhale that power's owner, this means the team behind the Kirby games has to get very creative. Do you have any idea how many abilities Kirby had over the years? I won't make a clear number, but just know that it's around a hundred. And that's not counting the Smash Bros. Forms! Anyway, Magic Kirby is a creative one: When you activate the power, a roulette will be spun, and many different effects can occur: Kirby will gain a random Form, or all the enemies will turn into 1-Ups or into food, or Kirby will FREAKING SUMMON META KNIGHT WHO WILL SLICE ALL THE ENEMIES ON THE SCREEN WITH GALAXIA. Holy crap! Oh, and he also got some additional powers based around stage magic. He'll toss doves or cards at his enemies. Now all that's missing is him wearing a tuxedo like stage magicians and having vine-like handkerchiefs coming out of his sleeves, which then wrap his enemies and makes them unable to attack.

9. Exploding Snowman Kirby
The cap is lit.
This is gonna blow up!
No, I'm not making that up. It's as awesome as the name implies. You can combine two basic abilities in The Crystal Shards by inhaling two enemies with abilities at the same time (it's possible to combine an ability with itself as well to get a stronger version of the basic ability), or by spitting or tossing an ability at an enemy to get a combination. There are seven basic powers: Fire, Stone, Ice, Needle, Bomb, Spark and Cutter. And thus there are 28 possible combinations in that game alone. Sure, there's the odd mix like Stone+Spark, which causes Kirby to hurl electrified rocks... and then there's Ice+Bomb. You'd think Kirby would throw explosive snowballs or something... Nope! He turns into a snowman, which you can move around, and after a few seconds he blows up. I guess explosive snowballs felt too normal for the copycat warrior of Dream Land. It's one of the crazier weapons Kirby uses in the entire series. Part of the fun with The Crystal Shards was to find which power combination causes which ability to appear, and some of the results are just hilarious.

8. Animal Kirby
A form that appeared in Kirby: Squeak Squad, Kirby goes feral, grows claws, his feet become hairy, and a hat resembling a dog or wolf's head appear over the pink puffball's head. These new claws can dig underground, which proves to be very useful on many occasions. Oh, and he can maul the enemies with his bear hands. (Sorry, I really wanted to make that pun. I don't care if it doesn't work.) He usually gets that power by inhaling a Gaw Gaw, which are almost always found around ground areas. As a result, Kirby won't be able to use this ability anywhere away from that kind of level. Still, the design is really cool, the copy ability's secondary powers are really neat, and it's overall yet another form I wished Kirby could use in later games. Oh yeah, if Kirby stays still while using this ability, he'll start scratching himself like a dog. Cute.

7. Explosive Ninja Stars Kirby
Too bad he doesn't transform or put
on a hat or something...
Kind of like the explosive snowman, this is another Kirby form obtained by combining two basic powers in The Crystal Shards. You mix the Bomb and Cutter powers to get this. Kirby doesn't change physically, but he gains the ability to toss shurikens that explode on contact with something. The best part? You don't see the shurikens when Kirby tosses them. You only see when they hit something. Literally: Kirby throws them so fast that you don't see them. It's a great move to attack enemies from a distance. The only problem is that the item doesn't deviate from its trajectory, so it's a bit difficult to shoot at just the right height while jumping, and it's also important to note that the shurikens will get stuck in whatever stopped their flight, even if it's a wall. As such, using this form is a little tricky, but otherwise very fun. Also, note that Kirby does have a Ninja form, but oddly enough the two are unrelated. Explosive Ninja Stars Kirby doesn't wear Ninja Kirby's attire.

6. Beam Kirby
Masahiro Sakurai's favorite Kirby transformation. Kirby gains a jester hat and a magic wand, and shoots lots and lots of energy beams in front of him. Time and time again, this ability proved extremely effective against the dangers Kirby meets on the way. Kirby is always adorable (Heck, if he predated the English language, the word “adorable” would have been created just to describe him), and I don't think there is a single copy ability that actually makes him “ugly”. A tiny wee bit less cute, maybe? Sure. But ugly? Never. That's one of the amazing things about Kirby's design. And Beam Kirby is no exception. This one is almost as old as Kirby himself, too; its first appearance was in Kirby's Adventure for the NES, which was the second Kirby game... and the first one to use the “Inhaling an enemy to get its ability” mechanic. It's almost as old as Kirby himself! Oh, and it gained an upgrade in Kirby's Return To Dream Land as the ultra-powerful Flare Beam.

5. Stone Kirby
Not sure if turning into a stone is better than being stoned; I haven't tried either. But Kirby sure has done the former. Numerous times, too. It's one of his signature moves in the Super Smash Bros. series! It's mostly a defensive ability; if Kirby uses it on the ground, he'll be protected from most attacks. If he uses it over a baddie's head, however, that baddie better start deploying a tiny umbrella. Not like it's gonna help. It's a devastating move combined to a funny gimmick: Kirby will turn into a stone, sure, but he can turn into all kinds of heavy objects. Watch him turn into a Thwomp or a ton weight. That's when he's not transforming into a statue. In The Crystal Shards, he'll roll down hills, and when he's not moving by himself, you can move him around; he'd be invincible if he didn't lose his ability to jump at the same time... Also, if you combine two Stone basic powers, the mix will turn him into a bigger stone statue that will look like a bigger Kirby. That's cool.

Those are all things Kirby can turn into thanks
to the Stone ability. Impressive, huh?

4. Drill Kirby
Say what you want, but almost anything is better with drills. Any craftsman will be happier with a drill, any science-fiction villain will appear more threatening with a drill in hand, and any hero using them as a weapon of mass destruction against hordes of enemies is suddenly a bit more amazing. Kirby is no exception! To get it, you need to combine the Stone and Needle abilities in The Crystal Shards (boy, I sure talk about this game a lot, don't I?). When attacking, one of Kirby's arms will morph into a drill larger than Kirby himself and the Star Warrior will run forward and pierce through any villain in his path. He can also attack in midair, ramming into any unlucky enemy located right under him. Cool design, cool idea overall, and a very useful power. Drill Kirby gets two thumbs up from me.

3. Fire Kirby
The last Elemental Kirby I'll show here, Kirby gains a headband with a precious stone and a flaming mane. In the anime, he even turns red! It's also another iconic ability that debuted in Kirby's Adventure along with the Beam and Ice forms. And it's been useful ever since. It's just one of those abilities that work well against almost anything. Due to fire itself being a popular method of attack regardless of the universe (Right, Fire Mario?), there are variants to Fire Kirby, such as Burning Kirby. It can also be combined with many other abilities, resulting in lots of creative instances of fire being used as a weapon. It's even got two upgrades that make it even more impressive: The Monster Flame from Kirby's Return to Dream Land (see that blast of fire turn into a dragon!) and the Fire Sword Kirby from Squeak Squad, which has all the abilities of fire and can have effects on the environment (lighting up candles, burning grass, etc.). Hey, I'm fine with a Fire Kirby, as long as we never ever wind up with a Napalm (or Nuclear) Kirby...

2. Jedi Master OR Sith Lord Kirby
OK, that's a joke. The actual title is “Double-Bladed Laser Sword Kirby”. But seriously, every geek out there knows what this ability is referencing. The game itself is referencing it, for Christ's sake! Kirby runs around with a double-sided laser blade (AKA Lightsaber)! It's not just for show, either; this weapon is very efficient. Watch our little adorable puffball as he slices through villains with this majestic weapon of pure energy! Kirby might not gain any cool hat or new features with this weapon, but does it matter? Sure, it's great to see the design created for every copy ability, but what really matters is its effectiveness in the game, right? And trust me, this one is effective. It's gained in The Crystal Shards by combining Cutter and Spark, and YES, if someday Masahiro Sakurai launched a poll to ask us which copy abilities we wanted in the next Kirby game, I would totally vote for Double-Bladed Laser Sword Kir- Scratch that, I meant JEDI MASTER KIRBY.

1. Mike Kirby
As a guy whose musical talent is... lacking, to say the least, and as a fan of the Astérix comic books (in which a running gag is the Gaul village's bard's absolute musical incompetence), I can relate to that power of Kirby's. There's been a few one-use abilities over the course of the series, such as Crash Kirby or Cook Kirby. But to me, nothing beats Mike Kirby. The cute hero dons a pair of headphones and grabs a microphone, starts singing... and destroys every enemy on the screen. NOW that's what I call pipes! Sure, it must be godawful to hear, but hey, it kills everything that is standing too close! It's also, to my knowledge, the source of one of the most hilarious moments in the entire Kirby: Right Back At Ya! anime. Just by singing, Kirby caused not only one, but multiple Eldritch horrors to explode AND totaled Castle Dedede. That'll teach them to let a kid like Kirby get a hold of a microphone... Should I... oh, why not. Here's the clip.

It just comes the Heck out of nowhere. It's also an ability Kirby has had since the very first game. It's one of Kirby's most famous (or infamous) abilities, and anyone who knows about it will chuckle. It's just really, really, really funny.Great concept, great effect, great comedy, great look (Kirby with headphones? I'll buy!), to me it deserves the #1 spot.

Are there abilities I left aside? Forms I have overlooked? Things that I missed? Would you have placed another ability on #1? Share them in the comments! I never talk about the Kirby series as much as I'd want to, but since the 20th Anniversary Wii game contains 6 retro games AND new levels, I might have to make place for one or two Kirby Months in the future!

See you next week! What's the movie this time around? Super Mario.... Bros.... The... mov.... ie... CRISSE DE CÂLISSE DE TABARNAK!