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January 15, 2016

Kirby's Adventure (Part 1)

It was a nice day in Dream Land… UNTIL THE NIGHTMARES CAME!!!! …Or did they? Actually, it’s the opposite, all the dreams are gone! I mean, I would be fine with not having nightmares anymore, but dreams? Damn this would make for boring nights. Alright, we have to save the subconscious!

Kirby’s Adventure was the second Kirby game to be released. This time, Kirby made his big debut on a home console, and we would finally get to see him pink. And that’s good; white, he was just freaky. This was also the game where Kirby became the copycat we all know and love today. This turned out to be a particularly impressive tour de force; since most Kirby abilities would transform the main character’s sprites (and require different attack sprites as well), this meant that there were 26 different hero sprites. Unhappy with creating such an avant-garde video game, the developers at HAL Laboratory also added mini-games and other bonus content.

I don’t think I need to explain much about the Kirby series by now; and if you don’t know much about it, be sure to check out my previous reviews of Kirby games to catch up with the rest. All caught up? Good! Let’s start! And I’ll try to make it short.

Ever heard of "Show, Don't Tell"?
One day, Kirby was asleep in Dream Land… and he suddenly realizes that he can’t dream! Oh, the irony! As it turns out, all the inhabitants of Dream Land suffer from the same mysterious problem. Kirby heads over to the Fountain of Dreams, where rests the mighty Star Rod. However, when Kirby gets there, he finds out that King Dedede has broken up the Star Rod into seven pieces and handed them to his toughest minions! Ah, you puny plotting penguin! You’ll pay for this! And thus, Kirby sets out on a quest to restore the dreams in Dream Land, even if that means chewing gum and kicking asses… but Kirby is all out of gum. No problem, he’ll feast on enemies instead!

Our valiant yet vindictive vanquisher ventures into Vegetable Valley! This is the first world, so it’s not all that special, though it does introduce most of the concepts in the game. For starters, each “world” starts off as a small piece of land surrounded by blocks, and a single level available. When that level is beaten, some of the world is uncovered, and thus we move forward, until we reach the Boss Stage... and once that world’s boss is defeated, we move on to the next world. Basic stuff, really, but Kirby’s Adventure does it in a way I’ve rarely seen other platforming games do. What’s more, sometimes when unlocking the next level you’ll also discover a mini-game, which you can play to earn more points, extra lives, or new Kirby abilities. At the end of this world, we face against a traditional Kirby boss, Whispy Woods! Dammit, you again? I should just go get my chainsaw and make a new wardrobe out of you. I need one for all my CDs and games… Although, being the first boss, Whispy is pretty easy to defeat, as usual. And thus we unlock world 2!

Our intrepid IndianaKirby intrudes into Ice-Cream Island this instant! …Seriously though, why am I giving myself this self-imposed challenge of creating an alliteration for each world? I might be able to do it if the game doesn’t start using more difficult letters… Things are starting to get tough. There are multiple swimming portions where Kirby is unable to inhale, and there are also palm trees with EXPLOSIVE COCONUTS! I mean, wow, I’d hate to be living in a world where coconuts explode when I get close to a palm tree! And of course these don’t give Kirby any abilities… The boss at the end of this world is Paint Roller, a painter on roller skates who summons random monsters from its paintings. A particularly annoying opponent since he seems to be creating the enemies at random, so you can never be prepared for what he does. Still, Paint Roller is soon defeated, and we move on to World 3...

The Babel-like Butter Building! Beautiful, if belittling! The brawly baby will blast the beasts that block him! This world all takes place around the same tower, and thus mostly features interior rooms… but there are sections outside the building, sections of platforms outside the tower, sections that go around the whole building…

Goin' 'round the tower...

Map by Drshnaps.
WOW. This effect was impressive at the time, and it’s still impressive now. NES games rarely had animated backgrounds, so it’s quite great to watch. Of course, by now video games have evolved far beyond this, but there was a time where seeing the wall of the tower move along with Kirby was actually a big deal. I know it’s hard to believe. I won’t blame you if you don’t. But in video game-making, this was impressive.

This is also the world that introduces a more important aspect of this game: Secret switches. Yes, kinda like in Super Mario World… Except completely different. See, in Kirby’s Adventure the switches are hidden within the levels of each world. There can be anywhere from two to six secret switches in a world, across the six levels of that world (and yes, this means that one world has a secret switch in every level). Many of these secret switches can be found by regular Kirby, but some require certain abilities. Others need a bit of logical thinking. As for what these switches do, they unlock parts of the world they’re in, usually granting Kirby access to bonus zones where he can earn points, power-ups or extra lives. One notable example is the first stage in Butter Building, where pressing the switch reveals an Arena where Kirby has to defeat a mid-boss foe. As an example, in this world, the mid-boss is…

…Robert the tire from that absurdist horror movie Rubber?????

No, actually, that foe is called a Wheelie, but a tire with an eye and a will of its own will always remind me of that sentient psychic murderous tire. Yes, those are four words that got together to form the basis of a horror film. And this is the only game in the series (aside from its own remake) that features Wheelies looking like this, too! Although, if we want utmost precision, I should say the bigger enemy is called a Grand Wheelie, and it releases smaller Wheelies as one of its attacks… but by now I’m just stretching.

Alright, moving on. While I’m on the subject of unlocking secret sections of each level, I should mention what exactly these secret sections consist of. First, there’s a few mini-games:
It's gonna fall it's gonna fall!
Why do I waste my money in this??
-Crane Fever! A small Kirby and a larger Kirby fall in a crane machine (of the kind you win plushies from). You press A to move the crane to the right, and when you release A, the crane stops, descends, and - if you placed it above one – will pick up a Kirby. After which the Kirby will be dragged back to the exit. If the Kirby falls off the hook, you get nothing. If you get the small Kirby, that’s one extra life, while the big Kirby is worth two; the catch is that the big Kirby falls off from the crane more easily. Praise the hook, for it can grant life! Praise the hook, for it can release thou from thyne glass prison and into the world! PRAISE THE HOOK!
-Egg Catcher: Dedede throws a bunch of eggs at Kirby, but mixes it up with bombs. You must press A to open Kirby’s mouth so that he'll eat as many eggs as possible, but release A to make sure he doesn't eat a bomb. Did you know that when he was a lad, Kirby ate four dozen eggs? Every morning? And now that he’s a month older, he eats five dozen eggs? Gee, I’d hate to see when he reaches adult age. However, if Kirby gulps a bomb, he explodes and the minigames ends; after which you get a score based on how many eggs Kirby gulped.
-Quick Draw: Kirby faces off against a few enemies in a good old-fashioned shootout. You have to wait for the opponent to raise its weapon, after which you press A to beat it. The further you get, the more points you earn, up to the last opponent who gives out a 1-Up. Can you be enough of a quick draw for that? Well, just like in Fast Draw Showdown, I suck at this mini-game, big time. If it was Slow Draw, maybe I would have better chances…

Grab the sword guy. Come on! It's a quick Link cosplay!
Note I said "quick", not "accurate".

No Items! Kirby Only! Arena! FIGHT!
Some worlds also have a Museum, where one or two enemies with abilities are showcased, and Kirby can choose to inhale one of them. Sometimes the powers given in the museum are useful in that world, other times… not so much. Seriously, what makes you think that I’d ever need Sleep Kirby???? Then there’s the Arena, where Kirby fights against opponents of mid-boss strength. If he defeats the mid-boss, he earns a Maxim Tomato as well as the possibility to inhale the mid-boss and gain its ability. Last but not least, the last thing unlocked in each world is the Warp Star, a quick transportation that lets you go from a world to another without having to pass through each world again. I guess that’s all there was to say about the mini-games and other extras in the main game, which means it’s time to go back to the adventure.

When even the Sun and the Moon are against you,
then you must be doing something seriously wrong.
At the top of Butter Building, Kirby fights the Moon and the Sun. Or, rather, avatars of them: Mr. Light and Mr. Shine. Either way, those two work as a team against little Kirby, and both have a set amount of HP to deplete. When one is attacking on the ground, the other takes to the skies and rains mighty blows on our pink hero. Regardless of the position of each, you can inhale the collision stars and throw them back. See, in this particular case them working as a team also works against them, as the one in the skies will summon things that Kirby can inhale and spit back at the one on the ground. While we're on this, I have to say I kinda hope we have had it wrong all that time and it's not Mr. Sun Shine and Mr. Moon Light, instead being Mr. Sun Light and Mr. Moon Shine. Admit it, that would be funny. Eventually both are defeated, and we move on to…

…Grape Garden! On these grand grounds, will the good guy grow to greatness? He’ll gobble goons and get their gift! ...Wow, that made no sense. Now, Grape Garden is actually a world on clouds, so there’s a lot of high-altitude adventuring here. And as per video game rules, this means solid clouds, a lot of deadly pits, many flying enemies… Although, when we’re talking about high altitude, you KNOW which boss we’re talking about in the Kirby series…

Goddammit, it’s the fucking Kracko again! And this time, he has decided to be an even bigger jerk than before, because you are chased by Kracko Jr. from lower clouds, all the way to the actual battlefield, and you have to survive that. Kracko continues the trend of being a pain in the backside every time he appears. It’s kind of a tradition, in the anime he’s also one of the most dangerous monsters sent by NightMare Enterprises. Thankfully, after the cyclopean cloud is destroyed, we move on to World 5…

Oh, but wait, what’s that? I have too much to say for a single article? I’m gonna have to split this in two parts? Alright then, I guess we’ll be seeing each other next Monday for Part 2 of this review.