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January 18, 2016

Kirby's Adventure (Part 2)

Welcome back! So, I’ve already discussed half the game in Part 1, now let’s see what I can add in Part 2! Well… for starters, why not discuss the Copy Abilities?

All the abilities in the game.
Kirby’s Adventure was the first appearance of Copy Abilities, and they were pretty important. This is also the first appearance of many of these signature abilities Kirby has: He can use Stone and Hammer here, two abilities that became his regular attacks in the Super Smash Bros. series. He also has access to some of the best known abilities in the franchise, some that would return time and time again: Beam, Cutter, Fire, Ice, Laser, Needle, Parasol, Spark, Sword… There’s also the ever-popular “destroy everything on the screen” abilities, Mike and Crash.

I'm sorry to say, but my Fighter Kirby
plush never came equipped with a
Waddle Dee's ass to kick.
There’s also a few lesser known Kirby abilities, such as Throw and Backdrop, which release the inner wrestler inside Kirby and make him wipe the floor with his enemies. There’s the Ball ability, which I’m absolutely terrible at using, and there’s the Hi-Jump ability, which can hurt enemies though its main purpose is to reach high ledges easily. One ability, Light, serves only the purpose of lighting up dark hallways. There’s always one enemy with that ability conveniently placed in these dark rooms. Then there’s Sleep, hands down the most useless ability ever. I guess that’s all I have to say about the abilities in this game… Oh, I almost forgot! Some of these abilities are necessary to open paths towards switches that open secrets in the worlds of the game. This means you’ll sometimes have to go back to previous levels to get one ability in particular, then go back and get to the switch. It’s not always simple, and you need to avoid getting hit during the level if you don’t want to have to get that ability back… but it’s a neat little challenge. Alright, now that this is out of the way, let’s move to… World 5!

Ack! Good thing I'm not claustrophobic!
Yogurt Yard! Yak… Yokel… Yanmega… Yo-yo… Yummy… Yin-Yang… Yabba-dabba-dooo… Hey, don’t blame me, it’s impossible to make an alliteration in Y that would fit with what’s going on in that world! …I use the “Skip Part of the Challenge Free” card. This world takes place around a large mountain. And, what a coincidence, the boss is a large digging machine called Heavy Mole. The little enemies thrown at Kirby by the Heavy Mole can give him either the Hammer or Sleep abilities; Hammer can turn out useful, but Sleep could easily kill you, seeing as this is a scrolling level and Kirby going out of the screen – due to falling asleep – will result in losing a life instantly. After it’s defeated, we get to World 6…

The overcast, off-putting (and obligatory) Orange Ocean! For a moment I was mistaking it for the Orange Islands. I’m thinking about the wrong franchise. Before I describe the boss here, I need to explain something: Throughout the game, there have been encounters with a mysterious character looking like a masked Kirby. This character would often intrude with his crew, sending them at Kirby, and the pink puffball would have to defeat all of the team’s members before being allowed to move forward in the level. At other times, the masked character would drop something to help Kirby on his way. As you may have already guessed, this is Meta Knight we’re talking about. His frequent interactions with Kirby imply that he’s trying to stop our hero, although that doesn’t explain why he sometimes offers his help… although, if you subscribe to the theory that Meta Knight is acting like a secret mentor to Kirby, then his behavior makes more sense.

Kapow! Unmasked!
At the end of the sixth world, Meta Knight fights Kirby one-on-one, and offers him a sword. Which you HAVE to take. This is a sword duel, and you can’t skip it. You’re forced to use an ability you may not be all that good with, so this is probably one of the hardest bosses in the game. Hell, it would be one of the hardest bosses even if you didn’t have to pick up the sword. There’s a reason Meta Knight is called badass, after all. Still, eventually Meta Knight is defeated, and we move on to the final world…

Quick, Kirby, avoid Dedede's Grand Slam!
…Rainbow Resort! That’s right! I’ll just drop the alliteration now. There’s not much to say about this world. It’s the last one, so it’s the hardest. Its boss is, of course, King Dedede. And the battle is quite similar to the one at the end of Kirby’s Dream Land, although he has one or two new attacks, such as inflating like a balloon and flying at Kirby. If you don’t have an ability, you can still inhale his collision stars and throw them back, but if you have a good attack that can harm Dedede from afar, the battle should be a little easier. I mean, this penguin has loads of HP. When King Dedede is defeated, Kirby gains the last piece of the Star Rod, and proceeds…

…to the Fountain of Dreams! King Dedede hopelessly tries to stop Kirby from replacing the rod at the top of the fountain, but Kirby does so anyway… and, as a result, a large ball of darkness shows up. This is it, the real enemy! It turns out the inhabitants of Dream Land had suffered nightmares for a moment now, because of this thing, and Dedede was trying to stop the nightmares by breaking the Star Rod, which is the source of all the dreams in Dream Land! As a result, everyone had lost their dreams, but it was better than constant nightmares! And now that the pieces have been reunited, Nightmare is free to take over!

…Good job, Kirby. Good job.

Kneel before my overbearing horns
and my asscheek chin!

Although it’s not entirely hopeless! Dedede inhales Kirby and the Star Rod and sends them at the ball. What follows is a shoot-em up segment where Kirby has to deplete the ball’s HP in a set amount of time. Eventually, both Kirby and his opponent land on the moon, and the ball takes a vaguely humanoid shape, and it gains a humanlike face with dark shades and a cleft chin that would make a lot of superheroes jealous. This is Nightmare. Here it is, the final boss.

Nightmare: Bringing new meaning to the
expression "Shooting Stars".
For this battle, Kirby is equipped with the Star Rod, which counts as a Copy Ability that cannot be lost when Kirby gets hit. And that’s a good thing, because Nightmare is a tough boss. For starters, he’s impervious to most attacks. His freaking cape protects him, his face doesn’t feel any damn pain… his only weakness is the tornado-like cone the rest of his body is made of. You can only hurt him there, which is not easy because he can still use his cape to protect his weak point. Thankfully, Kirby has two modes of attack: He can shoot a blast with the Star Rod, which does quite a bit of damage but can be swatted back by Nightmare’s defenses, or he can just jump and spin the Star Rod around himself, which does far less damage but is more effective at touching Nightmare’s weak point, as you can just jump while below him. Both attacks have their ups and downs, the key is to use them both to achieve victory. Nightmare has multiple attacks that reveal his core, but sometimes the window of time for action is too small.

Thankfully, at some point Nightmare’s HP is depleted. The ensuing explosion blows a hole in the previously full moon, reducing it to a crescent. I mean, wow, was this guy made of dynamite or something? And damn, I’d hate to see the tides on the next day… Kirby escapes the blast on the Warp Star and flies across Dream Land, restoring everyone’s dreams. Finally, people can have good nights of sleep again! Yay! Roll credits.

Oh, but wait, this isn’t over! Kirby’s Adventure saves your progress, so you can leave it and come back later! Back then, this, too, was a pretty big deal, especially since this is a feature that was kept for RPGs, mostly, and hardly ever heard of for platformer games. And that’s a good thing, as there are still many things to try in this game! For starters, beating the game (and Nightmare) unlocks the VS Boss Mode.

Kirby, he's on the OTHER SIDE!
Pictured: Heavy Mole, one of the weirder bosses.
If you’ve ever played through Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s Boss Battles mode, you know how it goes. One Life! No Items! Fox Only! Final Dest- Oh wait, I got mixed up. Basically, you have only one life to knock out all ten bosses of the game. Well, the VS Boss mode of Kirby’s Adventure is the same thing; you have only one life, and you must defeat all the bosses without getting hurt too much. However, unlike Smash where the characters can be dealt a lot of damage, here Kirby still has only six Hit Points, against all eight bosses. And no, there’s no rest stop between bosses to replenish Kirby’s health. If you lose the only life you have, it’s over, and you have to start all over again. This is one Hell of a hardcore mode. You need to be really good to beat it.

But wait, this isn’t the only secret in this game! If you find all the secret switches and achieve 100% completion, you’ll discover the last secret mode of Kirby’s Adventure: Extra Mode. Just like the Extra Mode of Kirby’s Dream Land, this is a harder mode where Kirby only has half his usual amount of Hit Points, so you cannot get hit too often. It’s there if you want to try it, but you need to be excellent at this game if you want to have any chance.

Be the light that pierces the darkness!
Be the champion who defeats evil!
Be the baby that engulfs Maxim Tomatoes!
...Uh, forget that last one.
So yeah, I guess that’s everything I had to say. This is an awesome game. Kirby’s Adventure is a major step up from its predecessor in the Kirby series. HAL Laboratory had one chance to make this concept work, and they did an amazing job. The Copy Abilities are very well implemented, each one takes some time getting used to, but you can become a master at using any of them. …Well, except Sleep, but that’s kind of the point. On a certain standpoint, this game feels huge and epic. It’s still a platformer, but there’s a sense that everything is used to its fullest extent. The difficulty progression is just fine, the mini-games are a lot of fun, and the many special zones available in each world are neat touches. The secrets in certain levels are often difficult to find, but someone who uses logic can still find them with relative ease. It does require a greater knowledge of the abilities, however, as some switches require very particular abilities to be found. Some levels seem perfect to test the particularities of certain abilities, like that ice level that has floating ice platforms that deflect the rays thrown by UFO Kirby.

Use UFO Kirby to have adventures out of this world!

The games has plenty of features to keep you interested. You can try to perfect your mastery of the different mini-games, or you can give yourself a lot of challenges (such as trying to beat the game without ever using Copy Abilities). Last but not least, the unlockable modes, by their crazy difficulty, are meant for gamers who know the game and want it to be a lot more difficult.

Nightmare is a very interesting villain, I still
can't figure out how they programmed him
so that his cape protects his weak spot.
That's a brilliant idea in a platform game.
I do have one point of criticism, however; the plot, itself, while very creative and interesting, isn’t really clear unless you play the intro (which you should, of course). However, the Meta Knight subplot intrudes in a lot of levels, sometimes at random, which may lead to confusion over the character and his purpose. Sure, by now we know that Meta Knight is either, a) a secret mentor passing off as a villain, giving Kirby some fighting tools and skills to fight the evil, or b) a heroic knight who gets in Kirby’s way to prevent him from awakening today’s major evil character. Either way, he’s an opponent to fight, and his motivations in the game aren’t really clear. What’s more, the scenes before the final battle against Nightmare won’t really make much sense either unless you know about King Dedede’s role as a secret good guy who had excellent reasons to break up the Star Rod into pieces, just that this was a piss-poor plan that did more harm than good, and nobody knew why he did that. But aside from my few plot-related issues, this is an excellent game, I heartily recommend it. Go, play it, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

I’m starting to notice that I’m running out of joke ideas for the Kirby series. As Brawl In The Family showed, there’s only so much comedy you can make from “Kirby eats something”. Three games reviewed, still three left. I’m gonna get through this! I can do it!

Next week, a DS game!