Watch me on Twitch!

Streaming whenever I can.
(Sorry, that's the reality of working at night. Subscribe to my channel to get notifications!)

March 25, 2016

Kirby's Dream Land 2

It was a nice day in Dream Land… UNTIL THE NIGHTMARES CAME!

Oh wait, I think I got this wrong. It was a nice day in the Rainbow Islands… UNTIL THE NIGHTMARES CAME!

No, wait, not quite it yet. It was a nice day in the Rainbow Islands… UNTIL KING DEDEDE SHOWED UP!

Um… No, that still doesn’t sound right. You know what? I think I’ll be better off explaining the game. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is the third overall platform game in the Kirby series. Released on the Game Boy like Kirby’s Dream Land, this one pushes the limits of what could be achieved at the time with the portable console. Not only does it feature Kirby’s copy abilities from Kirby’s Adventure (a limited number of them, only seven), it’s also much longer (a little over 30 levels) and features a new gameplay mechanic: the Animal Friends.

Yep! Unhappy with giving us everything we wanted, the folks at HAL Laboratory give us even more! You see, when he defeats a mid-boss, Kirby frees from a bag one of four animal friends. There’s Rick the hamster, who’s great on land; Coo the owl, for all you people who have a strong urge to fly but nowhere to fly to; Kine, who sucks on land but is excellent underwater, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering it’s a sunfish; and Gooey, who appears only in a bag if you already have the animal friend who’s supposed to be in that bag. The first three are equipped to Kirby when he goes to them after freeing them; they have their own life bar, thus they provide six additional health points should you use either of them. They also put their own spin on Kirby’s seven abilities, resulting in no less than 28 different possibilities. Gooey is a special case, he refills one point of Kirby’s health when he appears in a bag. And he does it with a kiss. Oh yeah, Gooey’s a real ball of concentrated love. He doesn’t look the part, but that’s what he is.

As for the plot? The Rainbow Islands are an archipelago in Dream Land; its seven islands are connected by rainbow bridges, hence the name. One day, a cloud of darkness descends and destroys the bridges. Why? Nobody knows. Was it simply that it was not loved enough as a kid? Is it just hateful? We can’t answer that. Oh, by the way, it also takes possession of King Dedede, first in a long line of villains taking over the King. Kirby’s Warp Star can fly him across the water, however, so he sets out to travel to each island and bring the bridges back.

His trip takes him too the first island, Grass Land.

…Wrong one. This world is so easy it’s almost a tutorial. The first level barely has any enemies that give abilities; the animal friends – and the mid-bosses who captured them – start appearing in the second level. In the third level, Kirby finds an odd shining item hidden in a cave; it looks important. We better get it, but it’s blocked by rock-like blocks, which have to be destroyed. These items are called Rainbow Drops, undoubtedly related to the Rainbow Bridge… or maybe their name is coincidental and they're just a set of teacups. Who knows.

You could play a more colorful
version of the game thanks to the
Super Game Boy.
Whispsano will see you soon.
Things stay simple until the boss, who’s… well gee, who could it be? Is it, by any chance, Whispy Woods? Ding ding ding, we have a winner! Whispy receives the grand prize: A bunch of apples to the face! Moving on to the second island, Big Forest. Wow, such a creative name, they must have searched all day for it. Kirby makes his way through this forest, and fights the second boss, Nruff. Wait, how do you pronounce that? Na-ruff? Ne-ruff? En-ruff? Okay, I won’t waste my time on this, Nruff is Nruff.

However, while World 1 had the Rainbow Drop easy to find, starting on the second world you need to search around the level to find the item; you might need either a particular ability that Kirby has… or an ability of Kirby as he’s using one particular Animal Friend. Which means you need to be able to go through the level with that animal friend AND that ability, which is easier said than done, judging by the large number of enemies in the way.

World 3 takes place on the Ripple Islands, home of Kine the Fish. Thus, many underwater levels are to be expected. The boss at the end of this one is an anglerfish, Sweet Stuff, who is pretty simple to defeat… again, if you’ve got Kine. Even without it, Kirby can just blow air at the enemies thrown his way. Sweet Stuff? If he were harder, he’d make the player feel sour. Wold 4 is an iceberg, so you can guess what kind of environment it is. The boss at the end of this one is the Ice Dragon, who won the “worst name for a boss” trophy at the 1995 edition of the Video Game Awards. It’s also simple to defeat. This is where getting the Rainbow Drop gets a lot more difficult, since keeping the right Animal friend and the right copy ability might prove challenging.

Frikkin' Kracko...
World 5 is Red Canyon, a mountainous area. At the top of it, Kirby encounters Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, who have trained themselves following their defeat in Kirby’s Adventure, and use new combination attacks to defeat the puffball. The smaller screen makes it harder to beat them. Kirby then moves on to Cloudy Park, a land in the skies – because of course it is. I’ve never seen a Cloudy Park a kilometer underground. And who says “land in the skies” says… Kracko. Goddammit! And not just Kracko, either; it starts with Kracko Jr, who alternate between hiding in the clouds that form the floor of the battlefield, and a floating form. Then it’s Kracko, because obviously an already tough platforming boss has to be in two forms. This grants access to World 7, the Dark Castle. It’s a tricky place but soon, Kirby reaches the final boss…

…oh, did I mention that he has to leave his animal friend behind? Yeah, it would be too easy with it I guess. Kirby climbs up and faces King Dedede… who’s more dangerous than usual, throwing his hammer and getting angry. He also seems more tired than usual. I mean, what a terrible lack of class to fall asleep in the middle of a fight! He has a lot of hit points, as par for the course for this penguin. When he's defeated, if you’ve collected all seven Rainbow Drops, a mass of blackness comes out of King Dedede. The Drops appear on the screen, one by one, and assemble to form the Rainbow Sword! Heh, I wasn’t very far when I suggested it would be a set of teacups. The mass of blackness takes on the form of a mysterious spiky-haired swordsman and takes flight, and Kirby follows.

The ensuing battle is difficult, but Kirby can simply knock back the swordsman’s projectile weapons, which makes the fight a little easier. When that thing is destroyed, it morphs into a sphere with small round spikes all around its body, and a large eye. Eeyup, this is Dark Matter. As a final boss, he’s really hard, though this has to do with coming right off the heels of the tough fight with his previous form, and using attacks that can be difficult to avoid. Thankfully, he, too, likes to use projectiles, and those projectiles can hurt him badly as well, so a good strategy is to whack its spikes back at it. The real problem against this boss is that as the fight takes place, both characters descend to Dream Land, and hitting the planet’s atmosphere will make Kirby lose all of his hit points VERY fast. Thus, be quick to kill Dark Matter.

Eldritch abominations don't usually let themselves
get slashed that way.

When Dark Matter is defeated, Kirby re-enters the atmosphere, leaving a trail of rainbows behind him. The power of the Rainbow Sword protected him! Kirby brings peace back to the land, confident that Dark Matter is gone now… Or is he?

…the answer is no. For proof, I actually reviewed the final chapter of the “Dark Matter Trilogy” before the first two. You can read my review of it here.

Rainbow Drop Get!
Oh, by the way, that’s not all. By beating Dark Matter, you still don’t have 100% completion. See, there’s still a few things to find. For starters, Gooey has a girlfriend who appears in his place sometimes in those bags earned by defeating mid-bosses. Gooey, you sly stealer of hearts. Somehow you found a blob creature of the opposite gender to pour all your love on. …Well, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. There’s something else, too; boss rooms have been replaced by mini-games where you must avoid getting hit by the hazards while collecting the little stars thrown your way. For each and every single one of these mini-games, you must collect all the stars and get a Perfect in order to earn the lousy little percentage point you need. Only after all this is achieved will you be granted access to the special mode available in this game… Boss Endurance, of course! A single life, six hit points, all the bosses in the game. For hardcore players only. I mean, it’s far from the first Boss Battles mode we see in the Kirby series…

Well, that covers everything. How’s the game? Well, I liked it, there’s no doubt there. The difficulty for the levels was just fine, rarely too difficult. There were a few sections I didn’t like, but otherwise it’s all right. Getting the Rainbow Drops, on the other hand… This can be an extremely annoying side-quest. Sure, the idea was to mix platforming and puzzle, and Kirby’s copy abilities are perfect for such a combination, but that doesn’t take away the fact that some Drops require the player to be on their A-game. The fourth, fifth and sixth ones are pretty difficult, with the sixth one being the worst of the bunch. To get it, you need not only to survive with a certain Animal Friend and a certain ability for much of the level, but you also need to defeat three mid-bosses and switch to other Animal Friends (without losing the current copy ability). It’s very difficult, even with a guide.

The final battle, with a pink shade to it.
Thankfully, that’s the only problem I have with this game. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 contains more than we could have ever asked for. The few different copy abilities are not a problem, since there’s four variants of each power, one for Kirby alone and one for each Animal Friend. It can be genuinely surprising (and funny) to see what each Animal Friend does with a particular ability. Some enemies are designed to be troublesome even when you have a Copy Ability equipped, which adds a layer of difficulty. Bosses that have been encountered before have new tricks up their sleeves, and the later bosses can be pretty challenging even to good players. It’s easy to rack up lives in the early levels, and the Stars reappear in a world’s levels, so you can beat the game and never see a Game Over screen… not that you won’t come close to, with how hard it is to get some Rainbow Drops.

The graphics are excellent for a Game Boy game, very detailed. The music is catchy and fun; what’s more, each Animal Friend has its theme tune that overrides the current level’s song.

All in all, I recommend this game. In fact, get it along with the other two chapters of the Dark Matter Trilogy, and three additional Kirby games, in Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition. Not that I’m one to make this kind of advertisement in general…

Next Friday will be… Ooh, April 1st… well then, rest assured that the next review will not be a self-parody, a review of something that isn’t a game or a movie, a “different author” that turns out to have been me all along, or anything else you’d expect from a site like mine on a day where pranks abound. In fact, I plan for April to be a month where I’ll review a bunch of games rated M and available on Nintendo consoles. Bring Kirby games to your kids, keep them away from this site. In April, we’re dealing with stuff that the young’uns must not see.