Looking for a classic game that will blow you away? Marty explains how Kirby’s Adventure is the shooting star of Retro Gaming.
When it comes to classic games that border on perfection my mind instantly wanders toward the Super Nintendo era of gaming, but after dusting off my Nintendo and playing a slew of old games I have come to realize that there are some smash hits that rival the likes of Donkey Kong Country 2 and Chrono Trigger in terms of being super stars of the retro experience. One such title is Kirby’s Adventure, the second Kirby game, and a very late release in the Nintendo Entertainment System’s life. There are a few factors that come into play when determining what makes a great retro game such as music, story, gameplay and length of game, as well as the total package. Kirby’s Adventure in Dream land has it all, and it blows the competition out of the water. Keep reading and I will explain why that is is not such a hard pill to swallow.
Firstly, I would like to say that replayability factors a lot into retro gaming for me. I need to be able to put a huge dent into the game in one night, or beat the game completely, to really consider it a perfect retro game, which is why Donkey Kong Country 2 is my golden standard- it’s challenging, multiple people can play it, the gameplay is varied and exciting and the music is a masterpiece. When I played Kirby with friends, I realized that the two games had a lot in common, which lead me to the conclusion that Kirby’s Adventure is the ultimate NES experience. My friend and I were able to drink beers all night and finish Kirby, a game that she had never played before, and enjoyed immensely. What sets Kirby above a lot of other games on the NES is how much charm that pink blob has. Every animation and frame is filled with quirky, silly charm, and they are able to make Kirby so expressive and animated with the software limitations. As soon as you turn the game on, you can’t help but feel happy and hungry to devour your foes.
It helps having the animations so expressive because Kirby has a plethora of different powers that he steals from enemies who reside in Dream Land. Kirby sucks up his foes and can swallow them to steal their power. Each power adds a different combat and gameplay element, and can be used in various instances to unlock bonuses or kill stronger foes. I consider the act of stealing powers similar to Mega Man, except there isn’t a need to ration the use of Kirby’s powers and there’s a much wider breadth of abilities that Kirby can use. Kirby’s powers make the gameplay head and shoulders above the competition of the time, but the designers also incorporated a few different mini games, so there is always some fun and exciting to do if you need a break from stealing the essence of unsuspecting denizens of Dream Land.
There’s an adorable western style shooting mini game where they dress up some of the enemies as western characters and you have to draw you gun in milliseconds in order to win the duel. There’s also an adorable (let’s face it, everything in this game is adorable), crane game where you operate a crane and try to grab the skinny or fat Kirby in order to get more lives. Each level is also created so meticulously to incorporate the use of many different powers, giving you options in how you want to proceed (do you zoom around high speed as a wheel, zooming over gaps in the land, or do you fly around as a UFO shooting stars and lasers?), this helps add to the replayability factor because you can go back an find new paths by taking a different power, or just using a different power for that level can change the entire experience.
Another part of the gameplay that excels is the difficulty curve, the levels get harder as a nice pace and the bosses (except the first), pose some challenge so there is a sense of accomplishment in beating them. A first timer can beat the levels without too much issue, and then may have to experiment with different powers to learn how to beat the boss. There are some bosses that are very challenging on their own, but if you pick the right power you can melt them, and that’s rewarding.
The music in Kirby’s Adventure is fantastic, I was trying to pick out some of my favorites but I love so many of them. Each area of dreamland has its own theme, which is remixed for the levels within that area. Even though the areas have their own theme, they all sound distinctly like they belong in the same game, carrying a similar upbeat tempo that adds to the joyous and quick paced nature of the game. I would say if you want to get a taste of Kirby’s music listen to the theme of Ice Cream Island or Vegetable Valley – they’re fun, quirky and upbeat – just like this game.
The part that I find lacking in Kirby’s Adventure is the story. Granted, most games had minimal story so for the time this one is passable. You learn what you need to do in a 30 second clip when you turn on the game, and that’s pretty much all you need to know. The residents of Dream Land can no longer dream, and Kirby must find the missing pieces of the Star Rod to bring back their dreams. It’s not complex, and it doesn’t have to be. This was all that was required for the time, it’s really just an excuse to have Kirby wreak havoc in Dream Land, sure he eats thousands of creatures (some innocent, some dangerous), but he did it for the DREAMS. Not to save lives- he murders so that people could have dreams. Cute!
Out of most NES games, I would say Kirby’s Adventure is the total package. It’s a shot of nostalgia that is full of charm. It is funny, endearing and extremely enjoyable. A great game to just turn on and forget about the stresses of adult life- pretend it’s 1993 all over again except this time you can drink.