Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Separating the Game Boys from the Men: Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland

I hadn't realized this until I recently started looking into the Kirby franchise, but the little pink puffball had an interesting early history. He first appeared in Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy in 1992 and then a year later he had Kirby's Adventure for the NES. Now it's odd for a character to get on the Game Boy before the NES, but it was also pretty odd that he went to the NES in the first place. At that point the NES was nearly a dead system as the SNES has been out for two years already. After Kirby's Adventure he came back to the Game Boy for Kirby's Dream Land 2. I thought I should at least familiarize myself with Kirby's Adventure before reviewing Dream Land 2 so I checked out some reviews and Let's Plays of it and to my surprise it was awfully similar to a Game Boy Advance game I had been playing, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, because little did I know but Nightmare was just a remake of Kirby's Adventure. So since I don't have an NES right now, let's take a look at this game before Dream Land 2, just in the interest of staying in order, more or less.

So the story of this game is that King Dedede is once again threatening Dream Land and Kirby must fight his way through the various enemies and bosses until finally taking down Dedede. Unlike Kirby's first game this one allows you to copy abilities of certain enemies you swallow. Most people seem to enjoy the sword power the most, but I think my favorite is Freeze, which creates an ice shield around you that freezes any enemies that touch it. There is another similar power, Ice, which does the same thing but forward as ice breath, but I find Freeze a bit easier to use. Once an enemy is frozen it can be hit towards another enemy which I always find satisfying. The game has an overworld map screen which allows you to replay previous levels, which is good because there are a few hidden secrets like switches that allow you to access bonus games. I never got all that much personally out of the mini games, but a lot of people seem to love them. From what I understand the only difference between Nightmare in Dream Land and Adventure, besides a few different mini games and the updated graphics, is that after you beat the game on hard you can play through as Kirby villain Meta Knight, although I have yet to unlock that.

This game is an absolute blast. This is where the winning Kirby formula really takes shape. While the game can be a bit too easy at times, experimenting with different powers as well as an overall charm of the game design more than make up for it. Also a bit a of nitpick, but I wish they would have called this like Kirby's Adventure Advance or something, giving it a completely different name is a bit confusing to someone new to the franchise. But like I said, that's a bit of a minor nitpick, all and all there really isn't much to complain about with this game. Also of note, apparently Kirby doesn't have an agry look on his face for the box art in Japan, that was changed for the Western audience. I like the angry look myself, it's a cool little contrast for such a cute harmless looking character to have a look on his face like "I'll fuck your shit up."

I never really played Kirby's Adventure, except for a little bit as a kid, but from what I saw in Let's Plays you should probably just skip it and play this version instead. Unless of course you're a purist who must play the original, which I can respect, but even then I would check out this version afterwards. I give this game a solid 5 pink puffball monsters out of 5.

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