Category: Wii


Kirby64BoxArt

Kirby 64 seems like a step backwards at times, despite being a fun game with some new ideas.  As a first-party title it receives special attention to detail and quality, and you can tell the team really wanted to make a new and fun Kirby game.  While the standard series director wasn’t directly involved in the creation of this entry, it retains much of the charm that’s inherent to the character and creates a fun and colorful world to explore.  While it’s not exactly a stellar platform game on it’s own merits, it tries enough new ideas to keep the levels fresh and the game engaging.

It’s Review Time!

Ed has informed me that he is, and I quote, “DONE with Kirby.  It’s fun, and they’re good games, but can we please play an RPG?”  This is a guy who’s not accustomed to platformers, so I guess six games in a row is kinda stretching it.

Kirby64Ripple

That is not a healthy Star…

Anyway, we headed into Ripple Star and cleaned up there.  I mean that, surprisingly.  Knowing that we were going to have to go back and redo levels to collect Crystals, we put a concentrated effort into getting all the Shards in the world and managed to succeed, with only one exception.  Ripple Star as a whole was actually pretty easy, much more reminiscent of Pop Star than Neo or Shiver Stars, which have been the peak of difficulty in this game.  Also, instead of going through beating the last boss twice, we opted to skip the ‘fake’ ending and start over again to accumulate missed Shards.

Most of the leftover Shards were pretty easy, with a few teeth-grinders mixed in there.  Pretty much the same stuff that’s always annoying, carrying a poor ability combo with you until the end of a level.  Grr.  We found a use for the Animal Buddy combo we found last time though: at one point, we had to go straight up a long vertical shaft, but it was too far to fly (since they finally put a cap on Kirby’s flight ability in this one).  To get into the shaft, we had to blast open a door with the Animal Buddy combo, and that gave me the idea to use Rick the Hamster’s climbing ability from Kirby’s Dream Land 3.  That turned out to be the trick and netted us what might have been an infuriating search.

Kirby64LastBoss

Can’t go wrong with a flying shooting segment

So we finally cleaned up all of the previous worlds, headed back to Ripple Star, and took out the boss.  He was long, but not that difficult once we got his pattern down pat, and as soon as we beat him we were ported to the next area to finish up the last boss.  Again, it took us a few tries, but Ed eventually figured out the pattern, and took him down. Cue credits, and we’re done Kirby 64!  Six Kirby games in a row, all 100% clear.  Yee-haw!  Review incoming, and picking up an RPG next.

 

18-12-12-2

 

Kirby64NeoBoss

Why do all these bosses have second forms?

Still on Neo Star, we took another run at the fourth course and beat it with no effort.  Amazing what a short break will do sometimes, right?  The boss took us a couple tries, but once we got his pattern down, it was a simple matter.  We’re still not doing that well on Shard count, but we’ve decided to keep going instead of backtracking now.  We’re almost at the end, anyways.

Shiver Star was up next, with suitably ice-themed levels.  We found a couple more fun power combinations, like Double-Bomb (enemy-seeking missiles) or Double-Ice (giant snowball), and missed a couple of really obvious crystals, completely by accident.  I guess we’re pretty much resigned to doing most of these levels over again, but it’ll be easier just ‘cleaning up’ spare Crystals, instead of trying to do all three in one go.  We did, however, manage to score all three in one run-through of two of the levels, so that felt kinda nice.  I think a lot of the Crystals that we’re missing have more to do with having the right power to break blocks, which we never seem to have.

Kirby64ShiverStar

Frosty needs to chill…

We found another cool combination in the last couple levels as well.  Rock and Cutter turn you into stone forms of the Animal Helpers from previous Dream Land games.  Yay, Kitty!  The tail end of this world (Course 4, and the Boss) really took us for a loop, though.  Many lives were lost to the squishy-ceiling part of Stage 4, and we were both so tired that we almost fell asleep 3 times while facing the Boss, but it’s all done now!  World cleared, and we’re on to Ripple Star… later.

18-12-12

Alright, day two of Crystal Shards!  We’ve left this one alone for a little bit, so we’re gonna try and power through the game proper.

Kirby64World2

Hey look, rocks!

We left off just after 2-2, so we headed to Rock Star and pumped up Course 3.  It took a little bit to get back in the swing of things (especially after all this twitchy Halo 4 action), so we managed to die a couple of time right off the bat before we got back into platformer mode. Remember, life doesn’t regenerate here.  We missed a Crystal (even though it was in plain sight!) and took down the boss without too much trouble.

Aqua Star was next, and we found out that Cutter and Spark gives you a LIGHTSABER!  Needless to say, we kept that power for as long as we could.  We’re having more trouble getting each of the Crystals, and are coming to the realization that we’re basically going to need to play this whole game over again.  Balls.  Mayhap’s we should break the streak, and work on collecting the collectables?  Nah.  It feels good to be putting down some levels and moving the game along.  Besides, it’s like training, so this early stuff should be a breeze when we come back to it.  We took out the boss of this World, and headed straight into Neo Star.

This one has an odd woody theme going on and it’s filled with booby traps.  We’re actually strapped for lives for the first time since we started but it’s no big deal.  The first couple of levels roll by pretty quickly, and then on the third one we were caught.  Neither of us could make it through a scrolling section, and we got our first game over of the game.  Wah-wahhhhh.

10-12-12

 

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As the very last first-party Nintendo game released on the SNES, Kirby’s Dream Land 3 has a lot to live up to.  Besides being the third (numbered) entry in a venerable series, the Nintendo 64 was already showing itself as a graphical force to be reckoned with and was facing ever-growing competition from both Sony’s Playstation and Sega’s Saturn (but not really, y’know?).  The SNES was on it’s way out, but the developers at HAL decided to give it one last hurrah.  While it’s not a genre-bending as Kirby Super Star, Dream Land 3 does a number of things right and cements itself as a solid entry in the series.

It’s Review Time!

Kirby in 3D!

Kirby in 3D!

Okay, jumping right into the next one.  It seems as though this Kirby game doesn’t have 2-player co-op, so we’re back to swapping P1  for what we call “levels and lives”.  That is, if you beat a level or lose a life, you hand off the controller (with exceptions made for debilitating circumstances).  We find it keeps the pass-off constant so no one has time to get bored, and it’s a great way to immediately come in with a new solution to tackle a problem (ie, “well, what I would have done was…”).  Anyway, now we’re back to that.

We jumped into the game and were immediately overwhelmed by it’s overwhelming cuteness!  It looks like a planet/kingdom of little fairy-things, having a good time.  This is obviously not going to end well for them.  Oh no, here comes Dark Matter!  So Dark Matter (or whatever they’re calling him) drops in and starts to… absorb?… this kingdom/planet.  Fairies panic, and we cut to a big Crystal inside an important-looking enclosure inside an important-looking building, so it’s obviously a big deal.  One brave little fairy hops onto the Crystal and rides it out of the building, and off the planet.  But Dark Matter obviously wants this Crystal, and certainly isn’t gong to give up that easily.  He sends a few eyeball things after the Fairy, and despite some tricky flying, they manage to overtake and smash into her, sending her flying down to the nearby PopStar.

Kirby’s just hanging out and being Kirby, when this Fairy comes screaming down from orbit and smashes him on the head!  Normally, coming in from re-entry, I’d expect a much larger range of destruction from something like that, but I’m gonna let it slide.  They find a little sliver of Crystal, and the Fairy theorizes that the crystal must’ve smashed into a conveniently collectable number, say, 3 shards per level and one for each boss.  Uh, plus this one.  What a weird coincidence.  Kirby’s a pretty stand-up guy, and it seems like just the kind of adventure he’s down with, so he’ll kick in and help out.  Besides, it’ll be awfully cute.

Kirby64World1We’re thrown into the first level, and we get to try out the new Copy Ability mechanic for this game: Combo Abilities.  Now you can combine two Powers to a unique effect, like Fire and Frost, or Spark and Rock, through various methods.  If nothing else, it’s a fun way to evolve the Copy system, even if some abilities are useless or overpowered.  You can also double-up on Abilities using the same system, and deal major damage with two Cutters or Bombs.  Also, 3 Crystal Shards (get it!?) are hidden in each level, so there is some amount of searching to be done.  Also, they finally took away the ability to fly forever!  Major handicap, bro!  But we’ll be taking the same route on this one that we did on Dream Land 3, plugging through the levels and coming back to tie up loose ends on the second run.  The world boss is, you guessed it, Wispy Woods, albeit with a new three-dimensional twist this time.  So well done for not re-using the exact same boss battle for the 6th game in a row.

We get through the first World only missing one Shard, so we’ll come back to it later.  World 2 also goes by in a blur, clearing the first two levels in short order and finding all the Shards within.  We’re in good shape, and we’ll continue this on another day.

01-12-12-2

Time to finish this one up!

We started with our two missed objectives in World 3, and decided that we were just going to keep hitting a level until we got it, no skipping and coming back allowed.  Three of the Heart Stars we were missing were of the mini-game variety, so we took a few runs through the mini-game option that showed up in the File Select screen at some point.  With a much better understanding of our objectives in said mini-games, we headed in.

Now that we knew the objective of each level, and didn’t have to look around for it, we pretty much poured on the speed and blasted through the levels themselves.  Ed managed to get us through two separate mini-game levels with his memory (’cause mine is crap), and we never took more then two attempts on any level.  Then we found out that we had to beat the bosses in those worlds again.  Grr….

Kirby3DarkMatterOkay, we beat bosses 3-5 again.  Are we there yet?  As we cleanse Dedede with the Heart Starts, DarkMatter shows up and answers our questions.  One more boss fight left, and in classic Kirby style, it’s a side-scrolling shoot-’em-up.  I’m not really that good at SHMUPs, but I understand that when you have infinite time you can just pour on the attack button and avoid the bad guy’s fire.  You don’t take any damage, and he’s gotta stumble into your stream occasionally.  Also, having Ed with me made the whole thing way easier.  Towards the end of this game we’ve start utilizing the fact that bosses will always aim for Kirby, so Gooey can rush in and do all the damage while Kirby’s staying out of the way.  Same story here, not a lick of difference.  I barely attacked the final form, just kept dragging him into Ed’s line of fire.

Anyways, we beat the last boss, cleared up the darkness, and saved Dream Land!  Woo-hoo!  Still not 100%, ’cause of Boss Rush, but whatever.  I’m calling this one complete!

01-12-12-2

Holy sharp-uptick-on-the-difficulty-curve-as-it-pertains-to-obtaining-optional-objectives, Batman!

Hey, wake up! We have Heart Stars to collect!

So, still clinging to the idea that we’re going to blow through the game proper, then clean up loose ends afterwards, we journeyed on to World 4, and promptly realized that getting the Heart Stars was suddenly going to be a real chore.  Objectives kept getting more obscure, puzzles harder, and the length of time we had to hold on to a specific Animal Helper or Copy ability just kept on increasing.  While we cleared out Heart Stars in Worlds 1 and 2 without issue, and just missed a couple in World 3, World 4 brought us crashing down.  We managed to collect 3 out of the 6 levels, which isn’t great, but the real joy was knowing we were going to go back and keep on trying until we got it. Ya hear that?  Joy.

World 4 takes us to Cloudy Park, which means the recurring cloud motif from previous games.  This time there were a bunch of ‘windy’ levels, pushing in in various directions, and several more self-moving levels, so overall this world felt a little rushed.  Then again, I guess that’s part of the point.  Lost a few lives, had a bunch of laughs, and did pretty well overall.  The boss, in particular, was a real gauntlet.  They’ve brought back the Painter (again), and he spun out 4 or 5 mini-bosses from previous games to beat, including a Kracko (the eye-ball cloud from previous games), but it was actually pretty fun to have to adjust new strategies a bunch of times during the fight.  We took him down with one tiny little sliver of life left, big sigh of relief.  And the Painter himself attacks you after you take down all the bosses!  If he had hit me for one point of damage, there would have been RAGE!  But no, we puffed a cloud at him and sent him flying.  I guess it brings new meaning to “knock him over with a breath”.

Onto World 5, Iceberg.  Unsurprisingly, this world was mostly ice-based and had some great platforming sequences.  Despite the relative ‘cheapness’ of throwing ice onto the ground to make a jumping section tougher, I’ve like it when games mess with your mobility a little as it forces you to rapidly adapt.  I’m better at it then Ed is, so I was mostly in charge of those sequences (although we’re still swapping off for levels and lives). Again, we missed half or more of the Heart Stars on the initial journey through the world, including a fairly cool objective where you have to beat Metroids by freezing them first, and then sending them into lava (just like in the Metroid series!).  We were unprepared for the third assault and the Metroids killed us.  Of course, when we respawned we had lost Ice power, so we’ll have to give that one another shot later.  We eventually made it to Dedede and took him out in a regular fashion, built on fighting him in each of the four previous games.  Dude needs to mix it up a little.

This again? C’mon…

Anyways, we beat the ‘last boss’, but didn’t get all the Heart Stars, so we were treated to the sub-ending.  Credits scrolled, but it was more of a cast list for the characters and sprites in the game as opposed to the development team, and were left with a big question mark at the end to let us know there was still more to do.

We’ll tackle the Heart Stars on a later date, but this one can be switched to ‘Beaten’, if not Completed.  But we’re coming for you, Dark Matter!  Just you wait!

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IT’S 8 GAMES IN ONE!!

Kirby Super Star was released on the Super Nintendo in 1996, right towards the end of the console’s lifespan.  1996 was also the year the N64 stormed onto the market, and despite having the misfortune of being released in the same month as the iconic console, Kirby Super Star went on to sell a million copies in Japan alone and became heralded as one of the best games in the franchise.  Not bad for a latecomer to the party, right?  After it’s original release on the SNES, it saw an excellent enhanced remake (Kirby Super Star Ultra) on DS in 2008 , a Virtual Console re-release in 2009, and a re-re-release of the Virtual Console port as part of Kirby’s Dream Collection (which is how we’ve played it).  And regardless of the endless re-hashing, it remains one of the premier games on the SNES and one of the best Kirby adventures out there.

It’s Review Time!

SO MUCH CUTE!

SO MUCH CUTE!

Dream Land 3!  I’ve played the first couple worlds of this one a few times before, but never got around to beating it, so this should be fun! Again, we need to 100% this one in order to get the real last boss and real ending, so we’ll be completing the optional objectives in each level to get the Heart Stars.  Another big change in this one from previous Kirby games is the addition of 3 new Animal Helpers: Pitch the Bird, Nago the Kitty(!!!), and ChuChu the pink blobby thing, add to the Dream Land 2 roster of Rick the Hamster, Kine the Fish, and Coo the Owl.  Whereas in Kirby Super Star there were a multitude of moves and ways to use each of the powers, in Dream Land 3 we’re back to one use for each power, with Animal Helpers filling in the blanks for different types of attacks of abilities.

Of course. Metroid. What could be simpler?

We begin with World 1, a fairly average assortment of levels.  I’m seriously impressed by the look of this game, though.  The art direction is so great, and all the smooth animations and storybook colors creating this gorgeous look.  It’s not hard to see where Epic Yarn got some of it’s inspiration from.  Anyway, each of the levels has some sort of secret objective which can be just about anything, from using a special ability on a certain NPC, or making sure you don’t touch flowers in the level, or winning a mini-game.  It just gives you a vague hint in the level select screen in the form of a picture, and damned if some of them aren’t obtuse.  Ah well.  Again, we’ve decided to plow through and come back to clean up leftovers once we’re at the end of the game, so let’s get started!

World 1 is pretty basic.  Levels are straightforward, intros to all basic powers, and lets us play around with a number of Helpers to make sure we get a feel for the game.  We even managed to get all the Heart Stars on the first try through this one (mostly because I’ve played the first world a few times, and know this stuff).  Flew through the first 6 levels, all Heart Stars acquired, and went after the first boss… Wispy Woods!  ‘Cause it wouldn’t be a Kirby game if the first boss wasn’t a tree.  The tree has a couple new tricks this time, and although it caught us a bit off-guard to see it deviate from the standard Wispy Woods attack pattern, it certainly didn’t give us any trouble.

World 2 was a similar story.  This one we had to be a bit creative on a few of the Heart Stars, trying to deduce exactly what we were supposed to be accomplishing, but we got it figured.  Same story here, got all of them on the first playthrough, headed to the boss.  During this world, we also learned that when you can’t take your Animal Helper with you, just have Player 2 take it.  Once Kirby moves the screen far enough, P2  and the Animal they’re will will warp to him, allowing us to tow Helpers into places they’re not supposed to be (easily).  At least we haven’t run into any of those damned Animal seekers from Dream Land 2, who are indestructible and only attack you if you’re with a Helper.  Now that made you get rid of your Animals.  Anyway, World 2 taken care of, and off to World 3!

KI-TEHHH!!!

World 3 is where stuff started to get tough.  This time we weren’t able to get all of the Heart Stars, missing two out of the six levels.  Although we managed to pick up one of the longer ones, the two that we missed were due to losing Animal Buddies or powers before hitting the right part of the level.  Oh well, we’ll go back and do-over once this is all done.  In any case, we still had a good time, although the difficulty is starting to head up.  Giving the second player full control is a nice touch too.  Unlike Super Star, where your Buddy’s ability is controlled exclusively by Kirby (excluding Milky Way Wishes), Dream Land 3 lets you drop and pick up any power you want as Gooey, the buddy.  His main disadvantage is that he lacks Kirby’s somewhat multi-directional inhale, and instead just gets a Yoshi-like tongue attack that goes straight out.  It can make timing a much bigger deal when there’s a lot going on, too.  Anyways, took out the Boss for World 3, and we’ll pick this up on World 4 another day!