Same Sky
All Worlds Share the Same Sky…

VC Review: Kirby’s Adventure

(Missed this review–it has a different format than the Punch Out!! review because the Punch Out!! review is using the newer format, and this one was still based off of the normal game format I was using at the time–the Punch Out!! review I just wrote today, but I wrote this one a while back.)

Nintendo’s Virtual Console service is enabling us to go back and visit games we know and love, and also to go back in time and experience games we never did. Kirby’s Adventure is one of those games that, for many, will be a game you never got to play. Why? Probably because it didn’t release until 1993—well into the SNES era. Kirby’s Adventure was one of the last licensed NES game, as a matter of fact. And this gamer missed the boat back then, yet found satisfaction in visiting the edge of NES gaming.

Kirby’s Adventure will seem familiar to anyone who has played Nightmare in Dreamland on the GBA, since that was a remake of this NES title. If you’ve played Kirby Superstar or even Kirby’s Dreamland 3, you know what to expect in this title. Of course, that’s because both of those titles built off of what this game started. The platforming roots and the sucking up objects are taken from the original Kirby’s Dreamland on the Gameboy; however, what is added in Kirby’s Adventure is that trademark revolution of copying enemy’s abilities. Despite that this is the first title where Kirby was able to do this, he can use a wealth of abilities—24 or so, in fact. Most are offensive skills, but a couple serve other uses.

For example, you can use your flame breath to ignite fuses so you can launch yourself out a cannon. Or you can use your light power to brighten dark rooms and find secret doors. Hammer can break boxes, stone can press down wooden stakes…There’s a number of light puzzle elements thrown into the platforming action. It’s this element that sets it apart from most NES platforming games—and it’s these light puzzles and the use of observation that will lead you to find all of the secret rooms in the game to get a 100% clear rate.

There are plenty of bosses and mini-bosses, most of them easy with or without offensive powers, but if you don’t have any special power, the later bosses can get a little tricky. This game isn’t hard, but it’s pretty fun, regardless, and it’s a joy to see Kirby’s first big step into the gaming world—a title that solidified his identity as that pink puffball that copies abilities.

Oh, and yes—he’s pink. This was the peak of the NES, and HAL Labs was able to squeeze everything they could from this machine, creating what is one of the best-looking NES games out there. The colors are cheery—they don’t try to mimic SNES colors, but they use NES colors well. The sound also reflects the fact that this is a high-end NES game. You’ll recognize a lot of tunes if you’re a Kirby fan, since they were remixed in older games.

The game’s main flaw is that it isn’t as long or as large as one would hope—but when you take into account that this is an NES title, and only $5 on the VC, it’s a lot easier to forgive. This was Kirby’s identifying title, just as Super Mario Bros. set Mario’s place in the gaming universe, so did this title show us what Kirby was all about. For $5, you can own a classic that no Kirby fan (or NES enthusiast) should pass up.

Graphics:

This was the peak of NES graphics, right up there with Mario Bros. 3. The NES is used to the max, and it shows: bright colors, surprisingly detailed backgrounds, good spritework, some excellent animation, and a fairly wide variety of locales all add up to an NES powerhouse.

Gameplay:

It’s Kirby—you know the drill. Thing is, this title was the one that started that drill. Sucking up enemies and using their powers was a huge leap beyond what Kirby’s Dreamland started, and it adds to the gameplay. You can adapt to different situations, and even use powers to solve light puzzles to find secret rooms. There’s even a small set of mini games, including a couple which are surprisingly good. It’s pretty solid gameplay, but can feel a little bit repetitive toward the end, and the only other thing holding it back is once in a while you will press up to fly when you didn’t mean to. Other than this small complaints, it’s good gameplay, especially for an NES title.

Sound:

The sound is pretty good so far as NES games are concerned. It’s not as spot-on as Mario Bros. 3 or Megaman 2/3, but it’s still pretty good. Cheerful, catchy tunes and lots of good sound effects mesh together to form a quality sound set for this top-tier NES title.

Replay Value/Challenge:

The game isn’t terribly big—you will probably get through it in about 3-4 hours. It will take a while longer to find all of the secret rooms, and there’s some light mini games that can add some slight value, too. After you beat the game, you can even go through it again with a smaller life bar for some extra challenge, if you so desire. Overall, however, you probably won’t spend too much time with this game, but enough to get your money’s worth out of it. It is, after all, an NES game, and only $5, and it delivers enough retro goodness to be worth that price.

Presentation:

The graphics and sound strike the NES hardware with thunder and get it grooving at its best. There’s lots of powers and enemies, lots of environments, great sound and graphics, and even some mini games to boot. Add in a tribute to the first Kirby title and some tight control and you have a pretty good title on your hands.

Awards:

Outstanding Visuals

Final Word:

Buy It!

 

Kirby’s Adventure was one of the highest-quality NES games to hit the system, and it’s clear when you put it side-by-side with most titles on the system. It created Kirby’s defining personality of a pink fluff who copied powers. It’s a pretty good game that can be enjoyed today for a few hours even if you never played it back in ’93 (like myself). For $5, it’s a worthy download, certainly one of the best available for the NES right now.

This is where Kirby’s dreams really started.

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