Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Thursday, April 28, 2016

And Presto, It's Kirby! - Kirby's Adventure

Kirby's Adventure - Nintendo Entertainment System

A Kirby game will hit me like bad romance- I wake up one day, turn one on, play it, love it, beat it, go to sleep, wake up the next day, and wonder what the hell happened the day before. And not unlike a bad romance, there are a couple of Kirby games I return to every once in a while no matter how many times I might swear them off. Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland is one of those Kirby games.

Of course (and I say 'of course' having only learned this a few years ago), Nightmare in Dreamland is a remake of an NES game entitled Kirby's Adventure. I must assert that better graphics, better animations, and better controls render the remake a higher quality game, but that doesn't mean the original wasn't amazing in it's own right. In fact, Kirby's Adventure is the only NES title I've ever completed, as it's easy for a NES game albeit widely more difficult when compared to recent entries in the Kirby franchise. Praise for Kirby's Adventure in any retro gaming community is not hard to find, but what's so striking about K.A. is how well it still holds up and how modern the game feels.

Kirby's Adventure is a side-scrolling platformer featuring 7 worlds, 35 levels, and 1 fat pink guy who can copy the abilities of his inhaled foes in order to progress. K.A. is the first title ever to feature Kirby's signature copying ability, although it is the second game in the series. What's fascinating about specifically the levels in Kirby's Adventure is that they would really be pretty boring in any other platformer. Each level contains a lot of flat ground without many traps, and enemies are often spread far apart; but these levels wind up being incredibly fun because of the numerous abilities Kirby can gain during them, with no one ability being clearly the best, and some abilities not even particularly good. Each ability feels extremely balanced, and obtaining one of the temporary powers in no way guarantees your safety. Instead, each ability, such as the ability to wield fire, sword, tornado, hammer, i.e., must be mastered and used cleverly to traverse each stage. Often, environments, platform placement, and enemy quantity will pose a bigger or smaller threat depending on which ability you choose to wield. Replayablity is high (as established previously) because of the many different ways you can defeat each boss and complete each level.

K.A.'s aesthetics are sincerely among the best on the system. Bright colors, clear sprites, and even some costume variety that comes with certain gained Kirby-powers (Ice FTW) all contribute to make Kirby's Adventure one of the most beautiful games on the NES, especially when compared to earlier titles like The Legend of Zelda, released 7 years before.

Remarkably, almost nothing about the gameplay is changed from Kirby's Adventure to Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland- a testament to the title's timelessness. Perfectly designed levels that consider each of the many abilities gained throughout the game combined with high variety in aesthetics and environments make Kirby's Adventure ideal for an afternoon of gaming. The title is short, and easy by 1985 standards, but it contains everything required to make an exceptional gaming experience + tons and tons of root beer.

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