Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kirby's Adventure (NES) Review

Kirby's Adventure is easily one of my favorite games of all-time and is, without a doubt, my favorite NES game—yes, it even beats out Super Mario Bros. 3. Kirby's Adventure flirts with perfection from the moment the title screen "teaches" you how to draw the little pink puffball right up until the credits begin to roll upon completion of the game. Released only four days before Christmas, 1992, the developers at HAL Laboratories had the opportunity to unleash just about every ounce of power that the little gray box had to offer...and they did.

Those of you who've played any Kirby games that were released post-1992 will notice that the gameplay really hasn't changed very much, if at all, since the release of Kirby's Adventure. Kirby can walk/run, and jump—typical for side-scrolling platformers—however, Kirby's got a couple of tricks up his non-existent sleeves that set him apart from the crowd...

-1st: Kirby is able to fly for an infinite amount of time. This ability to soar through the air at will does make the game a bit of a walk in the park—almost completely nullifying the chances of falling down a bottomless pit—but it never takes away from the game's overall enjoyment, which is really the most important aspect of any game. If you're not having fun while you play, then what's the point?
-2nd: Kirby is able to ingest any of his opponents and copy their abilities—at least a dozen or so different ones—hanging onto them until he is struck by an attack from another foe. If this happens, there's no need to panic because Kirby can simply chase down the star that is expelled from his body once he takes damage in order to regain whatever ability has been temporarily lost. There are a handful of enemies with no abilities that will simply give you nothing if you swallow them, but they can still be fired out of your mouth in order to inflict some damage.

While there are truckloads of games that offer up a multitude of power-ups for their heroes, very few give you the capability of being able to give each of the games enemies a taste of their own medicine—which happens to be a very satisfying experience.

To put it simply, Kirby's Adventure has, arguably, the best graphics of any game in the massive NES library, as well as one of the most memorable soundtracks to ever grace the 8-bit console. There's an absolutely zero percent chance of playing through this game from start to finish without having at least 90% of the game's insanely catchy ditties ingrained in the back of your mind for the remainder of your waking life. Aside from the incredible quality of the perky tunes, what really sets the soundtrack apart is the number of tracks. It really is amazing how many songs they were able to cram onto this 6-megabit cartridge.

Adventure also sports a considerable amount of vibrant colors and adorable sprites that contribute to the game's sugary-sweet aura. The animations are extremely polished as well. Unfortunately, these beautiful graphics come with a price...severe slowdown. You haven't experienced slowdown until you've played through Kirby's Adventure. Any time that you have 3+ enemies on the screen—especially while Kirby is airborne—the screen will come to near-standstill (maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it slows down A LOT). However, for whatever reason, it only adds to the game's intensity as you slowly weave your way through the more hectic patches in the game's 7 levels (each consisting of 5-6 sub-levels).

If, for whatever reason, you haven't had the chance to play through Kirby's Adventure at some point in your life, PLEASE do it now! Quite possibly the pinnacle of gaming in the 8-bit era, you really owe it to yourself to get your hands on at least one version of this game, whether it be the NES cartridge, Virtual Console download, or even the GBA remake, Nightmare in Dreamland. While you can probably beat the game in about 5 hours or so, the replay value is nearly endless and if you're a completionist like I am, there are tons of secrets for you to go back and find once you've completed the adventure—it even tells you the percentage of the game that you have completed next to each individual save file. Quit reading this and just go play the game already!

Overall Score: 9.5/10 (This game is an absolute masterpiece and is a necessary part of any NES collection)


Here is an original T.V. spot for Kirby's really is funny how commercials have changed over the years. (Thanks to youtube user dacdillinger!)

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