I missed out on Kirby’s Adventure when it came out. This was not because I thought I was too cool to play a game featuring a pudgy pink ball with a big mouth and red shoes or anything like that. I was ten years old at the time and not nearly that self-conscious. I even recall longingly looking at images of the beautiful spritework in Kirby’s Adventure in an issue of Nintendo Power. But, alas, it was a late-generation NES game, and my parents got rid of that system at the same time they gave me a Super Nintendo. In retrospect, I think this was good parenting, but at the time, I was frustrated that they didn’t understand just how important I thought it was to play all those amazing-looking late NES games. Now, thanks to the wonders of Virtual Console, I was finally able to play it myself.
[[image:cg_kirbyadv.jpg:You got Big Hammer!:center:0]]
I am still not totally sold on the Kirby series after this, but there was a lot that impressed me about this game beyond just the visuals that intrigued me so much fifteen years ago. What surprised me most of all was Kirby’s move set, which is quite versatile for an 8-bit character. While I went into the game knowing about the central premise of absorbing enemy abilities, I was happy to find that even his most basic abilities were impressively varied. In addition to standard ducking and jumping, he can dash, suck, spit, fly freely, and puff out a mid-range air projectile. If anything, his move set is too expansive. The level designs seemed to be struggling to keep up with Kirby’s wide range of actions. For example, it often seemed possible to breeze through most stages just by flying leisurely above or around all the obstacles.
Now, I certainly don’t wish this game was frustratingly difficult. I enjoyed my relaxing stroll through the world of this game and the opportunities it provided me to experiment with Kirby’s many possibilities. At the same time, the final two worlds of the game increased the challenge just enough to force me to think a little about how to get through the stages rather than simply barrelling through them. It made me want more levels like those that might force me to get creative with the wide range of all that Kirby can do. I enjoyed the last few levels in the game so much that I now feel a bit retroactively disappointed about the the game overall.
On the other hand, I’m excited to get my hands on the DS remake of Kirby Super Star sometime. I hear it has a Metroidvania-style segment, which seems like exactly the right kind of game environment for a character as versatile and just plain fun to control as Kirby.