Friday, 7 November 2008

Kirby's Adventure

Poking around various forums I heard mention of a great series of video games starring a big, pink powdery puffball called Kirby. It seems there was only one Kirby game ever released on the NES and Kirby’s Adventure was the follow up to Kirby’s Dreamland on the Gameboy. A quick glance on eBay and it seems to be one of the much rarer games available reaching silly Zelda prices. I didn’t let this put me off and £8 later I had a copy winging its way towards me through the post.

When it arrived however the damn thing didn’t work and even after cleaning it numerous times I still couldn’t escape the dreaded white screen. In the end I dabbed a few more drops of ethanol onto the cartridge connector and left it over night and this seemed to do the trick! I was greeted by a rather cutesy animation where a circle is drawn, eyes, and shoes and then colour is added. My first impression wasn’t great I have to say as I was left thinking that this was something purely for 5 year olds but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Starting the game I was offered a simple door to walkthrough that leads into the first level and over a couple of minutes you are easily led down a path akin to a tutorial that shows in a very effective way how Kirby’s abilities work. Basically Kirby can eat any enemy and then use their powers of attack. These can range from sword swings, bombs, karaoke (yes everyone on screen dances in time with your singing), lasers, lightning etc the list goes on.

Once hit you do lose the ability so at best they are only temporary as well there is the standard ability to suck in a load of air then flying around the screen. This ability is one of the games worst problems though as it can be used at anytime giving you the opportunity to simply fly over the entire level without encountering a single enemy. But that’s not all in Kirby’s choice of moves he can also spit enemies back out like a canon and in some parts you can’t proceed unless you steal a certain ability such as a hammer to knock a post down into the ground.

Thankfully the platform sections are so engrossing that you would miss out if you decide to take the easy route though it sort of defeats the object a bit when you are really stuck as you can simply float over the troublesome section. On returning to the main map screen there is chance to play a few mini games to earn extra lives, these involve moving a pair of metal arms to pick up various Kirby dolls, each worth a different number of lives but they aren’t as easy to grasp as you might think.

Graphically this is very impressive for a game released in 1993 and I can only out this down to the fact that the NES console was at the end of its life, programmers the world over would have really known how to squeeze every ounce of power out of the machine and I can only hope that other games released around this time would look half as good. The world of the game is very bright, colourful and detailed with a few occasions I could have been convinced I was playing a SNES game.

By the time of writing I had only managed to get as far as world 5 (there are several sections to each) but what’s on offer is simply surprising for a NES game. Numerous worlds (7 in total) and stages with some tough boss fights, yes I found them difficult in some places as you really need to be quick with their patterns not being predictable. I was constantly reminded of the depth of the SNES game Super Mario World due to their being so much to do and I wish there had been a sequel on the NES. I set out to find games that I would really enjoying playing for this blog and so far this has really been the best of the bunch.


deKay said...

You know, when you get hit and lose your ability, you can suck in the star you drop to get it back.

Lorfarius said...

Yep, forgot to mention that! Though it tries to escape pretty quickly (as a bouncing star) and it can be more of a pain to get it back sometimes than it would be to just grab another ability. Decisions, decision.