Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top 52: Kirby's Adventure (#51)

It’s Tuesday, and that means you all get to see another installment of my Top 52 favorite games. This week is #51: Kirby’s Adventure for the NES.

Title: Kirby’s Adventure
Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: 05/01/93 (US)
Genre: Platformer
My Ranking: #51

I can’t remember how many times I played this game on my brother’s NES. Eight worlds of pure platforming madness with some of the coolest abilities imaginable at the time are really what made this game. Spark, Sword, Cutter, Laser, Beam, Parasol, Fireball, Mike, Crash and UFO are just some of the 26 abilities you can get as Kirby. The strategy and dynamics of the games completely change depending on what ability you have at the time, making your game a piece of cake or a nightmare (in dream land!). Oh, puns.

Kirby is a traditional platformer. Within each themed world, Kirby must clear every main stage (there are plenty of side-quests) in order to reach the boss at the end of the world. In order to gain abilities, Kirby has to eat different enemies and, depending on which enemy Kirby eats, he gets a different power (e.g. a fire-based enemy is likely to give Kirby the Fire ability). Kirby could then use the different abilities to destroy other enemies blocking his path to the end of the stage, or if he sees another ability he wants, the player can press Select to discard the ability and eat another enemy type. In this manner, the user has great control on choosing his or her style of play, making the game much more dynamic.

The graphics for this game were also outstanding for its time. The backgrounds were lush with color while strange and new character and enemy designs pleased the player’s eyes. King Dedede was conceived especially well. Kirby’s Adventure really pushed the NES hardware to its limits in terms of graphics and in the sheer amount of levels available to the user.

Kirby’s Adventure was not meant to beaten in a single go and it had save files, so there was no need to write down annoying passwords. Each world, with the exception of World 8, had five to six levels for the user to complete, most of which had a ton of secret doors that required Kirby to have the proper ability to pass. Kirby’s Adventure encouraged gamers to find these doors because if the door revealed more of the World Map, the player would get more mini-games and a higher completion percentage next to their save file.

As for the story, most NES games didn’t need a story to be entertaining; the gameplay is what keep you playing. Long story short however, Kirby realizes that he is not having any more dreams so he goes to the Fountain of Dreams to see what happened. When he arrives, he sees that the Star Rod is missing, and that the evil King Dedede has broken it into seven pieces. At the end of each world, Kirby collects the fragments of the Star Rod in order to restore it. However, upon restoring the Star Rod, a Nightmare appears. Apparently, King Dedede was trying to help the world by breaking the tainted Star Rod, keeping the Nightmare at bay. When the Nightmare appears, King Dedede launches Kirby into the sky where Kirby faces off against the Nightmare in order to save everyone’s dreams in Dream Land. Pretty neat, I think.

Kirby’s Adventure is purely a one-player game, but the adventure is very memorable. The level designs challenge the user to use Kirby’s abilities quite accurately and even though you can fly forever in the game, the game often puts things in your way that prohibit you from just flying over everything. The game is very balanced and very simple being that there are only two main buttons. However, it is by no means easy and it is nearly impossible to go through the entire game without dying once. The game is not insanely hard either. Try hard enough, react quickly, and any stage can be beaten.

Though I love this game, I could not rank this any higher than #51. I played this game often and it holds a special place in my heart. Kirby’s adventure was an outstanding platformer that set the bar high for the rest of the Kirby franchise. However, this game was really only a personal experience for me, and I believe the best games, even one-player games, transcend personal experiences and become shared experiences with other gamers. Since my friends at the time were not crazy about this game, I enjoyed this game mostly by myself. That being said, it’s still one of my favorites.

This title is also available on the Wii Virtual Console, so if you like 2D platformers and you have not played this game, you need to pick up this NES classic.

My Top 52:
#52 --- Star Fox 64 (N64)
#51 --- Kirby’s Adventure (NES)
#50 --- Revealed on 7/22


Anonymous said...

So do you have a premade list of these games and you're slowly rolling them out, or are you making the list up as you go? I assume the former.

Richard R. said...

I spent a good long while making that list and I have it all made out. Hopefully over the next year I hope nothing needs to be added on there. Maybe Mega Man 9 might make it on my list somehow. IF that does happen, then I'll give an honorary mention to that newer game in the spot where I think it would belong.

I'm slowly rolling them out though, it creates drama and gives guaranteed content to write about if it's a slow day. In this manner, fans of my blog can expect something on certain days.

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