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CONSOLE: NES DEVELOPER: HAL Labs PUBLISHER: Nintendo
RELEASE DATE (NA): May 1, 1993 GENRE: Platformer
// review by SoyBomb

Meet the world's favourite vacuum character!

Kirby sucks. There, now that I have that monstrosity of a joke out of the way, I can talk about how GOOD this nifty old-school gem of a game is. That's right -- Kirby's Adventure DOESN'T SUCK! (It doesn't blow either.)

Unfortunately, this game came out at a time when the NES was creeping ever so closely towards its inevitable demise. The war between the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo continued to rage on, leaving the big gray box to eat the dust of the future. Therefore, any titles released for the NES at this point in time was pretty much a gamble. But Nintendo had faith in this giant puffy vacuum known as Kirby. Having already proven itself to have some awesome marketing power after the success of Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy a year earlier, Nintendo decided to take a chance. And thank goodness they did, because my childhood would be incomplete without this cartridged gem.

So here's the 411: Kirby lives in Dream Land, the place where dreams are borne from the Dream Spring. But Kirby wakes up and realizes, "Hey, what the flyin' calzone is goin' on here? I didn't dream a damn thing. I'm f**kin' pissed off. What the f**k is goin' down at the Dream Spring?!" Turns out the Star Rod, the source of energy for the Dream Spring, has been stolen! Oh snap! So Kirby checks out the situation and finds that evil dude King Dedede just splashing around in the spring. It turns out he broke the Star Rod into seven pieces and gave them to his dastardly pals. "Well, now I guess I have to go get the damn things myself!" Kirby exclaims. "Damn you, Dedede! I hope some mysterious triprotic acid fills your fatty esophagus to capacity while I'm gone." And off he goes in search of those Star Rod chunks.

So Kirby's come back with his standard moves -- he can walk/run, puff up and fly around, swim underwater and blow air at enemies to puncture them with a vengeance, and of course, suck enemies up like a Hoover! Yet the one thing that's different from this game, aside from the switch to full colours as opposed to the ochre journey found on the Game Boy, is the ability to inhale certain enemies and snag their special powers. So, for example, if Kirby swallows a fire-breathing enemy, he'll be able to breathe fire on his own. That's a pretty sweet deal. And of course, certain situations call for specific powers. A large stake found along Kirby's path, as an example, may require Kirby to possess the Hammer ability in order to pound it down and see nifty results. That's one part of the now practically legendary series that makes this game unique! And the inhalation/powersteal combo began right here. In fact, any Kirby game now that DOESN'T have power theft is probably a bad game.

I'll tell you one thing: for an NES game, this is one sweet cache of eye candy. The game's rather colourful, pushing the precious palette to the extreme. The use of the elusive MMC5 chip (used for, among other nifty features, a larger amount of colours in a smaller amount of space on-screen, though not more total colours on one's screen) certainly boosted the overall look for this game. Wacky patterns can be found strewn about generously as well; look at the ground Kirby walks on sometime! There is decent, fluid animation (as far as an NES can handle "smooth" animations). Furthermore, all of Kirby's power-up animations are very good, providing an extra boost of wackiness to the game (particularly the humorous actions taken when Kirby uses the microphone ability). By the way, Kirby actually has colour on this journey -- and he's pink (as opposed to just being white, not only on the Game Boy screen but also in the GB game manual... how 'bout that?). The music is also of high quality; it's consistently peppy and fits the upbeat mood of the game at all times. The PSG sound chip is really pushed in order to achieve all the sound effects one hears in this game, and there are many...

This game is a tad on the easy side, although younger kids will likely see a challenge in this, especially the final boss, who can be a bit menacing if you're not used to him. But most gamers will breeze through this relatively short adventure. (One can find all the secrets and coast through the game in about an hour and a half. But of course, you have to know WHERE all the secrets lie.) The game even autosaves after every level you complete! Thankfully, once you successfully complete the game, you can access the EXTRA MODE, which cuts your total life bar in half, and DOESN'T save at all. So if you can get through that in one sitting, then you can finally access the [insert spoiler here]! Yeah, and we know that's worth it.

So what else can I say about this game? Well, it clearly shows off the true abilities of that 8-bit machine to which it resides. It ranks high among the best-looking games that the system has ever had to offer, and it's also a very accessible game for all. I'm glad that I asked for this game for Christmas back in 1993. Thankfully, I still have a copy that I can pop in my NES at any time and play until my hands are blistered. Do I recommend this game? Hell yeah.


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