In 1993, the SNES/Genesis war was in full swing, and the NES, while still alive (The NES ceased production in 1995 in the US; the Famicom managed to hang around until 2003 in Japan), was something of an afterthought. This was too bad, as some great games came out from developers pushing the NES to its limit, and, frankly, beyond. Such is the case with this game in the Games I Beat In 2014 series, Kirby’s Adventure.
Kirby’s Adventure is the 1993 sequel to Kirby’s Dream Land. In it, Kirby realizes that all of the dreams in Dream Land have been stolen. Investigating, he finds out that King DeDeDe has stolen the Star Rod out of the Fountain of Dreams and broken it up into pieces. It’s Kirby’s job to take the pieces of the Star Rod back and restore it to the Fountain.
Kirby goes about this in the same basic manner as Kirby’s Dream Land. Kirby walks, he jumps, he flies, and he eats. But there are some new wrinkles this time out. First off, Kirby can dash by double-tapping in a direction. If Kirby’s Dream Land ever felt “slow” to you, this is a welcome relief. It’s a small change, though. The much bigger change is that, for the first time, swallowing enemies will give Kirby various abilities. There are 24 abilities in all, ranging from a basic Beam weapon to the powerful UFO. To drop an ability, press Select, and Kirby will go back to Normal Kirby, ready to suck up and swallow another enemy (He can also still spit them out instead). Additionally, swallowing multiple enemies at once will effectively cause Power Roulette, and inhaling and then spitting out multiple enemies will cause a more powerful star to travel across the screen.
Where Kirby’s Dream Land was a short, simple affair, Kirby’s Adventure is much longer. The game is composed of 7 worlds that you can freely go back and forth between, and each world has multiple stages that can be replayed. This is because this was also the first Kirby game to feature percentage tracking and “secrets” within the stages. If you beat a stage and see its door is still flashing, that means there’s a secret “bell” that you missed. Finding the bell will unlock something in that world, be it a museum containing a free power up, a mini-game, or an arena where you can fight for a Maxim Tomato and powerup. In short, the game is a lot more expansive and closer to a full game than Kirby’s Dream Land. There are even some parts that are surprisingly challenging, although the frequent opportunities for 1-ups via minigames, plus the auto-save that takes place after every level, mean it’s nothing most gamers won’t overcome.
It’s not a perfect experience, though. I mentioned earlier that 1993 was when the NES was being pushed to, and beyond, its limits. Kirby’s Adventure is an example of this–“Kirby’s Lag Generator” would be an apt name for this game as well. It’s not an occasional thing, either. The game slows down on pretty much every level, particularly when certain powerups, like Spark, are used.
Still, the slowdown doesn’t detract from the fun as much as you might think. Kirby’s Adventure is still a lot of fun, and worth playing either in its original form, as part of Kirby’s Dream Collection, or on Wii Virtual Console. I would go so far as to say that, while this is the second game in the series, it’s the first “true” Kirby game that shows the character as we know him today.