Review by Megaman1981
This game is proof that 2D games will never die.
I never really paid attention to the Nintendo character Kirby until I got Super Smash Bros. on the N64. I actually thought that Kirby was a kids character in that game. As it turned out, Kirby turned out to be one of the best fighters, along with Link. Playing that game always made me want to play a new Kirby game on the N64. Although it took Nintendo a while to release one, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is a great game and should be played by all.
The difference with this game than with other N64 games is that this game is a 2D game in a 3D environment, much like Contra for the PS2. With this game being a side scroller, I must admit that some of these levels are very easy. In fact not only are the levels easy but so are most of the bosses. Kirby himself fights by inhaling various enemies and stealing their weapon. Inhaling two different enemies will create combo weapons. Some of these combo weapons must be used to destroy certain walls in order to collect every one of the Crystal Shards. These of course are the items that you must collect in this game.
The story is pretty basic. A creature called Dark Matter has descended on Dreamland and possessed all of the characters in Kirby 64. Kirby's job is to collect the Crystal Shards and in the process free all of the innocent people of Dreamland.
The graphics are bright and colorful. The backgrounds are in a full 3D environment while the game moves like a side scroller. Each of the environments has nice detail in the background and all of the characters are well designed. The sound is actually quite catchy. Some of the songs are awesome, especially the boss theme.
Replay value is pretty high. The game itself can be beaten fairly quickly, but collecting all 70 of the Crystal Shards can take quite a while. In addition, collecting all 70 will unlock a special final boss, and you can see the true ending. While this game does indeed seem like a kid's game, there is some solid gameplay here. Only the most determined gamer will be able to unlock the final boss and see the true ending.
In conclusion, this game is perfect proof that even though gamers now play 3D games, 2D games can still be played and enjoyed. If you still like 2D games, then I advise you to try and find a copy of Kirby 64. This is the type of game that can be enjoyed by anyone. A young child can enjoy the simple first few levels, while an experienced gamer like myself can have a nice time trying to collect all of the Crystal Shards. In fact this game is one of only two games that I have beaten 100%. The other was The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask on the N64. When Kirby 64 was released, everyone kept saying that it was a kid's game. Take my advice it's not. It is however a solid game that should have a home right next to Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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