Review by Jam

Reviewed: 07/01/00 | Updated: 07/01/00

Perfect Dark, Metal Gear Solid, Soul Calibur. Screw 'em all and give me Kirby 64.

It's been nigh onto 4 years that we've last seen a Kirby game arise. Sure, he was in Super Smash Bros., but that doesn't really count. The last Kirby game I played(and still do) was Kirby's Dream Land 3. I wondered if Kirby would even get an N64 game. But, thanks to the marvelous HAL, he did get one and lo and behold, it's one of the best games on the system!

Gameplay - The gameplay has remained virtually unchanged from the other core Kirby games. He still retains all his old abilities, from flying(which you can now do only for a limited time, what gives?) to his trademark inhaling and copying of abilities. But another feature has been added to the already sweet mix, in the form of Kirby's ability to combine enemy powers and utilize them. Take for instance, your basic Sir Kibble. You inhale him and copy his Cutter attack. Now, normally, all this does is make Kirby use part of his body as a razor sharp cutting blade, but if you take the power and toss it into a Sparky, the two powers will combine and you'll get a sweet double lightsaber(someone at HAL likes Star Wars Ep. 1). You can combine any of the 7 abilities to make new and better ones. Some of the possibilites include a huge Golem Kirby, 4th Of July-like fireworks, and even a sword of fire! This time around, you're trying to help Ribbon the fairy by recovering pieces of her planet's shattered crystal which the Dark Matter tried to take(for whatever purpose, we don't know). All the characters in this game carry their own kind of personality and charm. Take the curious Waddle Dee who immediately joins Kirby after a good butt-whomping. Or the smug(and awesome) King Dedede who takes some convincing to join the group. Every one in this game, from friend to foe, has a certain feel about them that just clicks. You'll love all of the characters(that is, if you're not a testosterone-fueled hater of Pokémon). Is this game easy? In a word, yes. You get unlimited continues and the bosses are easily trampeled. Also, there's no analog support. But Kirby moves pretty slowly, so it doesn't really matter how fast he moves. Besides, I would rather control him with the Pad anyways. He's just better that way. But where this game lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in sheer fun. You'll keep coming back to this game, just because of the characters, the abilities, and the environments. I've played the adventure 5 times already, from start to finish, and I'm still not satisfied. It's that good. Also, HAL has seen fit to include 3 mini-games, like what Nintendo did with Pokémon Stadium. While most may see this as filler material, they are actually quite fun. They involve 100-Yard Hop, which is a race to the finish line, Bumper Crop Bump, in which you try to catch falling fruit and stop others from catching it, and Checkboard Chase, in which you try to knock the ground out from under your enemy and send them plummeting into the abyss below. It's just another reason to buy this game.

Graphics - Kirby's graphics are very simplistic, and they are perfectly suited to this game. All the characters look as good as they did in past games, and in some cases, better. Kirby looks 3D, but plays on a 2D field, just like Yoshi's Story. Kudos to HAL for keeping Kirby 2D, because I don't think the world is ready for a 3D Kirby. The game's story(what little it has, anyways) unfolds through a series of slick, smooth cutscenes that really show the charm of the game. Abilities also look superb, from the Phoenix Attack(Fire + Fire) to Swiss Army Kirby(Needle + Needle). Bosses too look supreme, from the classic Whispy Woods to the unbelievable Miracle Matter. These certainly aren't the best graphics on the N64, but for what they try to achieve, they succeed splendidly(oh, and did I mention that there is NO slowdown whatsoever?).

Sound/Music - Kirby's music returns from older games, and it sounds just as good. The classic ''Frantic'' theme from Kirby's level on Super Smash Bros. is here, as well as many other themes. A lot of them are new, and they sound great. Kirby's sound effects are simple. They've kept Kirby's voice samples from SSB, including the infamous ''Hiiiii!'' It's your basic smashes, bashes, and crashes, but it works fine.

Rent Or Buy - For those of you hardcore Kirby fans, you cannot live without this game. It's the 2nd best Kirby game(tied with Dream Land 3, we all know Super Star is the best) and everything in it screams quality. Sure, it might be supremely easy, but it's so extremely fun that you'll keep coming back for more and more and more. My only gripe, and this is my ONLY gripe, is that there's no 2-player option. What gives? For the past 2 Kirby games we've been able to have a 2nd player in one form or another(Helper or Gooey) but this time, we're out in the cold. Oh well. It could be worse. If you've never liked Kirby games, don't like easy games, or are too much of a man to be caught dead playing this game(morons), then stay far, far away. All others, it may be a long, long time before we see a new Kirby game, so feast upon this superb package of graphics, control, fun, and, of course, Kirby. (Oh, and if you're reading this HAL, I think Kirby's Air Ride is a good idea. Now get working!)

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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