Fun that is as clear as crystal.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adorable pink puffball Kirby. While other franchises have been given less than spectacular celebrations on their milestone anniversaries from Nintendo, Kirby received a special Wii compilation of six classic Kirby games and bonus content. The most recent playable game on that collection is Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, originally released on the Nintendo 64 in 2000. Does the addition of polygons add to the entertainment?
Behold Ripple Star, a planet that fairies call their home. When it is invaded by a mass called Dark Matter, one of the fairies escapes into outer space, holding her home planet's prized ornament, a giant purple crystal. Dark Matter pursues and crashes into the crystal. The shattered pieces rain down on six planets, including Pop Star, Kirby's home. Speaking of the pink puffer, Kirby meets up with the fairy who informs him of Ripple Star's dire situation. He agrees to assist, and thus the the crystal shard quest begins.
|The start to Kirby 64's simple story.|
|This first area of the level wraps|
around this tower.
Kirby is known for his ability to inhale foes and then copy their powers. This is true for Kirby 64. While there are only seven unique copy abilities in the game-- which may seem very limiting-- the main gameplay feature this time around is the option to combine copy abilities into one new ability. For instance, combining Burn and Bomb allows the Kirbster to generate fireworks around him, destroying enemies in a glorious blaze. Kirby can spit out powers into specific creatures to create a given power combination.
|Sun, sand, and sweet danger--|
just like Kirby likes it.
|This vertical passage fills with sand|
as the screen auto-scrolls upward.
Each planet concludes with a boss battle. The fights are made easier by having a copy ability already bestowed to Kirby. Otherwise the battles take some time to beat. A boss usually slams into the ground or gives Kirby an opportunity to suck something up and shoot it at the boss to damage it. Kirby 64 features a wide range of enemy combatants-- the familiar Whispy Woods, a killer whale, and a technologically advanced machine of sorts, to name a few.
|A different dimension makes even the |
oldest of foes feel brand-new.
The shards are placed in areas of all shapes, sizes, and ranges of effort. Some are right out in the open. Others require some ingenuity. Certain walls, floors, and ceilings are colored in two tones. This means that Kirby must have the correct copy ability combination to destroy it and get the housed shard. It can be annoying experimenting with copy ability combinations, trying to come up with the right one to get that blasted shard.
Unlike a majority of Kirby games, Kirby 64 has not aged as well as the other games in the series. The early 3D models hurt the presentation in a small way. However, the backgrounds are full of interesting things to look at. Sometimes when the action gets a little too heated, the framerate will stutter a tad. It's hardly noticeable but it happens. The music of Kirby 64 features several new arrangements of old Kirby themes and entirely new compositions that will delight fans of jaunty video game music.
|With this copy ability, it's bombs away.|
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.25/10]