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Kirby Super Star (SNES) artwork

Kirby Super Star (SNES) review

"If the only part of Kirby Super Star that I’d played was the “Milky Way Wishes” adventure, I’d be slapping a “10” on this SNES compilation cart so fast it’d make your head spin! "

If the only part of Kirby Super Star that I’d played was the “Milky Way Wishes” adventure, I’d be slapping a “10” on this SNES compilation cart so fast it’d make your head spin!

Sadly, that ultra-cool game is only one of many present in the marshmallow-like hero’s first SNES outing. Worse, as it’s the most fun and challenging game on the cart, Murphy’s Law dictates you’ll have to unlock it by beating a slew of offerings so inferior that you’ll wonder why you were so fired up to play “Milky Way Wishes” in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong — Hal and Nintendo deserve their share of credit for trying to do something a wee bit different. Instead of creating one big Kirby adventure (like, say, the excellent Kirby’s Adventure), they decided to give us gamers a whole bunch of shorter Kirby-centric games. All told, there are five platformers and four mini-games present, which should have been a bonanza for any fan of the little guy.

Well, as I initially said, one of those platformers is excellent, boasting a number of challenging stages, while making a few innovative alterations to the standard Kirby formula. If you’re familiar with ANY Kirby games, you know that the only thing he has going for him is the ability to inhale and swallow enemies. However, after he’s gulped ‘em down, if they possessed a special ability, it now belongs to you until you either take a couple of hits or dump it for a new power.

“Milky Way Wishes” takes things in a different direction. You can eat all the enemies you want, but will get nothing whatsoever for doing so. Instead, you have to thoroughly scour each of the this game’s levels, looking for little statues signifying the abilities (some of which are quite tricky to snare). Whenever you get a new ability, to access it, all you have to do is make a few button clicks on your control pad — a function that allows you to effortlessly go from one ability to the next WITHOUT spending 15 minutes looking for that one rare monster that holds (for example) the hammer.

I loved “Milky Way Wishes” and it, along with the extremely challenging “Arena” mini-game you unlock by beating virtually everything, happened to be enough to send me away from Kirby Super Star with a smile on my face. It wasn’t enough, though, to allow me to forget all the crap I had to wade through in order to get to this point. Just take a look at some of the other offerings served up by Hal and Nintendo....

“Spring Breeze” lives up to its name by being so easy it could lull a person to sleep. Based on the initial Kirby game released on the Game Boy, the sole purpose of this short quest seems to be to integrate new players to the mechanics. If you’re familiar with earlier Kirby outings, you’ll notice one big difference in the way Kirby Super Star works. After swallowing a monster and stealing it’s power, you can push a button to release the foe, who now will fight with you!

If you’re with a friend, he (or she) can pick up their own control pad and take charge of this addition to the party. If you’re more reclusive, the foe-turned-buddy will be under the computer’s control. It’s a good thing for boss fights, but winds up being a horribly flawed concept at a couple of crucial moments. But I’ll get back to that point a bit later.

Anyway, after beating “Spring Breeze”, it’s off to the “Dyna Blade” adventure. Surely this will offer a bit more of a challenge than that painfully easy initial journey, won’t it? Sorry to disappoint you, but “Dyna Blade” is another simplistic, vanilla trip through a small handful of fairly short and less-than-challenging stages.

If you’ve had enough of these lame platforming games and want to try something else, you can always delve into the “Gourmet Race” mini-game. All you have to do is race Kirby’s favorite whipping boy (King DeDeDe) through three courses while grabbing as many treats as possible. After a couple of minutes fiddling with this, I was ready to get back to the platforming games. You see, from playing Kirby’s Adventure back in the day, I’d come to a conclusion about his mini-games — they’re fun to play WHEN you can get points and bonus lives from beating them, but not as little stand-alone diversions. That meant I essentially ignored “Gourmet Race”, as well as “Megaton Punch” and “Samurai Kirby”, the entire time I played Kirby Super Star.

The next platformer, dubbed “The Great Cave Offensive”, nearly was perfect. Kirby’s looking to get 50 or so rare treasures from a gigantic cave. Much like the monster abilities in “Milky Way Wishes”, these treasures are often hidden quite well, meaning it will take all your resourcefulness to find them all. Adding to the challenge, this cave is H-U-G-E and is loaded with enough side paths, nooks and crannies to ensure that anyone expecting a simplistic game in the vein of the first two will be hopelessly lost within moments. Add to that a few cool bosses (including a devilishly witty take on role-playing game battles) and “The Great Cave Offensive” was looking like the big turning point for Kirby Super Star.

But then, I discovered the horrible truth. To get all 50 treasures and effectively completely clear this game, you HAVE to play with another person. You see, there’s an area or two where you need a monster partner to hold down switches for you. If the computer’s controlling them, that’s not going to happen, as the little cretins tend to prefer attaching themselves to your hip pocket at all times and WILL NEVER stand still on a switch long enough for you to do your business.

I’m not going to lie and say I “hated” this adventure because of that flaw, but it did seriously detract from my enjoyment. I just think it’s absolutely ridiculous to allow someone to choose a one-player game and then tell them that they can’t get 100 percent on their own. Knowing that I’ll likely never collect all 50 treasures has ensured that I’ll never want to touch “The Great Cave Offensive” again. Maybe that’s just me being overly anal retentive about the whole thing, but that experience just rubbed me the wrong way.

Before playing “Milky Way Wishes”, I had to get through one more platformer. While I’ve always gotten the impression that “Revenge of Meta Knight” is somewhat of a favorite among fans of this game because of the running dialogue between Meta Knight and his flunkies, I just couldn’t get into it. Personally, I think the fact you spend so much time on Meta Knight’s ship really detracts from this game. Nearly three-quarters of this adventure is spent going through similar-appearing stages dominated by the same drab brown color. Not even a couple of awesome boss battles could completely rouse me from the lethargic state those levels put me into.

The reason I noticed how boring the graphics were for much of “Revenge of Meta Knight” was because of how bright and colorful they were for the rest of the game. In one stage, you’ll go through lush green forests, only to see the scenery shift to lava-filled caverns to underwater tunnels to star-filled skies. Play this game enough and you’ll realize why your hero’s first game was titled Kirby’s Dream Land — as quickly as your surroundings shift from one beautiful scene to another, it almost feels as though you’re playing through a dream.

It’s just too bad that some aspects of Kirby Super Star are a bit more on the nightmarish side. It’s not like this isn’t a fun game, as nearly all the stages are quite pretty and a couple of the platforming games deliver the goods as far as gameplay goes. But, when I look at the grand total of nine offerings on this cartridge, I realize that I could have done without six of them completely AND one of those three I liked (“The Great Cave Offensive”) needs a little bit of tinkering or I might kick it out the door, as well.

I look at “Milky Way Wishes” as one of the greatest Kirby-related adventures I’ve ever played and “Arena” is one of those mini-games that will give just about anyone a run for their money, but with the exception of those two games, I find Kirby Super Star to be home to way too much filler. It’s not necessarily a horrible thing, as that “filler” looks and plays better than a number of other platformers I’ve had the misfortune to pick up, but I did wind up looking at this cartridge as somewhat of a disappointment.

overdrive's avatar
Community review by overdrive (April 15, 2005)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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