Tag Archives: dedede

FGC #409 Kirby Star Allies

EVERYBODY DANCE NOWKirby is a hero because he never forgets his friends.

Kirby is a force of pure id. The diminutive pink ball (seriously, it’s canon that he’s less than a foot high) is an endless source of destruction for Dream Land. Assuming some malcontent were to lay a paw on even one slice of Kirby’s cake, our “hero” would descend upon the land in a flurry of annihilation, and consume every man, woman, and block from here to his goal. If an evil clown is riding a tomato, Kirby will consume fiend and fruit alike, and then move on to swallow one of those giant bear things. And let’s not even consider the property damage incurred by a reckless warrior wearing a bandana and wielding a hammer! Kirby should be hero and villain to the generally drowsy denizens of Popstar.

But Kirby is only considered a hero by all but the most stubborn of penguin monarchy. And why? Because Kirby is so damn inclusive.

Let’s back up a moment, and consider the concept of a supporting cast. In fact, since I’m psyched about some upcoming Avengers times, let’s talk about superhero supporting casts. Iron Man kicked off the Marvel cinematic universe, and he’s always had his Pepper Potts on standby. There’s also War Machine, who has appeared in every IM movie, and a surprisingly high number of Avengers/Captain America films. But then we have the supporting cast from every other Marvel film, and do the auxiliary characters ever escape the gravity of their private little universes? I’d love to see Thor’s Science Squad discuss matters with Spider-Man’s STEM kids, or even see some Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comingle with a Strange fellow or two, but I’m pretty sure the best we’re going to get is Wong comparing hair care tips with Okoye. And, in a way, that’s fine, because Avengers: Infinity War already looks overstuffed with every hero under Ego the Living Planet, but it also sucks for every incidental character that has ever outshone their main star. I’m not going to start shouting, “Bring back Peggy Carter!” but… well, okay, I might start doing that. Bring back Peggy Carter! And Iron Man’s dad! They were the best ones!

WeeeeBut the fact that the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” has been so long lasting (do we have a single movie universe/franchise with one solid continuity that has ever lasted this long?) has erased our memories of what normally happens in superhero movies. Let’s look across the aisle at Batman. If you’ve got a Batman movie, you have to have the old standbys: Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, and Martha Wayne’s necklace. But past that? Well, if you liked a particular character from one Batman movie, there is absolutely no guarantee that character will ever be seen again. Lucius Fox? He’s a strong maybe. Robin? Depends on the decade. Batgirl? Geez, I know I’m one of six people that enjoyed Alicia Silverstone’s performance, but we’re somehow never seeing that character again. And even if a character returns, it doesn’t mean they’ll be remotely similar to their previous incarnation. Batman is always Batman, but Catwoman might be a Tim Burton fantasy, or a Bond Girl that incidentally owns a motorcycle. And the Al Ghul family can’t even stick to one nationality!

The unfortunate point of all this superhero talk is that it’s rough being a tertiary character when your best friend has their name in the title. Superman might always have his Jimmy Olsen, but not even the biggest blockbuster of 2017 is going to stick Etta Candy in anyone’s vocabulary. And that sucks for any audience member that actually prefers these “sidekick” heroes (or, as might be the case in that ridiculously male dominated field, heroine). If you’re looking for the benevolent Leslie Thompkins of the Batman mythos, please never watch Gotham, as she’s… a wee bit on the crazy side. But maybe she’ll be better in Batman’s next adaptation!

But Kirby doesn’t have that problem. Kirby has friends forever.

NINJA!We’re going on 26 years of Kirby, and Kirby’s main cast has absolutely not changed with the times. Kirby is the same hungry ‘n heroic puff he has been since day one. King Dedede is a greedy hammerhead of a flightless (kinda) bird (also kinda). Even the freaking tree with a face has been serving the exact same purpose since his introduction as Kirby’s first ever boss. Waddle Dee is Dedede’s minion whether he’s got a bandana or not, and Scarfy is still just as angry about Kirby’s inhalations now decades after that stopped being Kirby’s main offensive maneuver. Link, Samus, and Sonic might explore entirely new universes with every installment, but Kirby’s world has been rigidly defined from his inception.

But Kirby isn’t just about repetition, Kirby is all about the little guy (again, not even a foot tall, but I’m not talking about him this time).

As a member of not only the Metroid Preservation Society, but also someone who has been tirelessly stumping for the Equal Rights for Goombas campaign, I like incidental bad guys in videogames. I could care less about King K. Rool, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Kudgel again. Starman might have dominated the Earthbound box, but I’d rather see the Wild Wooly Shambler make a comeback. And, unlike shield-bearing heroes, I like like-likes. And it looks like Kirby is right there with me! Waddle Dees and Waddle Doos are locks, but we’ve also got Birdon and his fabulous headdress. Bio Spark the ninja, too! Chef Kawasaki! Bugzzy returns! And they’re all playable!

And then you get some DLC, and you’ve got a hamster on the roster, too! What more could you ask for!?

WeeeeeeSo, in a way, Kirby Star Allies is the ultimate form of the Kirby experience. Kirby never forgets his friends, so it’s only natural that he would wander around the universe and make brand new friends everywhere he goes. Yesterday’s villain is today’s best friend, and Kirby’s team of Dedede, Metaknight, and Marx is proof of that. And, even though it’s certain we’ll see another Kirby title after this series highpoint, you don’t have to worry never seeing Kirby’s “Batgirl” ever again. Kirby never forgets his friends, and that’s a fine explanation for why they keep that maniac around.

Kirby’s one tough creampuff, but he’s never going to forget even one of his friends.

… Except Lololo. Screw that guy.

FGC #409 Kirby Star Allies

  • System: Nintendo Switch, the best damn system ever named after a piece of routing equipment.
  • Number of players: Bring all your friends! Four!
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: Kirby rules! All Kirby games are good, and Star Allies is fun for the whole family (of mutant, one-eyed waddlers). My only complaint stems from the game relying on the same bosses and minibosses a little too often, and not in stimulating ways. Fighting Whispy Woods more than once in a playthrough, particularly when you know there’s going to be an arena mode anyway, is pushing it. And miniboss twins are okay, but where’s the full 4 v 4 brawl? Keep making me fight Mr. Frosty, fine, but at least make it interesting!
  • CreepyFavorite Copy Ability: How did it take this long for Kirby to become Spider-Kirby? Trapping opponents is fun, hi-jump makes a return as a friend ability, and Kirby gains the coolest hat in the world. Kirby does well doing everything a spider can.
  • Favorite Ally: Bonkers the Gorilla has a hammer and my heart.
  • Sad but true: That minigame where Kirby bats an incoming meteor into the stratosphere is the closest we’re ever going to get to a decent FLCL game.
  • Did you know? In all Kirby 25th Anniversary orchestra artwork, Bonkers plays the timpani. Don’t date drummers.
  • Would I play again: Yes, and please release more and more DLC so I can play Kirby again every month. Bring back that painter kid, Nintendo!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mega Man Battle Network 6: Cybeast Gregar for the Gameboy Advance! Oh boy! It’s time to give my spell checker an absolute conniption! Please look forward to it!

KIRBY!

FGC #351 Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

Hashi no kahbi!Nintendo’s worst videogame system proves one simple truth: you can be yourself, or you can be something else, but you can’t be both.

The Nintendo 64 was Nintendo’s third console system. The Nintendo Entertainment System was synonymous with videogames, brought the entire industry back from the brink, and managed to turn Nintendo into an uncontested juggernaut of the industry. The Super Nintendo had to deal with the upstart Sega Genesis, but it was still home to some of the best games of the era, and a number of releases that, even to this day, unequivocally are the greatest hits of the medium. The Nintendo 64, though… the N64 got problems. It started with a rocky, anemic launch. It bled third-party support almost instantly. It never hosted a worthwhile JRPG when that genre defined the epoch. Its final first-party game was a scaled-up Gameboy title (I’ll save you some googling, it was Dr. Mario). There were some great games for the N64, but Ocarina of Time had to share shelf space with Turok: Rage Wars. The N64 made it hard to be a Nintendo fan.

But let’s take a step back and consider what being a “Nintendo fan” really meant at the time. We take it for granted nowadays, but the very concept of a “console war” didn’t seem to exist before the 16-bit era. The Atari didn’t seem to have any significant competitors, and the NES was videogames for the 80s. It wasn’t until the Sega Genesis decided it needed a chunk of that market share that the flames of “us vs. them” had to be fanned. Did you ever read Nintendo Power from that time? Or Sega Visions? What were already basically propaganda magazines decided to go all in on the most important battle of our time (hedgehogs vs. plumbers), and every other month you’d get new information on how blast processing isn’t even a real thing, riding a dinosaur is for babies, or the essential truth that so much as demoing a second videogame console is infidelity of the highest order. You cannot serve two masters, little gamer, and you should inflict this vital fact upon everyone on the playground.

ROCKYSo, by the time we hit the Playstation vs. N64 years, don’t worry, Nintendo Power, we got this. We know those vipers at Sony are trying to eat our lunch again with their Final Fantasies and Mega Mans and other franchises we used to enjoy on Nintendo systems, and we’ll defend you! We’re forever in debt to the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule, and Castlevania. Wait… they got a new Castlevania? And the N64 just has some dork with a chainsaw? Dude. Dude. Look, guys, I’ll keep playing Pokémon, but, uh, I gotta get going. Tekken is waiting, and it’s got a panda fighting a dinosaur.

And Nintendo noticed. Before the N64 was even released, it became clear that CD based systems were finally going to be the wave of the future (after a rocky bump in the road compliments of INXS), and the cartridge was to quickly go the way of Caveman Games. But Nintendo didn’t like the looks of load times, so we were forced to read the phrase “expensive cartridges” for the next five years. And then the Nintendo 64 launched with dopey Mario and frivolous Pilotwings. Wrong! We needed more big boy games for big boys, so we quickly received Cruisin’ USA, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, and Killer Instinct. Ah, yes, that’s the stuff. Mature games for a mature gaming community. And 2-D games are out of style, so we need all 3-D, all the time. It worked for Mario, so how about we get Donkey Kong into the 3rd dimension. And keep churning out those violent fighting games and grown-up shooters. It’s what the people want!

RAINBOW RIDEIt’s clear what happened here: Nintendo had a solid vision for the future of their console… and then “course corrected” to please the masses ten minutes before the system even launched. The controller with camera buttons and an analog stick wound up chasing the system that could be operated with one hand (say what you will about JRPGs, but they only require all of two buttons), and all those polygons decided to stumble over full motion video instead. What developers remained on the N64 were scrambling to match the cinematic experiences available on the Playstation, and the whole library became a mess of neither fish nor fowl nonsense. Look, I love Jet Force Gemini as much as the next guy, but you have to admit that, even that late in the N64’s lifespan, it comes off as pretty patchwork.

Which is a shame, because first party Nintendo games that followed the “Nintendo way” from the start are pretty amazing. Mario 64 feels like a natural progression of the franchise, and Ocarina of Time is right there with it. Mario Kart 64 refined (SNES) Mario Kart into solid gold, and Star Fox 64 truly used the new technology to turn a bunch of random shapes into a thrilling story of fox versus wolf. And Donkey Kong 64 isn’t responsible for any homicides (as far as we know)! And then we’ve got Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

Kirby 64 is a 2-D platforming game not unlike many other Kirby adventures. It’s (incredibly disappointingly) much slower and less frantic than Kirby Super Star, but it is right about at normal Dreamland speed. Basically, if you liked any Kirby game featuring helpful hamsters, this adventure is about what you’d expect. There are doodads to acquire (a staple of both the N64 and slower Kirby titles), but, by and large, this is a very straightforward platformer. Move from left to right, occasionally climb a ladder, and have a ball utilizing Kirby’s eclectic moveset. Maybe you’ll eat a hedgehog? That’ll show those Sega dorks.

And, side note? This game is beautiful.

WeeeeeOkay, granted, it’s Playstation/N64 style beautiful, but it is still beautiful nonetheless. The pastels of Pop Star really pop, and everything moves just right. In spite of Kirby’s N64 Smash model, Kirby is actually spherical, and not a pile of edged polygons. Special effects from special powers may seem basic, but in the same manner that a Kirby Krackle can sell a comic book (uhhh… different Kirby), Kirby makes self-immolation look perfect across every system. Everything combines wonderfully, and, without a doubt, this is a game that is undeniably a gorgeous experience.

And this stands in stark contrast to every other N64 game.

N64 games are terrible looking. They contain some of the worst draw distances and fog warnings outside of H.P. Lovecraft. Their protagonists almost always look like they were carved out of some particularly unpleasant rocks by a partially blind sculptor (who maybe is missing a few fingers). Nobody ever moves right. Let’s face it, Majora’s Mask was a success because it identified that every last character populating N64 Hyrule was horrifying. And this happened to third and first party games alike: in an effort to ape the most popular games of the day, polygons and Vaseline were smeared everywhere, and suddenly our greatest heroes started resembling Tobor: The Refrigerator That Walks Like a Man.

Let's chillBut here’s Kirby, just doing the thing he’s always done. There is no attempt to force 3-D gameplay. There is no byzantine story mode. There is no desire to go full angry eyes. It’s just Kirby, a character that premiered on a system without so much as the possibility of color, scaled up to modern technology. It’s fun. It’s pretty. And it’s one of the best games on the N64.

And game reviewers of the time derided the game for being “too kiddy” and “a throwback”. One of the best games on the system, but “too easy”. It generally got great scores, but the expression “no Goldeneye” was thrown around a bit.

So… uh… I guess maybe don’t be yourself? Let’s stick to the blocky bitmaps. Gotta be popular.

FGC #351 Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

  • System: N64. It also resurfaced on the Wii and WiiU, but I want to say it wasn’t on the super awesome Kirby collection released at the end of the Wii’s lifespan. … It was? Dammit! I turned on my N64 for nothing!
  • Number of players: One for the main gameplay, four for the inevitable minigame sections. Which reminds me…
  • What may have been: Early screenshots of this title seemed to indicate that it would have been four players, with Dedede, Waddle Dee, and Adeleine (the painter dude) filling the other playable slots. This would have been very consistent with N64’s emphasis on four player titles, and an excellent “upgrade” from the two player modes of Kirby Super Star. Alas, it was not to be, and was likely lost with the 64DD. And then we wouldn’t see a similar four player Kirby experience for eleven years.
  • Away we goFavorite Power: All this talk of Pretty Soldier Kirby and I didn’t even mention the main hook for the title: combining powers. Mix cutter and fire to build a flaming sword! Ice and needle to make a deadly snowflake! And rock and spark to make a… lightbulb? Whatever. What’s important is that bomb plus needle will transform Kirby into an invincible Gordo monster, and that’s been a dream since Kirby’s first adventure. Show those jerks who’s the spikiest, Kirby!
  • So, did you beat it? This is one of the rare N64 games that I didn’t finish while the system was fresh (because, admittedly, I was playing those more “mature” JRPGs at the time), but 100%’ed well past its initial release. It’s that good! Or Kirby is that good! Or I have OCD! It’s one of those!
  • Turn the lights off: You ever notice that Kirby seems to see a release toward the end of the system’s lifespan? Kirby 3, Kirby 64, and even Kirby’s Dream Collection were all practically the last boats out of their respective systems. Weird. Anyway, look forward to Kirby Battle Royale for the 3DS!
  • Did you know? The familiar “Kirby dance” does not appear at any point in this game, as worlds end with Kirby waving to the screen instead of dancing. Maybe he just noticed the player, and got self conscious?
  • Would I play again: It’s on the short list of N64 games I enjoy playing, so that’s a yes. I… I think all the rest are all Nintendo games, too. What a weird little system.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Bloody Roar 3 for the Playstation 2! Roar! And… Blood! Please look forward to it!

We've got a runner

FGC #154 Kirby Triple Deluxe

KAHBYIt seems like a number of concepts come in pairs. Good and evil, black and white, dogs and cats, etc. But some things seem to naturally come in threes: the Holy Trinity, the Triforce, Star Wars… the list goes on. Personally, I prefer the “three” concepts, as it allows for a sort of “tie breaker” vote, whereas the duos are allowed to be as selfish as possible. Granted, it’s not like we ever see the Holy Spirit siding with Jesus to score points or something, but the basic concept of a trinity allows for a greater understanding and balance than simply two warring factions.

So it seems only natural that a trinity rules Freudian Psychology as much as Dream Land.

Kirby, the round, pink creature that is best known for protecting Dream Land… is not much of a hero. Yes, he has a tendency to repel eldritch horrors and guarantee that Pop Star won’t be transformed into a mechanical hellscape, but he also has a propensity to… have other interests. Kirby once brought an unholy terror upon a gang of mice entirely because they stole a single piece of cake (Kirby’s cake, dammit). When transformed into a ball (twice!), Kirby summoned the powers of the gods themselves to… just kinda roll around. He’s cool with whatever direction is being drawn for him, just as long as there are more Maxim Tomatoes than lava pits. But steal all the food in Dream Land, and it’s curtains for you as one tough creampuff devours everything in his path to save his own stomach.

Kirby is heroic, sometimes, but almost as an afterthought. More than anything else, Kirby is an all-consuming black hole of craving. In other words, Kirby is a walking, grumbling example of Freud’s “Id”, the primal, desire-fueled part of the human psyche. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that “Id” is Latin for “it”, and Kirby is a featureless, seemingly sexless blob.

It takes what it wants. It consumes.

On the other side of the coin, we have the super-ego, the part of your brain that, like Superman, is dedicated to doing the right, societally mandated thing. SpikeyThe super-ego knows you could just lie about and do nothing all day, but, no, that is morally wrong, what you should do is go out and help humanity. How should you help the world? Well, the most obvious answer is to gather together a crew of likeminded individuals, get all your heads on straight, and then build and fly a gigantic airship with bat wings to force the rest of your people into a life free from idleness. Granted, that’s just one solution, but it’s the one Meta Knight chose, and he’s all about being Dream Land’s super-ego.

Also consider that Meta Knight is constantly seen wearing a mask, which is most obviously tied to Jung’s concept of the persona, a mask that is worn by an individual to more easily congregate with the rest of society. What dark secret hides beneath the mask of Meta Knight? It doesn’t matter, because that answer exists only for Meta Knight; for the rest of civilization, he is the super-ego, and nothing more.

The third point is ego. It’s easy to paint the ego as the simple “man in the middle” in the struggle between instinct and the appeasement of others, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. In short, the ego is responsible for sating the Id, but it also has a general eye on making sure that the Id is gratified in a way that grants long term happiness. In simple terms, the ego is the part of your brain that tells you to save some cake for later, you’ll appreciate it more when your life meter tummy isn’t so full.

PeeeeewThis fits King Dedede to a T, as he’s the character most likely to tell Kirby, “No, you’ve had enough, knock it off.” While King Dedede may seem to be a tyrannical monarch on the rare occasions he decides to steal all the food everywhere (which, yes, that wasn’t so great for his publicity), Dedede has also been responsible for a number of plans that were meant to eventually benefit his subjects (hey, everyone losing their dreams was just an unfortunate side effect). Kirby often has a hard time understanding Dedede’s methods, which makes perfect sense: the “it” can no more understand the ego than a baby understand why a parent has to work forty hours a week to earn that green papery stuff. Dedede might not be the best sovereign, but he looks out for his waddle dees, even if that does mean occasionally being possessed by incarnations of evil.

Now, a few of you may be Kirby aficionados, and you already see the flaw in this thinking. “Goggle Bob, you’re talking about a perfect trio of Kirby characters in the context of Kirby Triple Deluxe, a game that completely drops Meta Knight! Where is your Kirby trinity now!?” Well, I’m glad you brought that up, imaginary reader that talks exactly like me, because Kirby Triple Deluxe proves my point completely.

In the absence of Meta Knight, King Dedede proves himself to be the hero of Dream Land.

Alright, maybe he isn’t initially heroic. Dedede spends most of Triple Deluxe as a kidnapped princess. But! The reason he’s captured at all is because the invader du jour mistakenly identified Dedede as the savior of Dream Land. See? I’m not the only one that noticed his heroism.

And then, after Kirby has his fun, an entire game mode is given over to King Dedede. SlapFor the first time in the franchise’s decades-old history, Dedede is given a “real” story mode. Dedede had been playable in random ways throughout the years (as a “helper”, a ball, and a second player), but this was the first the big penguin (maybe?) got to shine all on his own. I think Meta Knight had already been granted the honor twice at that point.

And Dedede saves the world with aplomb. From a practical standpoint, he’s basically just a big Kirby with a hammer, but from a story perspective, he seems to actually have a goal, rather than Kirby’s usual unfocused rage/hunger. Dedede still has a weakness for tomatoes, but he also successfully repels Dark Meta Knight, a task Kirby evidently failed to complete a few years earlier. Kid probably fell asleep on some grassy hill and forgot all about that mirror threat, while Dedede gets the job done.

But in the end, that doesn’t matter at all, because Dream Land is in good hands no matter what.

Kirby is the most primal, selfish force on the planet, and he’s also the most likely idol of his little universe. Meta Knight is the unwavering force for justice, and he’s likely to use his blade to hone Kirby and defeat demons. And even Dedede, the king that alternates between selfish and selfless, has proven his mettle by saving the day all on his own. Dream Land is living in a dream, a dream where three wildly disparate heroes will always rise to the occasion.

So how’s that for dream analysis, Siggy?

FGC #154 Kirby Triple Deluxe

  • System: 3DS… so no gifs for you.
  • Number of players: Four? Like any good Kirby game, this one is chock full of easily ignored minigames, including one “smash alike” that involves linking up systems and battling it out in a Kirby battle royale. Loser has to buy lunch.
  • SLAMFavorite Kirby Power: In honor of Dedede, I’m going with Hammer for this one. Granted, that’s been a favorite going all the way back to the NES days, but there’s still nothing more satisfying than spinning around like an idiot and hammering everything in your path. Jumping? Dashing? Who cares, it’s hammer time.
  • Got the Rhythm? Dedede’s Drum Dash is a very weird proto-rhythm game that technically asks you to tap the A button to the beat of famous Kirby songs. However, it’s also a sort of obstacle course, so some times, it’s in your best interest to “miss” and take some low hops. It… goes against everything I believe in.
  • Did you know? Meta Knight has at least two “evil twins”: Dark Meta Knight (defeated by Dedede in this adventure), and Galacta Knight, an ancient warrior that looks like a pointier, purpler Meta Knight. Both creatures only seem to ever pop up as optional or final bosses (or both), but it puts King Dedede’s complete lack of rivals to shame. This is what happens when you keep getting possessed, you dang penguin!
  • Would I play again: If Kirby Planet Robobot didn’t exist, I’d go back to this 3DS Kirby experience. Now I never want to play a Kirby game without a mech ever again. Sorry, King, it’s time to fight your purple clones, now.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Sword of Mana for the Gameboy Advance. The ancient blade is hoisted once again into a bevy of evil to defeat Ganondorf Dark Lord. Please look forward to it!

PLANTS