Tag Archives: lolo

FGC #463 Kirby’s Dream Land 3

KIRBY!Kirby’s Dream Land 3 asks the unthinkable: What if Kirby wasn’t a complete monster?

In the early days of Kirby, there were tales of two distinct Kirby directors. Most people (nerds) are familiar with Masahiro Sakurai, who directed a number of Kirby games. While all of his Kirby titles have been distinctly Kirby-based, it is clear to see how this “version” of Kirby directly influenced the eventual creation of Super Smash Bros. (particularly if you look at Kirby Super Star and that dang shield). However, a trio of early Kirby titles (Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Kirby 64, and today’s Kirby’s Dream Land 3) was directed by noted cryptid and likely real person Shinichi Shimomura. Many gamers have noted that Shimomura’s Kirby titles were slower and more exploration-based than the Sakurai Kirby titles that came to define the franchise. Arguably, it is the Shimomura joints that follow the “original” intent of Kirby’s Dream Land, while Sakurai went off in search of crazy Kirby powers and maybe a giant robot or two.

But all their games feature Kirby, and Kirby is a force of destruction.

It’s pretty clear that, even divorced from his greatest and most destructive powers, Kirby is still a pink ball of unrelenting fury. At the base level, Kirby’s greatest strength is unfettered consumption, and his goal in nearly every adventure is either food or sleep. Maybe include some bathing, and Kirby is little more than a bottomless, never satisfied cat… and I can think of no creature more horrifying. And, while Kirby is generally on the side of the angels in rescuing food reserves from penguins or granting his Popstar buddies a good night’s sleep, he is still wrecking up the place with practically every step across Dream Land. Have you seen him turn into a wheel? Wheels are not supposed to be that vicious, but Waddle Dee is still lying unconscious at the side of the road.

But, from the very first level of Kirby’s Dream Land 3, something special happens…

Here we go!

You are allowed to play 95% of Kirby’s Dream Land 3 as typical, destructive Kirby. However, the first level offers an alternative: why not stop and smell the flowers? Or, more accurately, why don’t you stop and not completely obliterate the flowers? The flowers of 1-1 are very delicate, and they will be stomped into nothingness by the entirety of Kirby’s moveset. And once you destroy a single flower, sorry, that’s it, it’s not coming back without exiting and resetting the level. But if you do carefully maneuver Kirby around the flowers (which requires little more than steering our hero with a tiny bit care, this isn’t some “don’t touch the walls” carnival attraction), at the end of the level, Kirby will make friends with a very happy flower. This grants a recognizable “completion” token, and teaches the player an obvious lesson: be careful in the future, and you might get more sparkly doodads. And who doesn’t want more doodads?

I recognize this dudeAnd, while not every action Kirby takes to earn these friendship points is as gentle as during the first mission, many take a very “slow down, Kirb” approach to proceedings. Sometimes you have to collect puzzle (or random robot) pieces, occasionally it’s a lost child that must be found in an alternate route, and, in rare cases, you have to carefully study alien biology in an effort to bring peace to the galaxy. Every level offers a different challenge for our pink puff ball, and many of those challenges are far outside of Kirby’s traditional modus operandi.

And that’s pretty damn impressive for a platforming character best known for being a walking black hole.

It’s often noted that videogames are violent (and, make no mistake, I firmly believe that stomping a chestnut creature into a fine jelly is violent) because videogame characters only have so many ways to interact with their worlds. As such, it makes perfect sense that “secrets” or “alternatives” in platform/action games are often simply “look slightly off the beaten path”. Mega Man was entirely straightforward until Mega Man X introduced searching for armor and powerups in hidden areas. Mario was linear (give or take a warp pipe) until World added alternative exits, and then Yoshi added additional findable rarities. Basically, your only choices in many old school franchises for “scoring” beyond “Bowser is 10,000 points” are added alternative paths/secrets, or some manner of accuracy percentage (see: Contra). In both cases, the hero of the piece is not asked to do anything different beyond more effective murdering or maybe murdering in a slightly different location.

None of those heroes ever stop to smell and/or save the flowers.

Beautiful dayKirby has a more varied moveset than most videogame protagonists, but he still didn’t need a single new power to preserve nature. Later levels reward Kirby for bringing a certain skill or animal to the table, but, by and large, many of these events are of the nonviolent nature. You might need the cutter to earn the secret in one level, but it’s simply so you can pop a balloon that frees a chick to waddle back to its mother. What’s more wholesome than that? And speaking of which, one stage per level may feature a reunion between animal pals if you play your cards right. Girl cat and boy cat getting together means adorable kittens. More adorableness! And, added bonus, that darn cat actually looks happy for once. Hugs all around!

So congratulations to Kirby’s Dream Land 3 for allowing Kirby to solve a problem or two without overt violence. Kirby might be one of the most destructive heroes in all of gaming, but, for one title, he was allowed to help without the hurting. Thank you for giving us a kinder, gentler Kirby.

… Well, until it’s time to knock the evil right out of King Dedede. There are some times you just have to go nuts.

FGC #463 Kirby’s Dream Land 3

  • Can't get enough of those guysSystem: Super Nintendo initially, but also available on that Kirby compilation for the Wii, and more recently as part of the SNES series on the Nintendo Switch.
  • Number of Players: Two! That’s right, this was the first game to introduce Gooey, the nondescript blob of a Kirby partner that is mostly tongue. Please do not touch Gooey for any reason.
  • Rare Find: Kirby’s Dream Land 3 was released at the absolute tail end of the SNES’s lifespan, a full year after the release of the N64. As a result, Kirby’s Dream Land 3 was hard to find on shelves already cleared for Playstation titles of the day. In fact, when I found a copy of KDL3 at a Funco Land in early 2000, I was still under the impression the game had never been released in America, and this was somehow an errant Japanese copy. I thought it could only ever exist as a ROM!
  • Favorite Animal Buddy: Nago the Calico Cat always seems less like he wants to actually help, and more like he wants to play with the ball-like Kirby. I already preferred cats over hamsters to begin with, but Nago winds up earning my attention simply for how little he cares for our lil’ dude. Very cat behavior.
  • Sad Secret Truth: So much of this game is easier with Kirby’s inhale ability and no animal friends. Kirby is too powerful to be restrained!
  • So cuteFavorite Boss: Pon & Con seem to wholly replace Lolo’s place in the world of Popstar for “bosses that push blocks around”. Considering how little I like Lolo, I am practically elated at this development.
  • Did you know? Okay, maybe this isn’t the first appearance of Gooey. Gooey may surface in “kidnapped” bags if Kirby defeats a miniboss while already riding an animal buddy in Kirby’s Dream Land 2. However, it was only ever confirmed in Smash Bros. that this blob-creature was actually Gooey, so let’s go ahead and just say that Kirby’s Dream Land 3 was the first playable appearance of Gooey.
  • Would I play again: I prefer Kirby Super Star, but this is still an excellent Super Nintendo title. I would certainly guide Kirby through his kindest adventure all over again.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64! Get your cameras ready! And Pikachus! Please look forward to it!

WHISP!

FGC #270 Kickle Cubicle

Here comes some kicking!I’m starting to worry that this website is doing something to my brain.

Today’s we’re exploring Kickle Cubicle… Kinda. Unfortunately for everyone reading this blog and expecting me to stay on topic, I’ve got bad news, Kickle Cubicle has forced me to reevaluate everything about Gogglebob.com, and, whoops, now you’re going to read an article about my random meanderings. Sorry! Blame Irem! They already destroyed the world once.

Er-hem… Kickle Cubicle is one of those weird NES action/puzzle hybrids that you don’t seem to see much anymore. Basically, you’ve got Kickle, a snowman looking fellow, and he’s in an overhead-viewed ice world with a few magical bags lying around. Kickle must collect these bags, but, horror of horrors, white ice people can’t jump, so he has to make his own frozen bridges. This is accomplished by using Kickle’s two skills: ice breath that can freeze (most) enemies into shovable ice cubes, and ice pillar summoning magic that… summons an ice pillar. There’s… probably a better name for that, but I can’t seem to find the manual anywhere around here. Regardless, Kickle can then kick these ice blocks around, and, using his pillars to guarantee the blocks aren’t pushed right off the world, these icy enemies can be made to fill in the gaps in Kickle’s world. The road to Heaven is paved with frozen monsters. Grab all the bags, move on to the next Swiss cheese stage, and repeat for four full worlds of fun.

More kicking!My first thought on reviewing KC was basically to compare it to other FGC entries. Kickle is rescuing vegetables in a frozen environment… just like a certain pair of Eskimos we all know and love. And Kickle’s ice-breath-to-freeze-monsters is very similar to Lolo’s eggifying beam, and with much the same purpose. In fact, my first inclination for this article was to make some kind of post about “missed opportunities” or something, and elucidate how Kickle Cubicle, a game released after both of the previously mentioned games, seems to take concepts from both and create an actually good game. Lolo would be better with unlimited “ice breath”, and Ice Climbers would be better as any other game on the planet. Kickle Cubicle strangely draws from those old games (couldn’t just copy Mario like everybody else, hm?), but creates its own, unique experience. A lesson is learned, and malevolent clowns are frozen in ice. Win-win.

And then something snapped in my brain. I realized my first impulse to contextualize this game was to compare it to two games I had played recently. And then I realized that “recently” in reference to The Adventures of Lolo 2 was almost a year and one hundred articles ago, and Ice Climber was friggen FGC #10, nearly a full year before that eggplant nonsense. And then I realized that that means I’ve been maintaining this site and the “Fustian Gaming Challenge” for nearly a full two years. And then I needed to sit down.

And, since I apparently can only work through my problems through writing, here we are.

My first impulse was, basically, fear. I play videogames, I like videogames, and I own approximately twelve billion little discs and plastic boxes that play videogames. However, I don’t consider myself a gamer. I am a well-rounded, special human being with wants and desires, and, incidentally, I play videogames. Never mind that I’ve been playing videogames constantly since I was five. Never mind that I consider “selling off” bits of my collection to be some manner of heresy (and have thought as much since I was six). Never mind that I bought a house based almost entirely on how I could picture my “future” gaming room (“The NES games will look perfect stacked on these shelves” “Sir, that’s supposed to be for kitchenware”). No, I’m not addicted, I can stop anytime I want. Haha, this relationship with my ex-girlfriend is just like my relationship with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, that’s not weird at all, right?

More clowning!But outright denial about my own lot in life aside, my second thought was the fear that this site is eating itself, ouroboros style. Some additional context for that one: I used to be in a rock band. We’ve covered this before. We played original music, and released two albums that were purchased by… let’s see here, how many members of the band had parents?… probably ten people. The first album had lyrics that were about all sorts of stuff, from love songs to rebellion to watching anime (to be clear, the song was a metaphor for feeling like an outcast for enjoying something different than other people, it wasn’t The Ballad of Shinji… wait… maybe it was). The second album, meanwhile, was released after a solid two years of touring, playing podunk venues, cooperating with other bands “in the scene” that you could barely trust to not steal your guitar picks, and absolutely not selling any albums (but maybe a t-shirt?). Suffice it to say, we may have been a little bitter about all that, and, when I listen to that album now, I can identify that a healthy 75% of the lyrics are either coded or overt references to experiences within the band, some musical complaints even aimed at other members of the band. A year after that album was released, the band was a hobbled, broken mess that eventually went out with a whimper at some carnival thing. Anybody want to hear a pretty okay cover song? We used to do original music, but it became so filled with venom, even we didn’t want to hear it anymore…

And, honestly, I fear seeing that happen to the site. No, I don’t dislike writing these articles, and, no, I don’t have some kind of weird feud with the comments section or something (Metal Man Master, please keep posting!), but I fear the site becoming about itself, rather than, ya know, the whole of human existence. I’ve been writing about three different videogames every week for the last two years, and I’m worried that will impact my ability to think about anything else. The third article on this site was kind of about Mega Man V, but more about the death of my grandfather. And then the next article was about a ghost ninja skeleton. This site has always been eclectic, but I genuinely fear the idea that my brain is only thinking about videogames now, and, thus, I can only compare games to games to games to games until the end of time.

But then… I got over it.

More kicking!I want to say there’s some secret, good ending here. I want to say that the next game I’m covering is, I don’t know, Mother Issues II: The Revenge, and I’ll turn in a fine essay about the human condition and compare it to the struggle of the common man. Unfortunately, I know that’s not going to happen. Next on the hit list is probably a fighting game, and I’ll probably just fixate on the fact that there’s a dinosaur involved or something. I know how my mind works, and I know I can’t arbitrarily force a sincere, humanistic article any more than I can indiscriminately create a historical look at the Hero of Time.

But it all boils down to one stupid, narcissistic thing: I like reading my old articles. I like watching my old videos. It took ages to put together that silly Bohemian Rhapsody thing, and, by all accounts, I should be God damn sick of that thing by now (I pretty much reviewed that project’s progress, listening to the whole six minute song, every night for a month), but… I still like it. And it’s not just about staring into the mirror and giving my sexy bod a thumbs up, it’s that I genuinely like what I’m producing here, and that means I sometimes enjoy it as creator and audience. From moment one of this blog, my mission statement was to produce the kind of content that I’d like to see, and, somehow, after nearly two years, I’m still doing that.

Even got a crosspadSo if I’m in a videogame rut right now, that’s okay. I still like what I’m producing, and, whether I’m talking about a bear in bear armor or lecturing on Zelda, I’m proud of this site. Yes, some articles might wind up dependent on other articles, but that’s natural now that this blog has become a part of my life like, ya know, the rest of my life. I didn’t quit the Xenosaga LP when I realized I spent most of Easter Sunrise Service thinking about magical space robots, and I’m not quitting this blog because a videogame blog has a tendency to talk about videogames.

Yes, Gogglebob.com and the FGC have done something to my brain, but, hey, I can live with that.

FGC #270 Kickle Cubicle

  • System: NES… and that’s it. This would be good as a mobile release, but… Oh? There was an arcade version? That had to be weird.
  • Number of players: I suppose at least Ice Climber can tout its two player mode, while Kickle Cubicle is a strictly one-player affair.
  • You know, you could have saved this navel-gazing article for the actual two year anniversary of the site: I yam what I yam.
  • Veggie Tales: Was there some kind of eggplant shortage during the 80’s in Japan? Why are they everywhere on the NES? This is really bothering me…
  • More kicking!Favorite Enemy: Hey, I found the instruction manual, and apparently the bird-in-a-hat looking enemy is named Mr. Hoople, and his description reads: “Tries to get in the way”. He might be the least threatening “menace” on the NES, and that’s from the same system that premiered the slime.
  • Did you know? There are two malevolent clown enemies in this game, Bonkers and Piro. That should not be allowed.
  • Would I play again: Maybe! Seriously! It seems like there’s a lot of promise in this action/puzzle game. Give me a Switch port, and I’m there.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Shinobi for the Playstation 2! I guess three months between ninja entries is allowed. Shinobi grabs his shuriken yet again! Please look forward to it!

More kicking!

FGC #167 Adventures of Lolo 2

Push on, little eggAllow me to explain The Eggplant Paradox.

I’m assuming that, if you’re reading this, you’re a human. You’re also likely to be a human of some advanced age, or at least older than ten. If so, you’re familiar with the phenomena of your taste changing as you grow older. No, I’m not talking about getting over your childish obsession with Voltron, or acquiring a greater appreciation for classical music like the Beastie Boys oeuvre; no, I’m talking about your literal taste buds, and how those change over the years. Everyone knows that children have a predisposition towards sweets (which is theoretically a biological imperative to help a child accumulate enough calories to properly grow… basically, ancient humans grew on the same principles as Pokémon evolving), and that craving lessens with age. Thus, naturally, people’s taste changes as they grow, and lollipops are tossed aside for cucumbers. Well… hopefully. I mean, your teeth can only take so much taffy.

Personally, I remember the exact first salad I ever tolerated. I was 14 or so, and, after years of diving for whatever salad-substitute was available at any given restaurant, I finally found myself pinned at a local eatery where (gasp!) salad was the only appetizer available. First world problem, I know, but I was stripped of my free will and desire for applesauce, and cornered into eating a salad. It… wasn’t bad. And, from that point on, I actually found that I enjoyed salads, and vastly preferred them over runny soups. Now, a number of years later, a “po’ boy” salad is one of my favorite meals… or at least a fine way to empty all the leftovers in my fridge onto a bed of lettuce. Alright, if there was a bun big enough, it’d be a sandwich, but I like to convince myself I eat remotely healthy on occasion.

So, after the concept of salad was inflicted upon me, I decided to have a more open mind when it came to food. There are still some items I won’t touch (this blog is a lima bean free zone), and certain items I only enjoy “one way” (cooking broccoli or carrots is a bootable offense), Knock yourself outbut I’ve got the mentality of “I’ll try anything once.” What’s the point in life if you don’t try new things?

And then there’s eggplant.

It was the prom, a heady time when most of my contemporaries were concerned about that whole “getting naked” thing. Beautiful dresses, dapper suits, and I in a tux that was chosen entirely because it pulled off the optical illusion of convincing others I have actual shoulders. This was by no means “my prom”, no, I had been invited to this prom by a girl from an entirely different school. Sorta. The girl in question was single, and actually invited my girlfriend/her best friend, but the school had issues with her inviting a girl as her date, so I wound up with a ticket as well. In reality, she basically invited an entire couple as her date, though, for the benefit of other teenage eyes, it appeared that I was one man in a tux with a woman on each arm.

Needless to say, I have never looked that cool before or since.

Regardless, it was a fun night all around, and the whole “two dates” thing made the event very low stress. I don’t know if you, gentle reader, remember being a teenager, but worrying about how “my girlfriend” perceived every stupid thing I did at all times was on my mind roughly unceasingly, so an event where I could chill out and let the best friend do the heavy lifting was a godsend. Compliment everyone’s dress, dance when asked, and otherwise just unwind and hang out. No, I’m not going to “get laid”, but we can take a night off from biological urges, right?

Today, at this point in my life, I’ve been to a number of weddings, parties, funerals, and other social functions that were lavishly catered. When I was 16, however, I’m pretty sure the most luxurious meal I ever had involved a healthy amount of Chex Mix. This prom had a slightly more upscale buffet available, and contained a host of entrees I did not normally see on the McDonald’s menu. Did you know they make chicken with spaghetti sauce on it, and it’s named after cheese? It’s true! And there are these little hors d’oeuvres thingys that I’m pretty sure are just hotdog biscuits, but you get yelled at when you call ‘em that. And, as you’re probably guessing, there was fried eggplant available.

Concrete jerks“Fried eggplant!” I said. “I love fried food and trying new things. On this, this night of endless possibilities where, for all the world to see, I appear to be impossibly cool, I, Goggle Bob, shall try some of this ‘eggplant’ substance!”

And I took a bite.

And I immediately spit it out on the table.

Not cool, eggplant. Not cool.

Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of The Eggplant Paradox.

There is something about eggplant. I don’t know if it’s that it is generally fried, or smothered in some manner of sauce, or just it looks like it has a meat-like texture, but every time I see eggplant freely available, every time, I decide to give it a try. Maybe I think I’m more mature or that this time it will be prepared differently, but I just can’t resist attempting eggplant again. And, naturally, every time triggers this mad dash to get the eggplant out of my mouth immediately. The minute eggplant hits my tongue, there is no question in my mind, I’m going to induce vomiting if this thing stays in my mouth for any longer.

I hate eggplant, but I always try it again. Again and again. And I know what’s going to happen. But, still I try it again. This is The Eggplant Paradox: a never ending cycle of hate-fruiting.

Adventures of Lolo 2, and its entire franchise, is the eggplant of videogames.

ARGHEvery time I look at the Adventures of Lolo 2 cartridge, I am tricked. I think to myself, “Hey, it’s that action puzzle game from the company that eventually made Kirby. Those guys know how to make a videogame! It’s all about block puzzles, right? I’m great at those! I’ve been kicking JRPG block puzzle ass for years! Sure, I was bad at this game as a kid, but I’m going to slam that game into the NES, and beat that King Egger once and for all!”

And, to the game’s credit, I’m able to get through the first few levels. So AoL2 is not as bad as eggplant, technically. However, a few more stages in, and I’m already feeling the burn. I’m able to plan ahead for Skulls and Medusas, but those sleepy Leepers get annoying pretty damn fast. Rockys seem to have very hateful AI, and Alma rolls much too quickly. And, by the time a Don Medusa shows up, I’m done. I’m just… done.

I don’t want to play this anymore. Why did I think this would be fun? Block puzzles are the worst parts of JRPGs! And why can you get a block stuck “halfway” when all the monsters work on full-square coordinates? Why can’t I bloody “pull” a block backwards so I don’t lose all my progress thanks to a clumsy bump? Why does this game have lives at all!?

And it’s with great haste that I yank the cartridge out of the NES, and quickly slot Castlevania 3 in there. Need to calm down… not think of the bad blue creature anymore… he can’t hurt me now.

A few months later, I gaze at my collection, and notice Adventures of Lolo 2 sitting there with the other A’s.

“Hm… Adventures of Lolo, eh? That’s the action puzzle game from the company that eventually made Kirby…”

FGC #167 Adventures of Lolo 2

  • System: Nintendo, and Wii, again, right? The Wii Virtual Console was a lot more robust than I ever gave it credit for.
  • Number of players: One Lolo. Sorry, you’d have to wait until Adventures of Lolo 3 for a bowed Lolo alternative.
  • This sucksFavorite Monster: I like Gol, the fire breathing dragon creature that only activates after acquiring all the hearts. I feel like Gol plays fair with “you better prepare for this”, as opposed to his Skull buddies, who seem to figure out how to devour you immediately upon waking. And Gol isn’t as completely fatal as those damn Medusas.
  • Like a Boss: This is the first Lolo game with a real “final boss”… or a boss at all. King Egger must be battled in the final stage, and he’s not that bad, considering it’s just a fireball tossing fight. Yes, Lolo only has 1 HP, but Egger pretty much has the same offensive capability as Lolo, and the monarch is a much bigger target.
  • Other Eggplant Issues: No, I did not complete Kid Icarus as a child, so my bias against eggplant did not originate there.
  • Did you know? Lolo lives in Eggerland and is menaced by King Egger. Lolo uses magic to transform monsters into eggs. I feel like there’s a theme here… maybe something about balls?
  • Would I play again: Give me a few months…

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Mega Man IV for the Gameboy! ROB seems to choose every Mega Man game except the “real” titles. Weird. Anyway, I guess we have time for Ballade. Please look forward to it!