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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Kirby Super Star Ultra

System: DS
Genre: Compilation
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Release: USA September 22, 2008 / EUR Sept 18, 2009 / JPN Nov 6, 2008 / S. Korea Nov 13, 2008 / AUS Nov 27, 2008
Players: 1-2

In late 1996, the Nintendo 64 was set to make waves and Nintendo was understandably, focusing a great deal of attention on it's then up and coming new platform. SNES owners were not forgotten as some it's last games proved to be some of the best. Released the same month as the N64 in the USA, Kirby Super Star (or Kirby's Fun Pack if you live in Europe) was one of the last great games for Nintendo's 16-bit baby. It contained seven full games and two mini games, making for a grand total of nine games. While many of the more fleshed out titles could be played through rather quickly, this did not detract from Kirby Super Star in the least. It was a huge hit and for many fans, Kirby Super Star is hailed as the greatest entry in the Kirby series. Kirby Super Star Ultra is an enhanced port of the SNES game, housing all nine games from the original and then some.

Behold, the many games of Kirby
Super Star Ultra.

The returning games from Super Star are Spring Breeze, a remake of the original Kirby's Dream Land. Dyna Blade, which sends Kirby on a quest to find out why the giant bird is on a rampage. The Great Cave Offensive, one of the more longer games of the lot has Kirby hunting for treasure in a massive cave. Gourmet Race pits Kirby against King Dedede in a race to eat the most food. Revenge of Meta Knight involves the title character trying to end Dream Land's laid back lifestyle but Kirby isn't having that so he assaults the Halberd, dismantling it piece by piece and then has a face off with the honorable knight. Yeah, it's just as unfathomably awesome as it sounds and is worth the price of admission alone. In Milky Way Wishes, the Sun and Moon are fighting and Kirby must summon Nova to make the feuding end. The Arena is one big boss rush mode, pitting you against all of the game's bosses. Samurai Kirby, one of the mini games has you pressing the A button at the right time to defeat your opponent. Basically, it's quick draw but with samurais so it's infinitely cooler. Megaton Punch, another mini game is a contest of strength to see who can make the biggest crack in Pop Star. If you're really good, you can split the planet in half. Unless the residents of Pop Star of have concocted a way to survive with their world in such dire straits, such a show of brute force can't be good for the planet, but as long as you're the toughest guy around, who cares? When you initially begin playing Kirby Super Star Ultra, only Spring Breeze, Dyna Blade, the Great Cave Offensive and Gourmet Race will be available. By completing the various sub-games, more become accessible.

As pretty as it was on the SNES, it looks even  better
on the DS.

Games new to Kirby Super Star Ultra are Revenge of the King, a harder, slightly altered version of Spring Breeze. Meta Knightmare Ultra lets you play almost all of Ultra as Meta Knight and he's so absurdly overpowered that it makes you wonder how he ever lost to Kirby. Helper to Hero is an endurance mode, enabling you to play as any of Kirby's various helpers to face off against 13 bosses. The True Arena is The Arena on steroids, with some Nintendo Hard bosses. As for the new mini games, Kirby Card Swipe is a test of the reflexes to see if you can tap the matching card on the touch screen first. Kirby on the Draw has you using the stylus as a gun to shoot as many targets as you can against AI opponents. Snack Tracks sits Kirby on a conveyor belt to eat as much as he can. With all of the old games from Kirby Super Star, plus the new ones in Ultra, that's a whopping 16 games to play.

$5 says Dedede loses to Kirby. Again. 

The bulk of the games presented here play like the typical Kirby platforming fare. Run, slide, float, inhale enemies and Copy their abilities. Not much new here if you're familiar with Kirby and if you're a newcomer, it's easy stuff to grasp. If you want an extra set of hands, you can turn any copied power into a Helper. The Helper AI is actually rather adept and you never have to worry about it getting stuck on an object because if you get too far ahead, your partner will simply shoot back to you as a star. A second player can also take control of the Helper but he/she will need their own copy of the game.

Kill cute critters alone or with help.

Outside of the touch-based mini games, the touch screen is generally used to display your health, what game you're playing and the stage you're in, but it's especially useful in The Great Cave Offensive. Here it tells you to what area you're currently in, how close you are to the exit and if you've found all the treasure in a particular section. It's not a full blown map like what you'd find in a Metriod game, but it still a welcome addition since it can be quiet easy to get lost in that game.

Kirby Super Star was a fine-looking game on the SNES and it looks even better on the DS. The sprites and backgrounds have a much brighter, sharper look to them and all of the game's cut scenes now have full 3D animation. The music is just as cheerful and catchy as ever and you'll be humming along as you play but it doesn't sound quite as good as it's SNES counterpart, though only the most hardcore Kirby fan will probably notice.

Huh. I was under the impression that
everyone called him that.

With the added games and improved visuals, one could argue that Kirby Super Star Ultra is superior to the SNES original. It may be a port, but it's an amazingly good one and one of the best games you play on your DS. Many of the games are short, but these are still some of Kirby's most memorable adventures. One of the finest Kirby games can now be carried around in your pocket and be accessed at anytime. What's not to like about that?

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