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Friday, August 10, 2012

Favorite Tunes #20: Kirby Themes

It may be past Kirby's 20th birthday, but that doesn't mean the celebrations have to end. So enjoy a small portion of some of my favorite themes from the expansive Kirby series.

Machine Passage - Kirby Air Ride (GCN)

Originally in development for the N64, Kirby missed the boat and wound up being a GameCube title. A racer that had Kirby riding on a Warp Star, the controls were rather simplistic with most movement being mapped to the A button. This tends to be a love it or hate it Kirby game even for a spin-off, but everyone is pretty much in agreement that Machine Passage is one of the best songs in the Kirby series.

Coo the Owl - Kirby's Dream Land 2 (GB)

Despite not being directed by Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai, Kirby's Dream Land 2 is generally viewed as a good Kirby game. It's also longer than it's predecessor. The Copy Ability was present and accounted for and Kirby didn't have to save the day alone. Of the three allies Kirby can uses to aid him in his second portable platform adventure, Coo has my favorite theme.

Meta Knight's Theme - Kirby Super Star (SNES, DS)

Kirby Super Star is my second favorite Kirby game for a number of reasons. The plethora of games it has in a single cart, the Copy Abilities and the introduction of the hats Kirby wears with them and the music. If I were to rank which Kirby game has my favorite music, Super Star would probably win easily. When you finally clash with Meta Knight in Revenge of Meta Knight, the Halbred is going down but the valiant knight is determined to have a duel with Kirby to settle things. A cool character deserves a wicked theme and that's exactly what Meta Knight got here.

Nightmare - Kirby's Adventure (NES)

King Dedede was only trying to protect Dream Land from danger. He broke up the Star Rod into seven pieces. Unfortunately, Kirby was unaware of Nightmare's presence and by placing the complete Star Rod into the Fountain of Dreams, Kirby has played right into Nightmare's hands. Nightmare may look like a generic Vampire, but he's got a superb battle theme that's split up into two parts. The first portion of the track is short. As you're riding on a Warp Star, Nightmare attempts to shoot you down. Kirby dodges a few blasts, but one finally hits and he falls off the Warp Star. Once you land on solid ground, the second part of the theme kicks in and the final battle begins. Even on the NES, the quality of this final boss theme still blows my mind. I much prefer it over the GBA port in Nightmare in Dream Land.

Jigsaw Plains - Kirby's Dream Course (SNES)

Kirby's Dream Course is a highly unique take on golf. Kirby is the ball and he can use Copy Abilities by hitting enemies that have power-ups. It may seem impossible but scoring a hole in one on every hole is actually doable. How? That'd be telling. Of all the Kirby spin-offs, this one remains at the top of my list.

Rock Star - Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)

Another Kirby title not directed by Sakurai and one that many fans love. It's different from the other Kirby platform games to be sure. Kirby's flight is limited and thanks to the crystal shards, some backtracking is needed to get 100% completion and see the game's true ending. This is also the only game in the series that let's you combine Copy Abilities. Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando were reunited to do the Kirby 64's music and they hammered out some mighty impressive tunes.

Mt. Dedede - Kirby's Dream Land (GB)

For a while the only sinister song you heard in Kirby's first game was the boss theme. Once you arrive at Mt. Dedede, the fifth and final stage, your ears get hit with a menacing tune befitting for a self proclaimed king. There's just something about the way Jun Ishikawa used the Game Boy's audio that makes this version of this theme sound better than later versions. I suppose that in some cases, less really is more.

CROWNED - Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii)

I didn't think any Kirby game would dethrone Kirby Super Star from being my number one favorite. But the long delayed Kirby's Return to Dream Land came along and surpassed all my expectations. It has multiplayer that works extremely well, adds a few new Copy Abilities while greatly enhancing existing ones and worlds that are an absolute riot to blast through. Malogor also gets props for being such a cool villain. It makes you wonder if he has Joker Immunity because you fight him more than twice before he finally goes down for good. I so love his final boss theme. The use of the trumpets and violins come together to make a truly wow worth piece of final battle music.

Cool Cave - Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)

This game didn't feature the traditional style of Kirby gameplay but the visuals were so original and the experience so delightful that I really didn't care. Some feel that a threat has been removed from the game since you can never die, but I honestly didn't mind it all that much. Even without having to worry about the Grim Reaper, getting 100% is still no cakewalk. Epic Yarn's soundtrack is heavy on the piano melodies and I love it for that.

Kirby Collecting - Kirby Mass Attack (DS)

With four titles released on the DS, Kirby showed the handheld a lot of love. I'm currently playing through this game and let me tell you, it's some of the best use of DS touch screen. Guiding Kirby's past traps and flinging them at foes makes for quite an experience. The mini games that can be unlocked by collecting medals are very entertaining. This track is one of the earliest you'll hear in the game and probably one of the catchiest. Gotta love those bongo drums and voice samples.

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