Greatest Levels in Gaming: “Kirby’s Adventure” (NES, Monochrome May Special)
Welcome back to The Splintering’s Monochrome May event! Today we’re introducing what may become a new feature: Greatest Levels in Gaming, starting with one of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s last, but most cherished games.
Before we kick this off, if you have any concerns about spoiling a 30-year old game, then you might want to avoid this retrospective. Then again, anybody in the know could figure it out with the title of the article, I guess, so if I ruined Kirby’s Adventure for you, then… I’m sorry!
But don’t let me ruin it, because Kirby’s Adventure is awesome! So awesome that it houses one of my favorite levels in all of gaming! Go ahead and flash back with me to 1992… Ahhhh! What a great year! So at this point in time, the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was really at its peak, and the original Game Boy was still in its first 5 years of what would become a 15-year lifespan.
As with most system launches, the Game Boy launch left a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, I played the HECK out of Super Mario Land! And Tetris… Tetris was its own phenomenon to be experienced… But you could feel the infancy of those titles. The developers needed a few years to really learn how to use the system to make the best of its potential. Adding to that challenge was the fact that original Game Boy had to play well in a limited graphical style, as the screen was not back lit and was only one color. This often caused blur to happen… typically with the faster games.
It wasn’t until really Metroid II and Final Fantasy Adventure came out in during the 1991 holiday season that owning a Game Boy meant more than feeding one’s portable Tetris addiction! Just a few short months later, Nintendo introduced an all-new character on their infant portable instead of their tried and true NES! This was Kirby, of course, in HAL Laboratory’s original Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy!
Kirby’s Dream Land was the game that piqued my siblings’ and my own interest in the Game Boy platform. It was perfectly suited for Nintendo’s little gray handheld, and what is cooler than a little white, (yes, the original Kirby was white) circle… face… thing… that can eat things roughly five times his size!?!?!? SerioKirbyusly, a great idea!
I did get my first Game Boy a few months later, and was one of my first purchases! It was a relatively short game, and pretty easy, but that just made replaying it on the higher difficulty setting all the more fun! The Game Boy sure did have an amazing life, and the original Kirby’s Dream Land sure was one of the pioneers of this novel, portable, frontier.
So yeah, Dreamland definitely made an impression… but I don’t really want to discuss Dreamland, specifically. What I really want to chew on is the sequel, Kirby’s Adventure, which Nintendo not only released on the now “understood” NES and really tapped the power of the system, but also solidified Kirby as his own character, giving him his now famous “copy” ability… and making him pink instead of white! Much cuter! :p
So now you’ve already seen me gush about Kirby’s Dreamland… Well, I found Kirby’s Adventure to be even more amazing and magical than the original! And a lot of that has to do with one single level: the last level. *SHOCK* Have you put all the pieces together yet? Yep! Kirby’s Adventure was one of the first games to hammer it all home with a great big nostalgia level! The last level was simply a romp through highlights from ALL of the levels of the original Kirby’s Dreamland, in all its monochromatic glory!
It’s probably hard for anybody to really relate to this today, but let me tell you, the first time I made it to this level… I… WAS… FLOORED!!! Having already enjoyed the heck out of the Game Boy game MULTIPLE times, and now having experienced a VERY welcome evolution of the character in his new NES game, only to have the final level be one giant black and white level with the new pink Kirby tromping through his past?! Like I said, this was one of the first times a game had tapped a nostalgic vein like that. Sure, there are a few that preceded it, but as far as 8-bit is concerned, this level alone was the pinnacle of that era! I mean, what a way to go out!
Yeah, there were a few more games to come out for the NES (quite a few golden nuggets, I might add!), but the console’s real swan song was Kirby’s Adventure… and this level makes me… *sniff* …emotional… *sniff* *sniff* It’s like looking back at that time in the past… and seeing it in monochrome as if it were a dream… and remembering how great that whole era in gaming was! *CRIES*
I LOVE YOU 8-BIT ERA!!!
Thanks for reading! To check out more of The Splintering’s Monochrome May content, go here.