Sucking and swallowing in a platonic, Greenpeace sort of way.
Ah, Nintendo. Because you can’t quite seem to come up with anything new, you feel compelled to publish the same five games over and over again. You do it with Mario. You do it with Zelda. And by God, you’ve gone and done it again with Kirby. Everyone remember that Kirby game on the SNES? Yeah, you’re about to buy it again. Why? Cuz it’s still friggin' amazing. (And because you’re a whore for Nintendo.)
[image1]Kirby Super Star Ultra stars Kirby, a nauseatingly pink little ball of cuteness who never talks, eats everything in sight, and kicks a surprising amount of ass, considering he looks like something you’d get from a vending machine. Given that this game is actually a compilation of many smaller games, it’s impossible for me to give a straight rundown on the plot but it goes a little something like this: King Dedede/Dyna Blade/Meta Knight has stolen and/or polluted all the resources of Dreamland to such a degree that even Hexxus wouldn’t touch it, and only Kirby has the balls [Is the ball? ~Ed] to stop him/her/it. As usual, he accomplishes this by more or less cannibalizing his enemies and stealing their life essences, which he then either absorbs into himself or spawns into a mindless clone who fights for Kirby until its own bitter, untimely end.
So what is it then? It’s the exact same thing you’ve played before… except it has pretty cutscenes, which for a Kirby game is so utterly necessary. I mean, how else can you convey the emotional struggle that is the oppression of those little cream puff/monkey things? (Really, what the hell are those little dudes supposed to be?) What other way can you depict the tyranny of King Dedede and the agricultural rape he besets upon Dreamland? And what about the precious little Dyna chicks? Without the fancy fully-rendered graphics they wouldn’t be able to express a sense of animal innocence.
[image2]But really, the new cutscenes are pretty. So is the music for that matter (and while we’re on the subject I just want to briefly mention that Kirby games always have the most amazingly ridiculous soundtracks, seconded only by Katamari Damacy). The whole game has been dolled up in the same way as every other port of that-awesome-game-you-played-back-in-the-day *cough*finalfantasy*cough*. That’s nice and all, except that when you pay $34.99 for a game, you sort of want there to be something, oh, I don’t know... new.
Not that the same old isn’t bad, especially if you’re into a simple, side-scrolling platformer. When I want to game hardcore, I throw in Resident Evil. When I just want to chill on the couch and not think about real life, that’s when I play Kirby. It’s perfectly simple: You move in a mostly linear fashion, from left to right, and hack and slash and hack and slash until you’ve obliterated everything. Every once in a great while you’ll need a particular ability to progress through an area (which means you’ll have to copy a certain enemy to steal its abilities) so a little forethought is sometimes required, but enemies respawn infinitely so you can always go back and chow down.
[image3]This leads me to this game’s only real flaw: It’s way… too… easy. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it almost zones me out because all I really have to do the majority of the time is press the D-pad to the left and mash on the B button. Respawning enemies would be obnoxious in most any other game but here it doesn’t really matter. They can barely touch you and all it takes is a hack and a slash and they’re done for. Even the level bosses are a piece of cake. Kirby’s expansive moveset - every one of the little gumball’s 15 forms - has several moves and combos. It may be fun to fiddle around with but it almost seems a little pointless when faced with such unworthy foes.
Consequently, you wish you could duke it out with your friends in some sort of battle mode but sadly you’re restricted to co-op and minigames. Not that I’m hating on co-op but when you’re faced with the aforementioned easy, it becomes recockulous to have a buddy helping you along (and frankly, I’d feel embarrassed to be asking any of my friends for help with this). And here’s the kicker: If your sorry friend doesn’t also own the game, they can only help you… in the easiest area… while they’re looking at your DS. Really, I kid you not, they have to look at your screen. Finally, the multiplayer minigames are actually tight - the card drawing one is my personal favorite - but not all of mini-games are available at the beginning. Why can’t I just have them? I want Megaton Punch!
Remakes and ports, they are what they are. You really can’t hate them because chances are that if the original hadn’t been awesome, it wouldn’t have been ported. I loved Kirby back when I was just a wee little geek and I still love him just as much now. Kirby Super Star Ultra is a solid title that could have been just a little fresher while still keeping Kirby rad. If only the little cream puff could run up onto some baddies that were a little more hardcore, his abilities might finally outshine his amazing super-cuteness.