It’s a Kirby game and any fan of the series knows that a monster from another time, space, or reality is on its way to Pop-Star to do something awful to it — having read that, all the new comers know now too. Kirby’s more than ready to spring into action though — I mean, he can absorb the powers of whatever he eats so if the bad guys are ready then he is as well. With the help of his pal Gooey and his animal buddies he’ll kick the dark spawned creature back into the cold unforgiving cosmos from which it came.
Sorry, no words about the development here. The only interesting tidbits of information that I could find was that this game was the last first-party game Nintendo released for the Super Nintendo. That and this game didn’t get released in Europe and Australia due to some sort of technical issue. It wouldn’t see these parts of the world until 2009 — better late than never I guess.
Kirby’s Dreamland 3 was released on November 27th, 1997. It’s competition was Curse of Monkey Island (PC), Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64), and Croc: Legend of the Gobbos (PS1).
I watched the demo of this game when I was a kid and saw that I could summon a little buddy to help me fight through the game. This buddy’s name was Gooey and I was certain that we’d be the best of friends. Things with Gooey started off great. He was running around faster than me and eating dudes and spitting them out at breakneck speed. Then I started trying to finish certain bonus goals and he kept eating all the enemies that gave me the powers I needed or any abilities in general. Soon, I had to dismiss this faithful companion.
This game is the standardest fare when it comes to Kirby games. This means that Kirby jumps and floats around eating enemies and gaining the powers of enemies that look like they have powers. Eating a spider doesn’t give you a power, there is no spider power — although certain New York webslingers would disagree — but eating an enemy with a sword will give Kirby the Sword power or a broom gives him the Cleaning power — I’m not joking, Clean is one of the most useful abilities in the game.
In addition to having sweet powers this game features 6 animal buddies: Rick the Hamster, Kine the Fish, Coo the owl, Chuchu the… blob thing — the wiki says she’s an octopus but she’s looks more like an alien parasite– , Pitch the bird, and Nago the cat. These guys alter how Kirby’s copied abilities work, have their own methods for grabbing enemies, and have different movement abilities. For example, Nago has a triple jump but can’t float like Kirby can, Kine can swim against strong underwater currents, and Chuchu can grab onto ceilings but can barely float at all. Sometimes their unique copy abilities are needed to overcome certain obstacles as well so get ready to use your imagination.
Every level showcases a character who needs Kirby’s help. Sometimes it’s a janitor that needs help cleaning rooms –I told you clean was useful– or a deconstructed robot that wants to get put back together.
Completing each task gives Kirby a weird sort of heart-star morphing thing. I’m certain there’s no secret goal, boss fight, or ending that is only unlocked by finding all of these things — Nope, certainly not one of those around these parts.
Gooey can be a pain in the ass but he’s got locked away in him the secret to eternal life. Summoning Gooey reduces Kirby’s health by one box. Dismissing Gooey will return the lost box of health… no matter how low Kirby’s health is. If he’s been reduced to a half of a health box then summoning Gooey won’t cost him any health and dismissing him will give him another box back. The game’s already pretty easy but if you’re in a pinch then just remember this neat trick.
The music in this game has a sort of kid friendly tone to it. Sometimes the instrumentation gets a little grating but it’s more than made up for by super catchy melodies. Every once in awhile I’ll hum a few bars of one of the ridiculously fast paced songs.
The art has this sort of gentle wonder to it that I really liked. When it was good it was great.
The bosses in this game are super cool. My favorite boss in this game is Ado. She’s an artist from another planet who’s come to Popstar to improve her art skills. I don’t think she needs much more practice though because her drawings are so life-like that they come to life when they’re finished. Her fight is more like three bosses in one. Not content to send her creations to fight you, when you’ve defeated her minions she comes out swinging with her brush.
As far as a game for kids is concerned, the tone of the music and content can sometimes be radically dissonant. The final boss is some straight up nightmare fuel. The gentle music sometimes goes absolutely berserk. But that’s the nature of an adventure, I suppose. It doesn’t really matter how scary the final boss was to me when I was eight because I beat it. I vanquished that evil and its creepiness only went to show how twisted and dark it was.
Some of the environments are a little bland. Only a few levels really stood out to me at all. Kirby Superstar had places like Green Greens, Bubbly Clouds, Mt. Dedede, and a giant freaking airship called the Halberd — you can bet I looked that word up.
I really like the optional goal mechanic, don’t get me wrong, but some of the objectives are just impossible to figure out. The guy with the umbrella coming out of his head was tricky but the shy dude was impossible. So impossible that I’ma bout to spoil it all up. He’s really shy so he wants a hug. Chuchu’s “inhale” is her reaching out to grab the enemy. The game considers a vicious blobby grab to be equivalent to a hug when the game requires it to be. So bring Chuchu to this guy and show him some love.
Tiny quibble over here but I really dislike how there’s no way to fight a boss after you’ve defeated it. If you want to fight the boss again then you’ve got to start the whole game over.
Nostalgia is having a really hard time saving this one. I feel like such a kid playing this game and I think that’s a good thing. I may have just played it to death though. I can’t recommend this one to an adult when there are so many other portable Kirby games on the market that do this one’s job better. But if there’s a kid in your life with the Wii virtual console then I’d say grabbing this game for them would be a good investment.
Next Week: Kirby Superstar