bshirk's Kirby Super Star Ultra (Nintendo DS) review

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Not incredibly innovative, but one of Kirby's greatest adventures

Kirby Super Star is a game you'll either love or loath depending on your feelings towards the pink puff.  If you are a fan of classic Kirby games, you'll be right at home with this one, as it is a compilation of several different games in one.  Kirby Super Star Ultra is a re-release of a 1996 Super Nintendo title with a few extra games thrown in for good measure.  Many of the games are full-fledged titles, while others are simple, yet addicting mini-games.  Something to be aware of when purchasing Kirby games however, is the short-length of the games.  Kirby is fairly simple as far as 2D platformers go, so you can quickly breeze through most levels.  Many critics often bash Kirby for the simple nature of the games, but the good thing about this re-release is that some of the added games crank up the difficulty so much that only seasoned gamers will conquer these additional challenges.  This gives Kirby Super Star some much needed longevity.

It is a shame that many Kirby games have fallen under the radar due to their consistently late releases in each console cycle.  Kirby Super Star was the definitive game of the series for many fans, yet this classic title was missed by most gamers.  If you have played a Kirby game before, you'll immediately feel at home with this one.  You'll guide our pink rotund hero through various candy-colored locals sucking up anything that moves like a vacuum cleaner.  Unlike a vacuum however, you can turn most enemies you swallow into an ability.  For example, if Kirby swallows a sword-toting enemy he'll gain the abilities of a swordsman.  Each enemy swallowed will allow you to perform four to five techniques.  In all of the Kirby Super Star games, you can only use one enemy's abilities at a time.  You can create a helper with that ability, or you can discard it at any time you wish if you desire another tasty morsel.  Enemies are plentiful in the game, so you seldom travel without any abilities.

While your abilities are the same in most of the Kirby Super Star games, you'll take part in a variety of gameplay modes.  Spring Breeze is a simple romp through Dream Land (Kirby's home), where you faceoff in an ultimate showdown with King Dedede, while The Great Cave Offensive will have you traversing dark caves in search of sixty treasure chests before you reach the exit.  You have the option of breezing through The Great Cave Offensive, but the true challenge lies in finding all sixty treasure chests, which you probably won't accomplish your first time.  Other types of gameplay are packed into this Kirby adventure as well, such as space shooting missions similar to Gradius, and even Kirby RPG battles that parody the battle systems found in games such as Dragon Quest and Earthbound.  The newly included games feature new characters and enemies, but for the most part they feel like more of the same.  Still, it is fun racing through all the levels of Kirby Super Star as the Meta Knight, and the new-and-improved King Dedede isn't a wuss for once.  The arenas present the most difficult gameplay of Kirby Super Star however and will really test your finely-honed skills.  It is hard to believe that you actually have to strategize in a Kirby game, but the True Arena will have you doing just that.

Most of the Kirby games are accompanied by 3D cutscenes unique to this version of Kirby Super Star.  They tell the story, along with an occasional blurb of text.  The cutscenes are a little blurry, but it was nice that some new animated sequences were included with the game.  Kirby is mostly about gameplay however, so don't expect much of a story.  It is fairly basic fair involving a faceoff with Kirby's nemesis, King Dedede, and one of his enemies that was also featured in Kirby's Adventure for the NES, the Meta Knight.  There is a story for each game, but they are really just excuses for you to go on an adventure.

People who played the original Kirby Super Star might be wondering what else is new.  Well, besides a few new games and mini-games, there isn't much.  The graphics have been touched up and there are some new monsters and bosses you'll face during the adventure, but that is about it. The music is basically the same as in the SNES version, with the exception of a couple new songs for the new modes.  If you're a fan of bright, colorful 2D graphics you'll love the art in Kirby Super Star.  Everything is animated beautifully, and there are a variety of environments to traverse.  Fans of Super Smash Brothers Brawl will finally get to see the origin of features such as the Meta Knight's ship in Kirby Super Star Ultra.

If you like Kirby games or haven't played them, but like 2D platformers, I'd highly recommend Kirby Super Star Ultra.  Even though the games contained within are short experiences on their own, the variety of content included makes this a worthwhile purchase.  If you own the original, there probably isn't enough new content to warrant the $30 purchase, unless you want to play Kirby on-the-go, but for anyone with a DS who hasn't played KSS, there is no reason not to purchase it.  What you have here is Kirby's finest adventure, with the possible exception of Kirby's Canvas Curse.  Inhaling enemies has never been this much fun; just don't inhale the adventure too fast.

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