Retro: VC Weekly #168

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

A joyous time indeed as one of Nintendo's most popular mascots gets their first portable outing made available to download. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Kirby's Dream Land

Price: GB �3.60, EU �4
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Released: 1992
System: GameBoy

While there have been many Kirby titles this is perhaps most memorable for being his first outing, it's also a game that's hard not to like hence why subsequent games seem to have taken this as their basic template before expanding things somewhat. It's true that this title may have been improved upon many times in the nineteen year period since its original release however there is something undeniably charming beneath the seemingly simple surface of this classic platform title that just feels so right despite being decidedly dated.

For the uninitiated you take control of Kirby who is on a mission to retrieve the stolen stars of Dream Land taken by the evil King Dedede who has stolen them along with all the food, while Kirby moves with the D-pad as you may expect what might surprise you is that he has the ability to defeat enemies by inhaling them then exhaling them; it's this unique mechanic which originally set the game apart from anything else at the time and still manages to put a smile on many a gamer's face. You can also float indefinitely by pressing up though the trademark absorption ability where you take on the traits of inhaled enemies is not present here as that came later but Kirby still proves to be more than capable even with his limited move-set.

There are four stages of reasonable length each containing a boss that you'll find yourself facing twice due to there being a boss rush in the final stage, despite this though the game is a total breeze to play through in under an hour; though this is the nature of the game as it was designed to be played, enjoyed, completed then played all over again. Veterans may choose to take on the extra mode however by pressing 'Up', 'A ' and 'Select' at the title screen, this adds a decent amount of difficulty to the proceedings even if it's still pretty straightforward to complete it should add a reasonable amount to your completion time due to having to think a bit more and is a very welcome addition plus arguably playing in this mode feels almost as if this is how it was originally meant to be played despite being a 'hidden' option; whichever way you play it's still fun though.

Monochrome visuals are the order of the day here but don't let that fool you as there is still a pretty decent amount of detail present as with many Nintendo titles and what it may lack in colour it makes up for in charm which it has in spades; Kirby is well animated as are his enemies, making it a joy to play. The music is perhaps one of the most memorable aspects about this title though as once you here the theme of Green Green's it will be embedded in your head for life and you'll find yourself humming it many a time, consider yourself well warned.

No doubt this is a landmark title to this day and despite being bettered multiple times over the lifetime of the series this is the original title that's great fun to play whether you're a newcomer or are a die-hard Kirby fan then you're sure to get enjoyment out of it though if you've indulged in this game before then you may be better off waiting for the later titles. Rest assured though this is a game which is equally enjoyable today as it was many years ago though its short length may put some people off despite it being a decent title.

Verdict : Kirby's dated yet delightful debut.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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