Kirby's Dream Course


Review by Karl Krueger



Graphics: 8

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

What's this? This can't be! Straight from the age where it seemed everything was a clone of Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, Double Dragon, Street Fighter 2, Gradius, Tetris, or Dragon Warrior, HAL labs makes something original! So original, in fact, that nothing has been like it since.

Strangely enough, it seems the only way Kirby can stop King DeDeDe this time (whatever evil thing he's doing in this game, I don't even know) you have to guide Kirby through various courses with a series of strokes, swatting him into the hole at the end of each. This game can only be described as miniature golf in the bizarre pink world of Kirby. You probably guessed that that is indeed what makes this game something special. With spike pits, familiar bad guys, trampolines, redirecting arrows, and classic Kirby power ups, you've never played golf like this. Ever. EVER. And until you find this game, you never will play golf like this. Ever. EVER.

Gameplay is set in an isometric view, and anybody that's played a golf game before Tiger Woods introduced the analog swing will be familiar with tapping A to set the power meter at just the right spot. But that's not where it ends. Hold B and use left & right to put some nice billiards-style spin on Kirby. Tapping up gives you the option of an aerial shot with the additional options of tennis-style topspin and backspin (applied once again with the B button) you can even tap A after you hit Kirby to give him a little bit of extra push.

This isn't a simple series of Par 3s and Par 4s however. The hole isn't even on the course when you start a level. Instead, there are various Kirby baddies around the course, some of who give you power ups (which we will discuss later). You gotta knock 'em all out. And when there is only one left, it transforms into the hole. This is one of the many interesting elements of strategy in this game. If you take out the enemies in the wrong order, you're screwed with a VERY hard hole to get to, especially on the hellish later levels. Some enemies can't be killed (Gordo, Kracko) while others just sit there to mess you up (Whispy Woods).

You need not worry about the joke of the Kirby series that is Whispy, however, because if you have the Spark ability you can obliterate him. Power-ups, like in the Kirby platformers, are acquired by killing certain baddies (ones with power-ups are always flashing). You activate them by pressing B after you hit Kirby. Some are difficult to get the hang of, like the path-altering Tornado and the slow float down to Earth of Parasol, and some are extremely handy in any situation. Needle stops Kirby where he lands. Freeze freezes (no, really?) water hazards so Kirby just slides across them. Sometimes power-ups are necessary to win levels.

As mentioned before, this game is faaaaaar from traditional. This isn't Stroke play. Kirby has a life bar of 4 tomatoes. You lose 1 every time you use a stroke or hit spikes or Gordo. You gain 1 every time you eliminate an enemy or land in the hole. If Kirby loses all his tomatoes (or goes flying off the edge of the course, which is a very real possibility most of the time) he loses a life. Prepare to see the Game Over screen at least a few times if you play this game, because unlike the early Kirby games, this one presents a nice, meaty challenge. Previous experience with other games won't help you with this unique title.

If the fact that it's Kirby doesn't clue you in, let me stress my point: this is one of the best games in the vast SNES library. I'm a huge Kirby's Avalanche fan but I still claim this is probably the best Kirby game on the system for anyone. It's a game with just the right amount of challenge to keep you coming back.


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Last updated: Sunday, May 01, 2005 08:56 AM