Kirby's Dream Land

Game Boy

Review by Chris Alaimo



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 7


kirby1.bmp (46146 bytes)Released by HAL Laboratories in 1992, Kirby's Dream Land for the Nintendo Game Boy was the first game to feature the cute, vacuum-powered white puffball we all know and love. Aimed at younger gamers, Kirby's Dream Land is a platform game made slightly less challenging to appeal to its intended audience.

Kirby's Dream Land is made up of four normal levels, with two stages each. After the first stage, a mini-boss is faced, and at the end of the second stage, a beefed-up version of the mini-boss must be defeated. After the first four stages are cleared, Kirby heads to the dreaded Mt. DeDeDe. A selection screen presents Kirby with four doors. Through each door, Kirby must face off against one of the already-defeated bosses, after traversing an extremely small level. Once the four bosses have been re-annihilated, a fifth door becomes available, one that leads to the games final boss: King DeDeDe!

The gameplay is not unlike any other platform game. Most of the levels in Kirby's Dream Land have various smaller sections, separated by doors. If Kirby is killed, he needs only to re-play the level from the last door. He must defeat enemies and pick up various items on his way to the end of each level. What makes Kirby unique is his ability to suck up his enemies in an orally-created vacuum, and spit them out at other enemies. He was eating his foes and spitting them back out long before Yoshi learned to do it! Kirby can also take in a large gulp of air and use it to fly himself around, as is required by certain levels.

Each of the game's bosses is significantly unique enough that they are all interesting in their own way. Although sucking something up and spitting it out is the key to defeating every boss in the game, the technique needed is always a bit different. The game also has a healthy variety of enemies within each level, so that the levels never become overly repetitive. The primary drawback of the gameplay as far as an older gamer is concerned is the lack of any real challenge. It's easy to beat the game on the first attempt, in 30-40 minutes. It's a shame that the game isn't more challenging, because the unique gameplay elements create an interesting and engaging experience.

kirby2.bmp (46146 bytes)Graphically speaking, the game looks impressive for it's time. The environment is detailed, as are all of the characters. The animation is also extremely fluid, and at no point was there any slowdown in the game. Visually, the game is a far cry from earlier Game Boy platform titles like Super Mario Land.

The game also has excellent sound. Each level has it's own accompanying music, as do the bosses. Interesting sound effects also make the game more enjoyable. Kirby sounds like a miniature vacuum cleaner when he ingests enemies. Playing this game, it is readily apparent how much improvement was made in the quality of sound in Game Boy games when compared to launch titles.

Aimed squarely at a younger audience, Kirby's Dream Land still manages to provide a fulfilling, though less challenging gaming experience to older players. Though not worth the price to an older gamer when it was new, it should not be overlooked at a thrift store, flea market, or second hand gaming shop.


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Last updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:57 AM