Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gūfii to Makkusu - Kaizoku Shima no Daibōken (SFC) Review

Received: April 5th, 2014 / Written: October 15th-16th, 2014
Alternate Name: Goof Troop
Year: 1993, 1994 | Developed and Published by: Capcom | [|O|]
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.  =)  In 1991 and 1992 respectively Japan and the West released The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo console to a lot of praise from everyone alike.  Not only was it lauded as one of the best console adventure games of all time, but also as one of the best games of all time as well.  Since then every adventure game tried to be the next Zelda III; reportedly speaking the MegaDrive/Genesis console received their own competition by the form of Crusader of Centy.  I can't confirm that though, 'cause I haven't played that one.  =(  Stupid price tag!
What I'm trying to say of course is that many tried to equal it, but ultimately few succeeded.  So I ask you: have you ever wanted to play the equivalent to A Link to the Past?
Image from Wikipedia
No, no, no, no, no, no, I mean outside of the Zelda series.  Now then, have you ever wanted to play an equivalent to A Link to the Past<=|
Don't take it too seriously, this intro was made for fun.  It's a joke!  I love the game, but I had to bring up games that equated in quality to the third Zelda
Image also from Wikipedia
Perhaps I haven't been clear in my question: have you ever wanted to play the Disney equivalent to A Link to the Past?
Well, you may have to keep looking for that then, for it doesn't quite exist at this moment.  In the meantime, you can always play the closest to have met Nintendo's epic competition: the lone video game adaptation of Goof Troop.
Image from Wikipedia
From 1992 to 1993 there was a Disney animated series called Goof Troop centering around the suburban life of Goofy and his young son Max, with hilarious hijinks ensuing during the course of seventy-eight episodes.  I liked the show a lot when I was little, and I still think it's pretty good.  It's no DuckTales, but it's a fun show in its own merit, especially in any scene that centers around good topics and neighboring Pete's crazy family.  No, I still don't know who helped Goofy conceive Max all these years later, that's still a mystery.  =\
Image from, guess where, Wikipedia
Then in 1995 first-time director Kevin Lima (Tarzan, 102 Dalmations, Enchanted) directed the second DisneyToon Studios animated movie to reach theatres, A Goofy Movie, which took place a few years after the TV series.  And for reasons I cannot fathom a lot of people don't seem to like this film, and I don't know why, as I don't really hate it all that much.  =(  Actually I don't hate it at all, as personally I think it's a good movie.  It's nowhere near the best animated fare ever, but there's a lot of nice moments in it; like the theme of father wanting to look after and spend time with son (wanting to be a part of his life), Max's love interest Roxanne was cute and charming, Jason Marsden did a great job voicing teenaged Max, and that waterfall scene is just gripping (I mean, my God, it's intense and touching at the same time).  It's a movie I don't mind watching whenever it pops up,... I just wish the widescreen DVD wasn't exclusively available outside of the US.  T_T
Image from Wikipedia again
Afterwards on February 29th, 2000 the follow-up to its theatrical predecessor, An Extremely Goofy Movie (or Another Goofy Movie in some circles) arrived on TV screens (plus VHS and DVD).  I haven't seen this movie in full since before I moved to the US in 2002, so I don't remember much about it.  All I remember about it are Goofy,... Max,... PJ,... that now bald guy who used to have crazy hair in A Goofy Movie,... Goofy and Max attending college,... Max being upset that his father is attending his college,... crazy Bradley Uppercross III,... the X-Games,... Goofy and the librarian Sylvia getting it on,... the great animation despite the small budget,... that funky disco scene,... that heavy and intense fire scene that was removed from all broadcasts out of fear that it would trigger 9/11 flashbacks........  Okay, so I do remember the movie; but what I don't know is if it holds up well.  <=(

All three images from Wikipedia
Finally Goofy and Max made partial appearances in all these media until 2004 when Max was never heard from again and Goofy became a fatherless anthropomorphic dog once more.  But before Max's permanent retirement the two did star in some video games together, the first and most notable out of the two (or more than two if you count Konami's Disney Sports series) being the only video game adaptation that was made based on the '90s TV series.
After the success of 1992's The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse for the SNES, despite having one of the most dreadful "take me out of the game completely" endings ever, Capcom (until 1994 the only company allowed to make and release Disney games for Nintendo consoles in the West) took this is as a go-ahead to create another charming Disney game.  Their next step strayed far from the platforming genre and decided to make a top-down adventure in the vein of, you guessed it, Zelda.  Their second out of six SFC/SNES Disney-themed games was none other than Goof Troop, or as it was called in Japan: Gūfii to Makkusu - Kaizoku Shima no Daibōken.
Having come out months after the show ended, Goof Troop was first released for the SNES in 1993 for America, and this is one of those rare occasions where the West got a game before Japan did.  It was only in 1994, a year later, that the gamers of the Land of the Rising Sun would get to experience this game on the Super Famicom, and more; see, not only did Capcom release the game but they also developed more into it.  That's right!  This isn't one of those games where Japan got it first and had everything; this is one of those games where the Japanese joined the party afterward and got the most out of it.  Now what could Capcom have included that they did not have the first time around for the American release?  More on that as we delve in.
One day Goofy and his son Max decide to fish out in the open sea because,... fishing is fun?  Anyway, while the two are supposedly bonding and having a good time their neighbors Pete and his son PJ look up in terror as they see the faces of the captors who would swindle them right out of their own yacht:
they've been captured by sea-faring pirates, which Goofy and Max witness before their eyes.  Being the good neighbors that they are they set out to follow the pirate ship which leads them to a very secluded island, which is also packed with pirates and beasties laying about.  They will face any obstacle and stop at nothing to save Pete and PJ in this father-son adventure.
This was the first SFC/SNES Disney-themed Capcom game which could be played up to two players simultaneously if you did not want to do it alone.  When playing you have the option to play as Goofy or Max, or if you were playing with a friend you could decide whether to take the lead as either character.  It's part of the fun.  =)  And if you haven't played the game but still have doubts about it aspiring to be like the aforementioned adventure game after reading up to this point, the third stage takes place in a castle of all places!  And if that's not enough proof, than this is:
This game is modeled after The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past<=D  I never would've guessed!  <=)

"Outta my way!"
Gameplay-wise, it's a little like the third Zelda.  Goofy and Max can move in all eight directions, pick up items, use said items, and even throw objects towards enemies.  The controls are the same for both characters, but their stats and characteristics slightly differ.  Goofy, being the tall and lean one of the two, walks slowly but more than makes up for that with his strength as any time that he throws objects towards them all it takes is one hit; Max, being the youngest, is the weakest of the group (most enemies take two hits to dispose of for him) but more than makes up for that setback with his quick speed (unless he's carrying a heavy object).  I think it's quite nice that the two characters have different strengths and weakness, for if the game is being played with two players one's strengths will completely make up for the others' weaknesses.  They can even raise or lower their arms, the former being necessary should a barrel or a bomb fall on Goofy or Max's hands.

At least there's actual ice in this cavern (portion),
unlike in Arcana's ice dungeon
Unlike A Link to the Past the screen does not continually scroll, for throughout the game you'll be partaking in a series of stationary screens.  And should you step to the next screen it won't scroll towards the direction you went like it does in most Zelda games, but instead will fade from the previous screen to the next one.  Thorough investigation is a mandatory requirement in order to proceed forward in some places.  In the game you'll be finding items that will be of very good use to you, such as grappling hooks, bells, keys, candles, and shovels.  The thing about Gūfii to Makkusu?  Only two special items can be carried at a time!  But if you were to play with a friend?  Two would still be the limit, only each player can only carry one item at a time.

Puzzles aplenty pop up every now and then
It may seem like it sounds very restricting and very limited to only carry that amount of items, but it's not so much a big issue as you'll find out later on.  Some pathways will be blocked by locked doors which can only be opened with a key, and later on you'll find yourself inside dark rooms where candles are your source of major light (unless you feel confident walking the dark rooms without it).  Bells can be used to distract the pirates, grappling hooks can be used to stun and push back pirates as well as connecting one hook to another (including reaching items from afar); and if you feel lucky about getting cherries (one heart), bananas (two hearts), rubies (one life), and diamonds (one continue) quick and easy you can dig the dirt with your shovel (so long as you position yourself properly for the situation).  Some moments will require that you trade an item with the one on the ground in order to get further (sometimes you'll have to abandon a grappling hook to get a key, for example); but don't worry, the items on the ground won't go anywhere for they can be picked up at any time.

Now that's the way to go
Sometimes there will be paths that will be blocked unless you solve the puzzle, mostly requiring that all the empty slots with stars on top of them be filled with blocks (think of it as sort of like Sōkoban, except instead of pushing you kick instead).  The main thing to keep in mind whenever you're in these rooms is that they can only be sent ahead of the direction your kicking, and if you fail to solve it you can always reset the room by leaving and then reentering it.  Some solutions are simple while others may require a bit of thought and observation in order properly solve them.  And if there aren't a sufficient amount of star blocks, you can always use the explosive blocks which will start detonating the moment that you kick them (if it's red it means you have a short time before it blows up; if it's green or yellow you have some time).

Quickly, indigenous villagers who've come
out spontaneously all of a sudden; help me
defeat this fire-breathing maniac
The visuals are really good, for they've got a nice amount of polish and charm throughout the package.  One thing you could always expect from Capcom's games was for them to be pleasing to the eyes, and Gūfii to Makkusu is no exception.  =)  Even though they're just a series of solid screens they each have got their own set of details and the color-selection is fitting to boot.  The texture for the foliage is neat yet effective (and in the first stage some fish will jump out), as well as the dirt that you shovel through.  Two of my favorite areas take place in the castle and the cave; the castle because it's unlike anything else that you see throughout the game and the richness of its detail gives it an appropriately haunting look, and the cave because some segments actually change look the more you get into it (aside from color, of course).  One moment in the cave you might be in a lava-tinged room while the next you may be perusing a room where it's chilling and has got an icy floor that sparkles.  =)

No lie, but anytime I reach this segment of
the game I'm always reminded of Mole Mania;
maybe it's the fact that it involves digging  =<
The cutscenes are nice to look at, and I like how the images have got a neat treasure-map like border surrounding it, it's succinct.  Capcom did an especially good job capturing the designs of Goofy, Max, Pete, and PJ from Goof Troop, although I think they may have forgotten that Goofy doesn't wear a vest in the show, but he does appear in casual Goof Troop garb in the Player Select and Password screens.  Consistency!  ;-)  Character model-wise, they're well drawn, plus Goofy and Max (despite their differing speeds) display intricately fluid animation.  The skinny and fat pirates have solid animations, but they're not just palette swaps as they do different things; the green skinny pirate will throw swords while the red skinny pirate throws barrels, and the pink fat pirate kicks blocks while the dark green fat pirate rolls ahead the moment it sees you, to name a couple of examples.

Part of the visuals' charm are the way a character or enemy may react upon getting hit.  Just watch what happens if Goofy or Max try to a kick a block the direction of the wall even though it's already close to it.  It's cute and shows character.  I also like the enemies' over-the-top expression as they're being flown offscreen, and some of the bosses' look upon being defeated are priceless.  XD  Speaking of which, they're also well-designed; like the crazy bulked out animal who tries to attack you with fire, a pair of giant centipedes/millipedes, and even a twin set of skeletons attempting to take you down by any means.  It's not just pirates that you'll be contending with along your journey, for you'll also be dealing with sentient cannons, bats, ghosts, cursed armor, and even bees among them.

I've got a bone to pick with these guys
How do I put this?  *inhales* *sighs* ............  I'm not a big fan of Gūfii to Makkusu's music.  =(  I just want to clarify that it's not horrible, but considering the previous Capcom-made Disney title you'd expect better.  Great visuals are a given whenever a 16-bit Capcom game is in question, but music?  That's give and take.  I guess my biggest qualm with the soundtrack is that its themes are short, and I wouldn't mind that so much if the tunes weren't so bombastic in their composition.  And the annoying part is that they're easy to get stuck in your head despite being obnoxious music.  The only songs that I felt were genuinely good were the ranging ones in the cutscenes (whether it be laidback bounciness or thrilling mystery), the music that takes place inside the cave stage (I love it for its mysterious yet ambient quality, its relaxing softness, and its eerie sense of atmosphere), and the calypso music that plays during that extra conditional ending.  Everything else in this regard was just meh to me, though I did find it curious that the first boss' music was completely different from the common boss theme which also dominated the final one (when usually it's the other way around).  The sound effects are all pretty solid, and I like the flute-like sound that played whenever you or an enemy flew out of the screen.

Look out!  Giant boulders which are conveniently
rolling down and ricocheting in the direction that
I'm running to!  D8
At the end of each stage there is a boss that will be waiting to do combat with you.  If the lack of real strategy to defeat them sounds like it lacks challenge value (just throw objects at them until they're done with) then the situation which will have you be careful and move around often makes up for that.  In the battle against the twin skeletons you must throw their own bones towards them, but you have to be careful not to get damaged by their own bones that they throw or by the decapitated head which will float towards you.  In the caves you'll be facing a centipede/millipede/whatever-it-is-pede which has to be damaged from the front after rocks fall from the ceiling, and it's the only boss battle where the only other threat is falling down if you don't watch your step.  Regardless of how many hearts you have they will be gone by the time you get hit, and if you sustain damage when you do not have any hearts you'll lose a life.

"Ice try, man!"
Someone must've thought that The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse was too hard, because from Gūfii to Makkusu to Mickey & Donald: Magical Adventure 3 Capcom had implemented a password system.  The Magical Quest had to be beaten in one sitting, but considering that Capcom's Disney games are very manageable it's really nothing to worry about.  To be sure the password system is a welcome addition for those that don't feel confident in beating it in one sitting, but for the rest it won't be necessary.  On the other hand, someone must've thought that The Magical Quest was too easy because while that platformer had an unlimited set of continues, this adventure game has a small number of continues (each of which can only be gathered by collecting the cyan diamond).  Funny how things work sometimes.  =|

You know how I mentioned the change between regions earlier?  When Goof Troop was first made in 1993 it was initially made as is, which Capcom wisely decided didn't have to remain that way for the Japanese release (not too certain about Europe, though).  If you look at the guides on GameFAQs or watch the video playthroughs on YouTube, you'll notice that the solutions are the same (no sign of a guide for the Japanese version).  The American version, simply put, only had one difficulty setting; whilst the Japanese version the following year had three.  Don't believe me?  Here's proof!
Depending on the difficulty some puzzle rooms will be made either easy or hard.  The top left is Game Type 1, the top right is Game Type 2 (the version that the US cart was), and this big fellow right here is Game Type 3.  Every puzzle solution is manageable, but the ones on Game Type 3 will take a lot of time and challenge (and frustration too) to fulfill.

[Insert Goofy yell here]
So how is Gūfii to Makkusu?  For the most part, I honestly thought the game was really, really good.  =)  As a contender against Zelda I thought Capcom did a good job laying out the structure of the game, and its nonlinear nature during the course of the stages really helps flesh out the game a little.  For the majority of it I believed that the puzzles in various rooms were well-thought out, and I liked how Capcom tried to challenge gamers in certain moments (in particular with the detonating blocks).  If there's anything which prevents the game from reaching the highest point is its brevity.  By yourself depending on how you play it'll take about fifty or sixty minutes to beat it, slightly less if you played it with a friend.  Still, while it lasts it's fun, and as the only game to be based on Goof Troop, I thought it did a good job at living up to the show's name.

Switches ahoy!
It's not as great as the best the Zelda series has to offer or even as perfect as Tenchi Sōzō (Terranigma) is, but there's a lot of good in it to recommend.  The Disney charm is fully abundant, the gameplay is really fun, and visually it's a very enjoyable game to look at.  The castle stage (3) is thoroughly designed and has got secret rooms to discover, and the cave stage (4) has got several routes that help you reach your destination.  I got to play this game on my twenty-third birthday back in April 5th, and I liked it from the minute I played it; and as fun as the game is to play while you're solo, you'll actually get the most out of it when playing with another gamer.  Shortly after I got Gūfii to Makkusu I got a chance to play it alongside one of my cousins, and we both had a lot of fun playing Game Type 2.  =)

Awww, he thinks he's Bionic Captain Hook
from Ukyotei's SNES adaptation of
Hoo------WAIT!!!  O_0
As I said, though, it's not flawless as there are a few things that are holding it back; like the largely obnoxious music (the cave theme was good).  The game is short but still fun along the way, and I wasn't too bothered by the easy difficulty in the first two Game Types as there were some moments that tried to lend challenge.  The boss fights lack in real strategy but the fact that you don't have to go Rambo on them gives it a plus.  And as nice as it is to see Pete and PJ I was disappointed that Peg and Pistol did not make an appearance.  But for what I got, I thought it was really good.  I brought up the secondary extra ending (introducing the enemies and characters), but it's conditional.  Conditions being that you see it on Game Type 2, and on Game Type 1 you must beat it on one sitting without losing a continue, et al.  Would I have liked this game had I played the one difficulty setting American original?  Yeah, I probably would have, but I would have been very offput by the lack of replay value, which the Japanese version is full of.

Word of mouth was generally positive at the time of release, and a lot of gamers look kindly toward it, admitting that while it was short it was a lot of fun.  But because of the initial American version that had only one difficulty mode it didn't receive the highest of acclaim.
Out of the two Disney SFC/SNES games that Capcom made by mid-'93, The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse was received more favorably, but if I have to be honest I actually like Gūfii to Makkusu slightly more.
Both games may be very short and lacking in challenge when it comes to certain moments, but this game one-ups The Magical Quest due to the fact that its puzzle-solving rooms were thought-provoking and the fact that its ending was funny, charming, and rewarding... that, and the fact that THE GAME WASN'T A FREAKIN' DREAM!!!!!!!  >O<

As fun as it is to play this by yourself, it deserves
to be played with two people  =)
If you were curious to know how the one and only video game adaptation of Goof Troop fared, Gūfii to Makkusu - Kaizoku Shima no Daibōken is a well-developed game that's worth a look; however due to the revelation I shared I recommend you seek out the Super Famicom version of the game over the localized Super Nintendo cart.  If you wanted to see the closest a Disney game came to meeting the standards of a The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past competitor, then look no further than this one.  It's got the charm and likability you expect from a Disney game, and more.  Capcom did a very good job with this title, and if you have a friend with you, the better the experience will be.  =)
<(^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^)>
P.S. If not for the fact that an online user by the name of KingMike brought up the differences between Goof Troop and Gūfii to Makkusu - Kaizoku Shima no Daibōken in one website, I never would've considered playing the Japanese version.  Thank you.
P.S. 2 Since I brought up Arcana, I'll be giving my newest perspective on that game next.  The 9 I gave it in the past has been haunting me for years now, so I figured it was time to nip it in the bud once and for all.
P.S. 3 I hate it when few movies that were made in widescreen don't receive a proper widescreen DVD on all sides of the world, instead turning into a pan-and-scan fare for Region 1!  From what I hear, The Witches, Richard Rich's L'incantesimo del Lago (no, I'm not saying the English title), and A Goofy Movie all have widescreen DVDs preserving their theatrical aspect ratio in Europe (Region 2).  Good thing my laptop is region-free; but that doesn't excuse cropping movies here in America!  >=(  I despise pan-and-scan with a strong passion; it should be outlawed.
P.S. 4 I haven't seen the Game Grumps review of the game yet, but I really feel the need to one of these days.

P.S. 5 Resident Evil fans will recognize this as one of the first games that Shinji Mikami was involved in; several elements that appeared here would resurface in the series.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought!  I hope you have a great day, my reader, take care!  =)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land (GBA) Review

Written: October 13th-14th, 2014
(As played on Game Boy Player)
Year: 2002 | Developed by: HAL Laboratory | Published by: Nintendo
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit... plus I'm a huge Kirby fan!  =D
It's short, but in the end
a lot of fun
In 1992 a young Masahiro Sakurai created a round puffball character by the name of Kirby, and the first game he would star in would be Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy.  While it was very easy and short to a fault, it was very fun while it lasted and more than made up for those shortcomings with its enjoyable gameplay, charming characters and environment, as well as the harder second quest which can be enabled with a code.  While Kirby had most of the essentials that would resurface in the rest of his games, there was one element he had yet to receive, the main move that would become his trademark: the ability to copy abilities.  But when the game became a huge success, it was just what Kirby needed to start his series.  =)
Expanding upon the gameplay and structure
of Kirby's Dream Land, this game was a winner
That's where the next game comes in.  In 1993 HAL Laboratory expanded upon Kirby's structure and Dream Land universe and made a more thorough game with him in the process, Kirby's Adventure for the NES.  When the game got released it had been a few years since Nintendo's Super Famicom/Super Nintendo consoles debuted (they could've easily made it for the Nintendo 16-bit machine, but I guess they didn't want to totally abandon the 8-bit train just yet), and yet against all odds it too was a success, moreso than the first Kirby.  Despite having gotten made very late in the NES lifespan, there was a reason many people played it: in 1993, Kirby's Adventure was the only Kirby platformer available to be played on TV (not only that, but it was also one of the biggest NES carts ever at 6-MegaBits), so obviously people took the opportunity to try it out, and rightfully so: It's very good.  =)
And as good as Kirby's Adventure is, that wasn't the version of the game I grew up with; but since I got the opportunity to play both, I'll bring up some differences and factoids from time to time.
For the majority of the '90s Kirby had a very good run, it seemed like nothing could stop him.  The 2000's, on the other hand, had a very bumpy start.  <=|  When the lone 64-bit endeavor of the series was released it failed to meet a lot of praise, heavily splitting gamers and fans as a whole, in due part due to many gameplay aspects that deviated from Kirby's regular norm.  And since the Nintendo 64 iteration didn't do so well in public, logically the way that HAL Laboratory would make it up to everyone would be to create a new game.
Image from Wikipedia
Heh heh heh... let me rephrase that: so to make it up to the disappointed gamers and fans HAL Laboratory proceeded to create a new platformer in the series.  And what better game to tackle next than a remake of the NES classic that propelled Kirby forward?
Boooooo!!!  Boooooooo!!!!!!
Nonononono, this is actually a good remake!  =)
To the Fountain of Dreams!
While most remakes either tend to miss the point of the original, are unnecessary, or add in stuff that wasn't needed to begin with, the 2002 Game Boy Advance remake Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land not only maintained the integrity and charm of the 1993 hit (and then some) but it also improved upon the original so much that it makes for a much more enjoyable game.  It also helps that the people involved in the remake were also involved in the NES original, so the game was in very good and capable hands.  My eleventh Game Boy Advance game, I was eleven when I first played it back in late 2002 and it was a game I fell in love with when I got to experience it the first time.  <=)  But seeing as it's a remake, how does it compare to the originator?  More on that when I get there.
Outta my way!
In the planet Pop Star there was a magical fountain that ushered in many good dreams to any sleeping inhabitant of Dream Land.  The Fountain of Dreams was a wondrous thing, and it seemed that nothing could go wrong.  However one day everyone starts to become restless and they start experiencing nightmares instead; it was then discovered that King Dedede broke the Star Rod, the key piece of the fountain, into several pieces and scattered them throughout Pop Star.  Kirby, Dream Land's hero, sets off to collect the pieces and sets off to teach a lesson to the tyrannical ruler once and for all.  Of course, considering in the last game he tried to steal everyone's food, you have to wonder why and how Dedede is still a king?  Also, is it any wonder that Kirby thinks King Dedede is responsible for the nightmares considering the thing I just mentioned?  But is there more to it than it seems?
Aren't you gonna draw somethin' for me?
Kirby's Adventure was the first ever game to have Kirby copy enemies' abilities after he swallowed them whole.  Kirby's copy ability is one of the most intuitive gameplay controls ever, and there's a reason it lasted all this time: it's very fun and useful.  Kirby, a puffball, can still move, inhale enemies, duck, jump, and float indefinitely like he could last time.  But this time around Kirby can now run fast and slide, as well as climbing stairs, all of which are very useful throughout the course of the game.  You still have a health of six, but depending on the powerful enemy you swallow you may get a different power-up.  One hit is enough to knock it out of Kirby, and you can still recuperate your power-up (unless it disappears in several seconds) or you can spit the star out towards enemies.  If you don't feel that you need the ability anymore you can always press the Select button.  Gameplay-wise, the NES game is good.
Are you going to draw something for
me now?  =|
For Nightmare in Dream Land, on the other hand, gameplay-wise it's even greater.  Don't get me wrong, the controls were fast-paced in the NES original, but when it came to the Game Boy Advance remake the controls' fast pace was updated and made even more polished than the original, in my opinion.  =)  Though that may be because I'm more used to the Game Boy Advance version, but never mind.  The game is separated into worlds, and in each world is a door that will either lead to a stage, a bonus game, a free ability room, an arena door, a door to and from subsequent or previous worlds, a boss door, and even a transporting door where you can summon a Warp Star to send you to a world you've been in if you don't feel like taking the long route.  The hub world system is neat, and the game (both versions) automatically saves progress thanks to its built-in battery.
Uhhhh....... (={  It's not what it looks
like, folks!  Just keep moving on!
When you start each hub world the majority of it is blocked off, but the more areas that you beat the more of the world that you're in you'll be able to unfold.  Among the power-ups that Kirby can prowess after swallowing powerful enemies are Fire, Backdrop, Hi-Jump, Freeze, Parasol, Wheel, Spike, et al.  Looking back, it may seem odd that Fire and Burning (both requiring the same element), for example, are different power-ups, but considering that Kirby's Adventure was the first game where Kirby used his newfound abilities I can totally accept the seeming limitations within moves; even for the 2002 remake.  Less excusable was that said limitations were retained in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror two years later (in 2004); thank God Kirby Super Star and Kirby Squeak Squad collectively fused certain power-ups together to form one (Fire and Burning were now combined, so was Ice and Freeze, to name a couple) and would stay that way for future installments.
The soundtrack was composed by veteran HAL composers Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando, and if you've listened to their sound styles in the past you know exactly what to expect.  =)  The two have often had a fascinating style when it came to music, which always worked for the games that they composed for.  Kirby's Adventure had very great music despite the sound limitations the NES had, and many of the tunes were upbeat, catchy, and fun.  The title theme (which then segues to an intro section) is nice, the very first theme that you hear when you start gives you the exact tone that the game is off to a great adventure, and some areas are either lighthearted or mysterious.  Throw in a few laidback, relaxing themes later on and the soundtrack is good.  The boss theme is decent, but the final ones nail it; the ending is also rewarding.  I was a little disappointed to find that King Dedede's theme was not played in-game; no Kirby should have a King Dedede-less theme, it's like breaking tradition.  =(  The Game Boy Advance remake fixed that, and the remixes are very good.
I know, I know, I often rant about the Game Boy Advance having weak sound samples.  Well,... they still do, at least when it comes to SFC/SNES to GBA transitions (despite the fact that the handheld has twice the power of the Nintendo 16-bit console), but since this was a remake of an NES game (and not a downsized port of a 16-bit classic), I didn't mind that so much... for the most part anyway.
What time is it?  It's HAMMER TIME!!!
The Game Boy Advance doesn't exactly have the greatest sound samples in the world (the volume is still low and comes across as tinny), but when push comes to shove they can have decent audio.  And because the GBA was also capable of further instrumentation (including ones that the NES original could not be able to do), why not?  The handheld instrumentation could now handle stringed and instrumental orchestration, and despite that the lighthearted catchiness was remained intact.  I'm not lying when I say that the GBA remake's version of King Dedede's theme is very epic and beautiful what with the horns and the pounding drums.  =)  Sound effects are slightly better quality and volume-wise, and Kirby now has a soundbyte whenever he gets hit (at least that's how I hear it anyway).
The scrolling towers are some of the best
visuals of the game  =)
One of the many opportunities of making a game incredibly late into the console's lifespan for a developer is to test out and tweak through all the technical limitations to see how much it can be capable of, and HAL Laboratory succeeded... if you can the ignore the common border on the left side of the screen (like most games available on the Nintendo 8-bit console had), for NES standards Kirby's Adventure looks exceptionally great.  The colors are well-chosen, the character and enemy animations are very decent, and each area has got a neat surprise for you, visual-wise.  In the third world, for example, there are few areas where the tower scrolls as you move, and for 8-bit standards it's incredible (it's a shame the GBA remake could not have those moments of brilliance and instead be a stationary screen with or without fog preceding it).  Another gorgeous aspect of the visuals are the Northern Lights in one single area (simple though they may be), and I am a sucker for the Aurora Borealis at night in video games.  =D
And so Ball Kirby was born... a bit of an
afterthought considering Kirby was already
ball-shaped, ain't it?  =\
Some areas look simple while others have got a very interesting décor going for them.  While there isn't much line scrolling (except during the final boss encounter) the backgrounds impress in the way that they're presented.  Some outdoor areas will either have clear skies, cloudy skies, or even starry skies.  There is a power-up that will enable you to light up a room, but prior to that it's pitch black with the enemies darkened; now that's going the extra mile for the NES.  Kirby, no longer white like in Kirby's Dream Land, is now pink (appropriately so) and this time his character sprites were polished, he now has a swimming and water blowing animation, and he's been given rosy cheeks.  He changes color depending on what power-up you have, and some of the enemy roster is different than in the remake (the big round turtle has been replaced by a round elephant-like creature for instance).  Even Meta Knight makes his debut here, though he looks very different compared to how he is now.
Dude, I told Waddle Dee to leave me
alone!  That's okay, he'll get the point
soon enough
Speaking of the Game Boy Advance remake, the visuals were revamped and Kirby and gang were given more polished and smoother animations this time around.  The backdrops were given a smooth watercolor look, and because the GBA could handle more colors it's much more colorful than the NES classic as a result.  For the first time since Kirby Super Star Kirby has been wearing hats anytime he swallowed and stole a powerful enemy's prowess (though he still changes color sometimes).  One thing that's very apparent when playing both games is the size of the bosses; in the NES version they were at least a tiny bit or more taller than Kirby while in the GBA version they were huge and took up more space than before (especially Kracko and King Dedede).  It's a bit jarring at first, but nothing too distracting.  =)  The remake also had zero slowdown and a smoother frame-rate while the NES classic had a bit of slowdown sometimes and had for the most part a solid frame-rate.
If you wanted to take a break from the game there are optional bonus games you can play when you enter specific doors.  Both versions had three, but I'll go over the GBA remake's first.
In this mini-game you face three differently-colored Kirbies as you race against them on spiraling rails.  You must hold down the button up until you reach a spiked section, but should you resume holding the button at just the right moment, you'll notice a "Good!" or a "Great!" granting you acceleration.
In this mini-game you must pass an ignited bomb around with a paddle to the other Kirbies.  They will try to pass either on one side or another, and if any of the other Kirbies get hit a Ball enemy will replace them.  The lowest difficulty takes things slow while the highest difficulty rapidly accelerates the flow, meaning you must time your passes right in order to survive.
In Samurai Kirby there is a sparring competition to see who gets the first hit.  There are five different opponents, and it's one of those instinct games.  The moment the timer starts and you see the exclamation points in the middle you must strike before your opponent gets the opportunity, in particular when battling King Dedede and Meta Knight later on.  If it looks familiar to you, it should.
It's lifted directly from Kirby Super Star (albeit with different angles and different amounts of visual flair).  Still, it's a welcome mini-game regardless.  =)  Although, out of the three mini-games that were altered from Kirby's Adventure, this is the one that comes close to being similar.
In the NES game there is a shoot-out game that shares the same twitch mechanic, only instead of taking place in an oriental landscape this transpires in the middle of the desert in a clearly Western setting, and as opposed to using traditional oriental weaponry you use punch guns here.
The next mini-game grants you two chances to get a life, provided you get the pink Kirby with the claw inside a claw machine and successfully drop him into the chute.
And lastly there is an egg-related mini-game where King Dedede will swiftly throw at you a series of eggs, but beware for he'll also chuck out some bombs at you as well.  It's all over when Kirby either swallows most or all eggs or if he accidentally swallows a bomb.  The more eggs you get the bigger the reward.
Meta Knight: "Attack!"
While Kirby's Adventure and Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land are much longer than Kirby's Dream Land, there is one aspect that's very bothersome to me: area length.  Considering the fast and responsive gameplay and intuitiveness of the control scheme, it really disappoints me how incredibly short the areas are.  =(  It's a bit sad when you can get into the area that you're in only for it to end before you know it.  The first batch of areas are seriously short, but it's not without its set of obstacles: the enemies.  In some hub worlds there are some areas which can only be accessed by finding a secret door that leads to a switch, and a lot of the time it requires that you hold onto a certain power-up in order to access it (like Fire to light a cannon, or Hammer to pound large stumps).  If you combat a powerful enemy in the arena and defeat it, you'll not only be granted its prowess (should you accept it) but will also receive a Maxim tomato to refill your whole health.
One of the greatest homages ever  =)
From time to time you'll come across health power-ups, like the bottle and the Maxim tomato to replenish your health (should you be low on it).  On rare occasions you'll get an Invincibility Candy which will render you invincible for a small period of time.  Each boss fight has their own pattern, but admittedly it's easier to take them out with a specific power-up.  If you manage to not only beat every accessible room but unlock and beat secret rooms as well you'll get a 100%, and if you succeed on that you'll be given the opportunity to check out Extra mode, which about makes up for the brevity issue.
Rollin', rollin', rollin'
Extra mode is the exact same as Normal,... only your health has been cut in half.  That's right; instead of going around with a health of six you must survive with a health of three.  Adds a bit of challenge to the proceedings if you ask me.  Even so it's still manageable, but that's not to say there aren't fun moments in the areas, there definitely are.  For example when you're a wheel you can zig zag up and down diagonal paths and even ride over certain gaps if the moment calls for it.  Trying to get to the cannon as fast as you can before the fire fully reaches it can get exciting, and from time to time you find yourself in certain situations where Meta Knight summons his backup to take you down.  It's still an incredibly fun game, but it could've done better with a bit more length to it.  Getting 100% on Normal will you grant you a boss endurance on both versions, but on Extra it's different.
Meta Knight, always the badass!  X)
By 100%ing Extra on Kirby's Adventure you'll gain access to the sound test, but should you do it on Nightmare in Dream Land you'll unlock a mini-game where you play through the majority of the game as Meta Knight.  It won't save your progress, but it will save how long it took you to get to the end (even if you get game overs).  Meta Knight has a health of three, but that's okay since he's got more versatility in his sword than Kirby does here.  He can slice and dice, he can stab upward and he can lunge downward.  It's a bit of a tricky venture since his only means of attacking is with a sword (especially since he runs hyper fast), but he can also glide indefinitely whenever you flap his wings.  Should take about ninety minutes or far less if you're really good or depending on how you pull it off.
I simply adore these cutscenes
I first found out about Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land in a small ad for a small Disney pamphlet (which I sadly no longer own), and at the time I was mindblown over the screenshots that I saw.  I thought "Oh my God, I must play this game!"  And sure enough, in November of 2002 I got to experience it, and it quickly became one of my favorites.  =)  For the longest time the only Kirby platformer I played right up until then was Kirby's Dream Land 2, but with this game I was instantly sold thanks to the responsive and fast-paced gameplay, as well as a chance to witness one of the most colorful GBA games of 2002.  Simply put, if you've ever wondered what game made me fall in love with and want to try all the rest of the games of the series, this game is what made me into the Kirby fan that I am today, and it's always a blast whenever I play it.  =)
Seeing the differences between versions was
really something
In January 2014 I got to download the NES original Kirby's Adventure on the Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console, as I wanted to experience the way the game was like back in 8-bit form.  For the most part the area designs are the same, and while there are a few differences (like the Level 1 title card with the sword fight), it's still nice regardless.  I've often heard of the rotating towers segment prior to playing it, and when I saw it in motion it was just incredible.  It was interesting to see which of the few bosses got replaced in the handheld remake as well as the exclusive mini-games.  Seeing Meta Knight in his 1993 self was intriguing, and I find it cool how far he's come since then.  In fact, Meta Knight found relevance again in the series (after not having been seen since Kirby Super Star) not only in the remake but when it came to the anime as well, and since then he would stay a regular in the games.
Awww, he thinks he's an ice climber  <=)
In said ad that I brought up there were the characters from the show Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, like Escargoon, Fumu (Tiff), and Bun (Tuff), but none of them were in the game and were just a way to advertise the show which would've come out at the same time as the game in America.  I was only interested in the game, but in the few moments that I saw episodes of the show on the Fox channel on Saturday mornings (out of mere curiosity) I thought, "Ehhh".  Eventually I found out that 4Kids gyped American audiences by dumbing down the show from the original anime Hoshi no Kābī with their usual tropes such as changing the music, altering the pitch of specific characters' voices, turning genuinely emotional moments into jokes, and removing all English wording when it came to signs or books.  That Americanization seriously makes me upset, so when I saw the original Japanese version's episodes on YouTube years back I was much more pleased than I was when I saw the American dub.  It is a bit silly at times, but when moments call for it, the anime works.  =)
Burning through
There is a funny story when it came to Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land.  For the longest time, I think since I was much younger I was a bit of a completionist when it came to games (which meant I tried my hardest to get everything or at least 100% it, if not slightly more).  So I was very close to completing the game when I was younger, but there was only one door that had yet to turn yellow; it's red if you didn't find the switch.  It was very late in the game, the area that paid homage to Kirby's Dream Land, and I seriously wanted to know no matter how hard I tried what kept me from that 100%.  So after years of trying I looked up a guide, and when I found the answer I was like: "Ohhhh!"  The crescent moon was a door, how could I have not seen that?  XD  So now anytime a Kirby game had an area with a crescent moon I know it's more than just a moon.  It's really clever; though I feel a bit sheepish for not having realized that on my own.
Reach for the stars
Kirby's Adventure is a really good game which helped Kirby propel to new heights, but if I must be honest I actually prefer the Game Boy Advance remake.  Largely because I grew up with it and have the most fondness for it, but it's not to say that the NES classic wasn't worth playing, it definitely was; it's just compared to the GBA version the NES original doesn't feel quite as smooth.  But regardless of the version, my only real problem was that even with a longer world-span its areas were very short; which makes the game at least an hour or two long (depending on whether you 100% or don't lose many lives).  At the very least the Extra mode gives it all the replay value, and while it lasts it's very enjoyable.
One of the most beautiful set-ups for
the battle against King Dedede ever!
If for some reason you have not gotten a chance to play the game, whether it be the NES version or the GBA remake, what are you waiting for?!?  If you're a Kirby aficionado like myself then you owe it to yourself to play this game.  If you can overlook the brief length and focus more on the fun value you'll have a very great time.  =)  If you want to see the impressive rotating towers you'll have to get the NES version; if you want to see a neat watercolor look to the whole package, then the GBA remake will provide.  It's very cute, but that's okay, that's part of Kirby's charm.  Kirby's Adventure was the game that forever cemented Kirby's role as a platforming hero, which I'm glad about.  But the Game Boy Advance remake Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land will always hold a place in my heart as the game that made me a fan.  =)
Kirby's Adventure:
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land:
<(^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^)>
P.S. As much as I don't like 4Kids' dub of Hoshi no Kābī, Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, I must admit that I do like the font used for "Kirby".
P.S. 2 I should probably review Kirby: Triple Deluxe, but I figured I'd hold that off until after I review Yoshi's New Island... which I fear is going to happen before the year is done.
P.S. 3 So I did see Annabelle, and as a prequel to The Conjuring I thought it was okay.  Definitely a step up from Insidious: Chapter 2, I can say that much.  Speaking of which, the sequel to The Conjuring is coming next October, yay!  =D  The sequel to both Insidious movies, Chapter 3, is coming out in May.  Um,... yay?  =|  Not really?  Also coming out in the Summer of 2015 is the remake to The Poltergeist, which I'm not looking forward to for obvious reasons.
P.S. 4 Just to throw it out there, I also saw Dracula Untold, which I did not hate like a lot of people did; I actually quite liked it.  But just because I liked it doesn't mean that I'm not blind to its flaws, like the PG-13 rating and much of what happens during the third act.  Any time movies like these come out I hope the eventual Blu-Ray/DVD release will provide an Unrated cut, like it did for World War Z last year.  As the title character I thought Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit movie trilogy) was a great choice.  Again, I understand why people are hard toward it, to each their own.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!  I hope you have a great day, take care!  =D