I feel like doing another two for one review, since it’s been a while since I did my last one. Here are two games I don’t have much to talk about, but are important since they introduce two now famous Nintendo characters: Kirby and Captain Falcon. I’ll start with Kirby’s first game since I’ve talked about him in the past. Here’s Kirby’s Dreamland for the Game Boy.
Kirby’s design came from a simple circle, which was a place holder sprite at the time. However, Masahiro Sakurai, Kirby’s credited creator, later liked the little sphere once they added a face, hands and feet, so they stuck with it. I have to mention that on the box art for Kirby’s Dreamland, he’s white. This is not only because the original Gameboy didn’t feature colors, but because there were arguments at the time over what colors he should be: pink, white or yellow. Obviously pink was eventually chosen.
The choice of keeping Kirby as a circle looks better with what Kirby does best: sucking. The main game mechanic is that you must inhale enemies and either swallow them whole, or spit them out at other enemies. It’s also worth mentioning that Kirby doesn’t have a copy ability yet: that would only be established in his next game. Though it seems odd now, I think it put more of an emphasis on the platforming, which I’m glad it did, because I think it’s just great.
The plot of the game is nothing too special, and it follows the typical game formula of “blank” has stolen/kidnapped “blank” and “blank” must retrieve it/them. Here, the blanks would be filled by “King Dedede”, “All the food in Dreamland” and “Kirby”. However, this still introduced a lot of characters that time and Nintendo would not let us forget, such as Fololo, Whispy Woods and even some minor baddies like Sir Kibble and the Poppy Bros.
The simplistic plot is well suited though since this game was designed for a younger audience. This is achieved not only with the basic story and easy to master game play, but also with the audio visuals. Everything looks fantastically cute (hard to believe with a star like Kirby, eh? Haha), and the music is just all around memorable, catchy, enjoyable and still remixed and used today in certain games.
Well, that’s pretty much it for Kirby’s first game, so now let’s move onto Captain Falcon’s. Here’s F-Zero for the Super Nintendo.
For those of you who don’t know, F-Zero is a racing game. It uses the Mode 7 system, which was used in a few SNES games (like the original Super Mario Kart and Pilotwings) when the game designers needed the illusion of a 3D environment (F-Zero might even be the first game to use this). But that’s only one of the ways this game impresses you with its graphics. It’s set in the future which allowed the designers to give a really neat look to everything, and the cars’ sprites are drawn with great quality. And it almost goes without saying that the game’s music is to the same standard. The sound track in this game is amazingly fun to race along to (the Big Blue theme is my personal favorite) and even the sound design is great, like when you pass another racer, you can actually hear that “swoosh” noise that it makes. You can tell that when it came to making this game, Nintendo really put a lot of effort into it.
I pretty much already described the game play with the short line “it’s a racing game”. It’s a racing game with some well-designed tracks, but still close to a basic racing game; press A to go forward, follow the track and you win if you’re in first. There is one thing I found interesting though: you have a health bar. If you hit the sides, other racers or mines too many times, your car will explode and be disqualified from the race. Luckily, there’s a pit area on each track where you can heal, so don’t worry too much. I find this changes what could have been a boring, but well made, racing game, into something kind of exciting.
So now you know where two Nintendo big shots got their start. Kirby’s Dreamland, though a little too easy now, really set the tone for where he would go and made a good base for the series. F-Zero however, shocks me that a series came out of it because I found nothing that fantastic about it, but it is still a very well made game. Both look fantastic and have soundtracks that still stand the test of time. And sure, I could talk more about little things in each game (like the speed boosts in F-Zero or Kirby’s floating ability) but I think you get the picture. I give Kirby’s Dreamland for the Game Boy 8 and F-Zero for the Super Nintendo 7.5 levels out of 10.