I think everyone reading this has heard of Kirby Super Star, the eight game masterpiece that defined Kirby, but how many people know of the later Kirby game on the same system, Kirby's Dream Land 3?
If you haven't heard of it, I don't blame you. This game was released in 1997, a time when there were brand new video game systems out, and most gamers had already made the jump from the 16-bit generation to the 32-bit. The fact it got mixed reviews from critics didn't help matters either. This game seemed destined to be lost in the jump between generations, and it was. Should you give this game be brought into the spotlight though, or should it stay in the back of the Super Nintendo library?
The first thing you'll notice in Kirby's Dream Land 3 is how nice it looks. It has pastel-like graphics that give it a whimsical, storybook-like atmosphere. This style fits the Kirby games very well, and is somewhat similar to the style of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, but more on that later.
The next thing you'll notice is that it appears to be much simpler than Kirby Super Star. The levels are less complex, Kirby keeps the same basic appearance when he gains abilities, and the graphics don't take as much advantage of the Super Nintendo's capabilities. As you continue playing though, you can see the game's complexity in other areas, such as with Kirby's allies. There's six different allies that help Kirby on his quest, including an owl, a hamster, and a fish. These allies all have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it's always good to swap from time to time. For example, Chuchu the octopus can stick to ceilings, and Kine the fish can swim faster than others.
Another area are mini missions inside the levels. These missions can range from a memorization game to finding an object for someone. You do these to get Heart-Stars, which Kirby needs to save Dream Land from the villain Dark Matter. You won't always complete these tasks on your first try, so you'll probably have to run through some levels two times to get a full 100%. The game also has multiplayer with one player being Kirby and another being the character Gooey, a black blob with a long tongue. Both play similarly and it brings some satisfying co-op gameplay to the mix. Now let's talk about the game's bosses.
This game has some well done and enjoyable, varied boss battles. These include series mainstays Wispy Woods, King Dedede, and Dark Matter plus some newcomers, like Acro the whale, a painter named Ado who is basically Adeline in Kirby 64, Pon and Con, a duo consisting of a tanuki and a kitsune, and Zero, who is just terrifying! I mean look at this thing!
Finally, let's talk about the one thing I've mention before in this review. A lot of stuff in Kirby 64 originated here. The plots of the two games are very similar, each involving Dream Land residents being controlled by Dark Matter. Also, many enemies in Kirby 64 got their start in Dream Land 3, like the black spider and the walking flame. Even the art style and level designs are very similar to those in Kirby 64, including the addition of an after-level stage where the goal is to jump to a helpful item. Heck, the Adeline and Ado battles are basically the same! Look.
So, if you like Kirby 64, you should definitely check out this one to see where lots of things got their start. Should anyone else play this though? My answer: Yes! This game is much better than many critics thought when it was released. It might not be Kirby Super Star, but it is what it's supposed to be. The final game in the Kirby's Dream Land trilogy, and it brings it to a great close. The game is a fun, enjoyable treat that shouldn't be overlooked by gamers. The original cartridge is a bit pricey now though, so if you're not a hardcore Super Nintendo or Kirby collector, you can pick this game up on the Wii Virtual Console or Kirby's Dream Collection for the Wii. Kirby's Dream Land 3 is one of the many hidden gems in the Super Nintendo library.
So, g1s, what are your thoughts on Kirby's Dream Land 3? Also, what other game do you think are hidden gems? This is Ninty64X saying goodbye and happy gaming!