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Kirby's Dreamland 3 - November 30, '00 by Dorsola
Game:Kirby's Dreamland 3Company:Nintendo
Type:PlatformPlayers:1

In 1997, even after the release of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo was still making games for the SNES. I've noticed that many of their later SNES games are actually quite good, and this one is no exception. Kirby's Dreamland 3, made by Haltek Labs for the big N, is the most artistic game I've seen yet, providing some brilliant (and very cute!) graphics, rather nice music, interesting and entertaining gameplay and characters, and even a decent plot. This game is very much like Yoshi's Island in its style, but fortunately doesn't suffer from being so cute and sweet that it could send you to the dentist.
You control Kirby, a small pink "thing" (I'm not sure exactly what he is) that possesses the ability to inhale virtually anything his own size, swallow it and assimilate its unique abilities, and/or spit it out and destroy things around him. Your world, "Pop Star", has been invaded and possessed by the evil Dark Matter, who now controls most of the world and manipulates even your king into doing its evil deeds. You and a collection of friends must defeat it and restore peace and happiness to the world through a series of tasks, collecting heart-stars along the way.
Each level offers a unique challenge - something that must be accomplished, and the task isn't always immediately obvious. You may find yourself needing to redo a level multiple times in order to complete its goal so that you can collect your heart-star for it - without a heart-star from all 30 levels, you will be unable to defeat Dark Matter! To help you along the way, you have six friends, each with their own unique abilities and interactions with Kirby. For instance, one of your friends is a cat named Nago, who can jump three times consecutively in mid-air and can use you as a large rock if you have that ability. There are 8 abilities you can pick up from your enemies, giving an impressive array of ways you can play the game and defeat your foes.
The graphics in this game are outstanding - very artistic and detailed indeed. Along the way, you'll find references to various other games, such as Super Mario Land and Super Metroid, but for the most part this game is all its own, providing rich backgrounds, highly detailed characters (and lots of them!) that retain their hand-drawn appearance, and the occasional use of a nice effect. Sound-wise, the game has a number of nice tunes (a couple of them are hard to listen to or sound like they'd benefit from being slowed down a bit), some reasonable sound effects (though not great by any means), and a nice overall presentation.
Control-wise, the only bad thing about the controls is that your characters default to walking left or right if you press in those directions once. Pushing left or right twice in a row will cause them to run - something that other platformers achieve by holding down a button. Button assignments are not changeable, so you're basically stuck with what you've got. I found the controls to be kinda confusing, so I'm marking the game down for that.
Challenge-wise, Kirby's Dreamland 3 gets high ratings. The levels themselves aren't very hard, and neither are the bosses - even the final boss is pretty predictable. But there are various secrets hidden throughout the game, and as noted before, you have to figure out a puzzle and/or beat a mini-game in order to complete your goals for each level. And if you do beat the game completely, the creators were nice enough to provide you with extra challenges! You can play a game of skill, all five of the mini-games, and play in the "Boss Butch", where you must defeat all of the bosses on a single life with no chance to heal yourself. This adds considerably to the Replay Value, in my opinion.
Finally, Kirby's Dreamland 3 performs very nicely in ZSNES, and presumably also in Snes9x. To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't have anything special in it in terms of hardware - no SuperFX chip to bog down emulation, etc. - it's just a well-put-together game. I enjoyed it very much, and I think you will too if you haven't played it - even if most of the other Kirby games don't live up to this one's standards.
Graphics
10
8
Sound
Play Control
6
9
Challenge
Replay Value
10
10
Performance

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2000 EmuViews