so i actually played kirby’s dream land the day i decided to set aside f-zero GX. i suppose i was in the mood for something fluffier and easier, and so even though i’d been quite disappointed with kirby’s dream land 2 i picked the original up. part of it, i suppose, is that i was interested in seeing how they would compare since i knew the original game was before kirby had developed his now trademark “copying” ability.
i hadn’t had high hopes, but surprise, surprise, i much preferred this game to its sequel. i’m sure i’m going to be in a minority on this, but the blatant “try and die” game mechanics which really detracted from the sequel were nowhere to be seen here. to clarify what i mean: in the sequel there’s one section where the screen forces you to move to the left and you’re constantly having to choose between two paths that look equally plausible. so if a player picked randomly, on average he or she would have to waste 4 or 5 lives getting through this level. no skill involved whatsoever, just dumb chance. other sections were less blatant than this, but similarly annoying.
in contrast, in this game there’s just good, solid, old-fashioned 2D platforming. colorful characters, fun boss fights, and good gameplay mechanics. there’s no doubt that the fact the game is only four levels long limits its appeal, but the big surprise for me was that after you beat it the game provides a code to access the hard mode. the hard mode is really what elevates this game from a bit of genial distraction from a now well-established franchise to a really respectable game in its own right. the harder mode includes more aggressive enemies that take off twice as much energy and boss fights which, while featuring the same characters, are in two out of the four cases considerably different and in all of the cases definitely more challenging. continues are less forgiving as well, as you’ll have to start at the beginning of the level instead of the last screen you were on if you lose all your lives. luckily this doesn’t apply to the final boss fight. before beating the final boss you have to encounter the previous four bosses again, but fortunately if you get trounced by the final boss you don’t have to re-fight the four others. all in all a pretty worthwhile way to spend a few hours.
i’ve mentioned the great kirby site at classicgaming.gamespy.com. their page for the game is great as well. they also have a nice “gameology” and some interesting info about kirby’s creator and why he was dissatisfied with the video game industry (much of which i completely agree with). and to close here’s a link to a good FAQ at ign.
i’ve been really enjoying these straightforward game boy games. as with some other things in life, length really isn’t necessarily the biggest factor (haha). i have some more game boy games lined up, although i should probably start playing through the SNES games i’ve gotten recently. hmm …
just a quick post to mention a very cool wallpaper you can get that features maps of every level of the orig. super mario bros. you can find it on this guy’s site: ian-albert.com. cool.
that site also has a link to a super mario font (called “press start: the definitive 80’s video game font”). also cool.
i don’t know why maps are so much fun to look at, but they are. another great place to find some are at the appropriately-named vgmaps.com. w00t.
man, oh man. i finally had to set f-zero GX aside today, b/c after more than two and a half months of playing it pretty much every day i am -wiped out-. seriously, i think playing this game so much has permanently raised my blood pressure. when nintendo says “don’t blink and drive” they’re not kidding. more like “don’t breathe and drive”, ha. i don’t think any game has ever left me feeling so twitchy for such a long period of time during and afterwards. not sure that’s a good thing, but it’s def. a great game.
this morning i beat the diamond cup on master and thus unlocked the last 6 tracks, but at the moment i’m not terribly compelled to finish beating the AX cup or finish the story mode. not to mention tackling the staff ghosts (of which i’ve unlocked a few but haven’t sat down and tried to beat) or seeing all the character FMVs (which you unlock by using the character to beat any of the cups on the master level). this game really takes unlockables to the extreme: it seriously has enough unlockables and events to beat to keep you busy for a year. but as much as i loved playing the majority of it, man, i need a break!
at the time i wrote my first post about playing the game i hadn’t gotten very far into the higher levels, and those did prove to be reasonably challenging. of the four main cups the part that was the hardest (as i supposed you’d expect) was the last one (diamond) on master. i found ranking anywhere near the top 10 of that last course was pretty much impossible for me, but that may partly have had to do w/ the car i was using. i beat the first two cups using the hyper speeder, but for the other two i ended up using roger buster’s mighty hurricane (thus his place of honor at the top of this post) which gets a good top speed but accelerates much more quickly. as i got further into the game i enjoyed taking out other cars with attacks more and more also. haha. i’m not sure if it was just fatigue setting in, but i was def. bored by some of the tracks in the diamond cup, and when i played through the AX tracks i wasn’t so impressed by them either. the longer tracks in general were more boring to me which may be a big part of it.
anyway, i def. need a break, although i’m also def. looking forward to coming back to it and the others in the series at some point. i’ll prob. tackle the orig. SNES game before the N64 game though. amazon also has a listing for a 2-disc import soundtrack that has all the character songs. cool. i also heard about the f-zero anime which had some episodes aired in the US. i don’t think it made it to DVD, but i’ll def. have to track some of those down at some point. my only question is: how in the world is nintendo going to top this??
– i mentioned f-zero world, an awesome fansite at smashboards.com, before, but some other sections worth noting that it has are: a list of arcades with f-zero AX machines (it says there are only 14 in the US but it’s prob. out of date and there are prob. even less) and a succinct list of secrets. the latter page lists the staff ghosts by the times to unlock. the times to beat are 10 seconds less (listed on this FAQ at ign.com).
– the message board FAQ at ign.com has some good info. in particular, it has a listing of the machines ranked by top maximum speed.
– wikipedia has a nice section on all the character of f-zero X (which are the same as in f-zero GX) including wallpapers for all of them (800×600). sweet. according to those bios (presumably from the f-zero X instruction book) roger buster “has 3 red marks on the side of his head as a sign of how many deliveries didn’t make their destination”. awesome.
– a FAQ at ign.com describing all the character FMVs
– a FAQ at ign.com describing how to use a glitch to fly around the course. haven’t tried it, but i’ve read about it elsewhere as well.