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Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards Review (N64)


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This evaluate initially went dwell in 2015, and we’re updating and republishing it to mark the sport’s arrival on Change as a part of the Nintendo Change On-line Growth Pack.

Like lots of Nintendo’s properties throughout the transition from the SNES to the N64, Kirby underwent a shift from a flat 2D sprite to a totally rendered polygon rendition of himself. Quite than taking Kirby down the route of Mario and Hyperlink, nevertheless, the pink mascot caught nearer to his origins — mechanically, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards controls extraordinarily equally to Kirby’s previous appearances, solely in 2.5D.

The transfer over to on-rails 3D would not come with out its points, although, as Kirby feels sluggish in comparison with his strictly 2D iterations. That is to not say that the expertise actually suffers because of this, or makes the platforming a problem, however for anybody who has performed their fair proportion of 2D Kirby platformers it takes a couple of minutes to acclimatise to the distinction, minimal although it might be.

Whereas this retains the primary framework very acquainted, with Kirby making his means from one aspect of the course to the following in typical vogue, the variations in digital camera angle and added depth offers Kirby a freshness that works surprisingly properly. Whereas the pink puff might not have undergone a metamorphosis as drastic as a few of his Nintendo counterparts, that on no account takes away from the standard of this 2000 title, with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards arguably being up there with Kirby’s extra spectacular showings.

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The two.5D visuals additionally end in Dream Land feeling like a way more fleshed-out setting right here, one thing that the previous chapters of the Kirby sequence did not convey in the identical means. Very similar to the awe that struck you upon first getting into Peach’s Fortress in Tremendous Mario 64, Kirby 64 offers the same sense of grandeur; when you’re not given the identical sense of freedom, Dream Land by no means felt so alive.

Whereas it might have didn’t be as progressive on its new 64-bit dwelling because the likes of Mario and Zelda, new options equivalent to the flexibility to mix power-ups have been welcome additions to the sequence’ acquainted gameplay. This permits Kirby to not solely devour any one of many seven out there copy talents, however to soak up and mix two, creating various hybrid power-ups and stretching the entire variety of copy talents (each singular and paired) to a powerful 35. The flexibility to mix the reappeared in Kirby Squeak Squad some six years later, making Kirby 64 each a reasonably distinctive entry within the sequence and a minor trendsetter.

Visuals may be one of many trickier topics to pretty “critique” for early polygonal video games. Let’s be sincere, some Nintendo 64 visuals do not maintain up exceedingly properly, with early 3D fashions tending to age far worse than 2D sprites. Characters and objects can seem cube-like and inflexible, textures are sometimes rudimentary to say the least, and surroundings can lack the element and inventive aptitude you’ll have gotten used to prior to now twenty years.

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That’s the reason it is so pleasantly stunning to see how properly Kirby 64 has held up, and the title stays among the best wanting that the N64 ever produced. A lot of this may be credited to the stylistic strategy the designers took — the extraordinarily stark, vibrant visuals complemented the N64’s graphical limitations completely. Kirby 64 typically borrows the “crayon” fashion visuals seen in titles like Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story to fantastic impact, giving timber and skies a wonderful scrap-booked impact. The cutscenes specifically have stood the check of time, with Dedede’s toy-like 64-bit guise being arguably far cuter and charming than his more moderen look. To not point out, making Kirby look so completely spherical is a powerful coup for the N64.

Sadly, Kirby 64 suffers from the all-too-familiar tendency of being disappointingly quick. Comprised of six worlds — every with 4 phases and a boss — you would full Kirby 64 in a matter of hours. Fortunately, as is normally the case, Kirby 64 makes up for its simplicity and minor downfalls with a kaleidoscopic aesthetic and its charmingly nice framework. The platforming is tight and as responsive as ever, and though the primary marketing campaign is responsible of being far too succinct, the builders sweetened the deal (in true Kirby vogue) by together with three minigames. Whereas not prone to preserve you coming again time and time once more, their addition is a welcome one and serves as a pleasant breather between taking part in the primary phases and offering some nice filler that rounds out the bundle as a complete.


In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, HAL Laboratory managed to maintain the core construction of what many know and love from the Kirby sequence whereas sharpening it up with a shiny, new 64-bit coat of paint for the brand new console technology. Whereas the likes of Mario and Zelda have gone on to characteristic in quite a few absolutely 3D adventures, Kirby and the Forgotten Land on Change was his first ‘correct’ 3D outing. This primary brush with the 3D visuals nonetheless stands as one of many extra distinctive entries within the sequence, then, and it is as infectiously interesting as ever. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is not with out its drawbacks, however continues to be impressively pleasurable to play to today.

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