Kirby Kirby Kirby, he’s a name you should know.  The pink puffball has been around since 1992 and has become one of Nintendo’s greatest mascots.  Since his first adventure on the Game Boy, Kirby has had several different adventures, and each game has a different gimmick to it.  Kirby 64, released in 2000, is one of his most famous games, and brought a lot new to the table in the Kirby series, but how does it hold up nowadays?

Kirby trekking through the first level, notice how he has two fire power-ups instead of one.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards requires Kirby to beat each level, collecting shards of the crystal throughout each one.  The gameplay is very solid, in fact I considered it my favorite Kirby game when I first played it.  Kirby is known for sucking up his enemies and taking their powers, and that’s still here in 64, but Kirby can now combine two different powers.  You can get really cool combinations, like lightning and cutter makes a lightsaber, bomb and rock makes dynamite, and lightning and ice makes a freaking refrigerator!   These powers are used to defeat enemies and bosses, and some combinations are meant to break barriers to get certain crystals.  This is where my first problem comes in.  There will be a barrier blocking a crystal shard that bares a certain color combination, giving away the power combination needed to break it.  I am colorblind, and often needed to use a walkthrough to learn what combination needed to break it.  It would be a lot easier for me if there was a sign with pictures of the powers needed, along with the colors, but luckily there aren’t too many barriers in the game.  The game is pretty easy, and I noticed while playing that while Kirby usually has unlimited flight, in this game he gets tired if in the air for too long.  This is understandable, as the levels aren’t as open as before and are more based on platforming, so if the flight was unlimited, the game would be broken easily.  The boss fights are very fun, and not too difficult.  The final battle is one of my favorite Kirby bosses, since you fly around shooting crystals at him.  There is a fun multiplayer mode in Kirby 64 as well.  There are a few different minigames with simple concepts that involve, racing, making your friends fall off a platform, and catching fruit.  While not super complex, the multiplayer is still memorable and fun.  Overall, the gameplay of Kirby 64 is still very fun and I have little to no qualms with it.

The awesome 2.5D graphics in full force in the Wispy Woods boss fight.

The controls are standard Kirby controls, but the first thing I noticed was that you can’t control Kirby with the analog stick on the N64 controller.  This doesn’t bother me, as I only use the D-Pad for 2D games, but I can see how this would bother some.  One issue I have with the controls is that they seem a bit laggy or sluggish.  Kirby feels kind of slow and clunky, and some of the environments don’t exactly compliment the controls.  Since the game is a bit more confined than most Kirby games, it’s easier to get hit, and the clunky controls don’t help.  The game is still relatively easy, but the clunky controls are kind of annoying, but don’t ruin the game.

The music and graphics, like most Kirby games, are fantastic.  The game is 2D, like most Kirby games, but is in a 3D world.  There are very detailed backgrounds in the game, and while the gameplay is 2D, the world is still very beautiful.  The enemy and boss models are great, and the cartoonish look helps the graphics age very well.  The music, like all Kirby games, is very upbeat and catchy.  I can still recall the tracks to specific levels in the game and hum them in my head sometimes.  The music and graphics to Kirby 64 are still great.

One of the final levels of the game.

Kirby 64 is Kirby’s sole single player adventure on the N64.  Nintendo made the one Kirby game count, and the game is still enjoyable to this day.  The graphics are great, the music is catchy, and the gameplay is super fun.  While the controls aren’t amazing, they’re tolerable.  Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has aged well.