Pre-Game of the Year: Part 4
It was the year 2000 and everyone was still getting over the whole Y2K thing and playing with their N64s. It was then that Nintendo released the next game on my list, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, which was the predecessor for this years awesome title Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Now, before the emails start getting written, I do realize that there have been a huge amount of games in the Kirby series in-between these two titles. Fact of the matter is, all of those games were made on portable platforms, which makes Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards the last full console release for Kirby.
The Nintendo 64 was a console for reinvention. It put a whole new spin on games like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. by introducing them to the third dimension. While Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has 3D sprites and it did a decent job of holding to what Kirby is all about, it certainly did little to reinvent the series. The game is still basically a 2D platformer where you play as everyone’s favorite pink puffball sucking up enemies and stealing their powers. The environment does have some 2.5D elements where occasionally the camera will round a corner while you walk to the right, but nothing to write home about.
The best thing about this N64 classic is actually the gameplay. Introduced in this game was the ability to combine the powers of the various enemies in the world to create hybrid powers. Even though there aren’t a ton of initial powers, this addition allows for the creation of over 30 abilities and makes for some fun experimentation that can be done. For example, if you take a bomb ability and combine it with fire, you get a massive bomb that wipes out everything on screen but does a little bit of damage to Kirby as well.
The game also featured a multiplayer mode involving three separate mini-games that up to four players could enjoy together. They are all reminiscent of something you might find while playing a Mario Party game and seem just kind of thrown in there for the heck of it. It’s a pretty short game with a story that sounds like a fever dream if you try to explain it to someone, but it does make for a competent platforming experience. If you missed this game, for once, I’m going to say that you should just go ahead and skip straight to Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Don’t forget to join me again next week when I’ll be revealing my final selection for Game of the Year and talk about the game that came before it!