When I slid the cartridge into my Gameboy to refresh my memory on this game, I was immediately taken back to when I bought the game. It was shortly after the game came out and either I saved up my money for months or my parents knew how much I wanted the game and decided to get it for me. Either way, we went to the store and got the last copy. I was the luckiest person alive. And then I got to Kracko and it all kind of went downhill. Up yours, Kracko.
Kirby’s Dreamland 2 came out two years after Kirby’s Adventure and it very much follows the style of its predecessor. From the world ‘hubs’ to the gameplay, Dreamland 2 is essentially a more polished Kirby’s Adventure (although we wouldn’t get a true remake until Nightmare in Dreamland on the GBA). A lot of familiar abilities come back from Kirby’s Adventure (like Cutter and Ice), but due to the size of the game, we only have a handful to play with this time around. This probably works for the best, though. I mean… as much as I love Hi-Jump from Kirby’s Adventure, it was pretty useless, as were some of the others. At least in this one, Spike is the only ‘bad’ ability as far as I’m concerned.
For all the similarities, though, Kirby’s Dreamland 2 brought a huge change to the series: Animal friends. Rick the hamster, who gives Kirby a speed boost and fuzzy-footed stability on ice. Coo the Owl, who defies harsh winds and – thanks to freeing up Kirby’s lungs – allows him to inhale while flying. Kine the Ocean Sunfish, who allows Kirby to swim much more easily and inhale underwater. These three characters brought so much variety and can completely change how you approach levels and bosses.
They also brought about a prototype of the ability combinations from Kirby 64; each ability can be used with an animal buddy for different and interesting effects. For instance, Burning turns Rick into a fire-breathing hamster, Coo (and Kirby) into a feathered meteor that crashes down on enemies, and Kine into a giant forward-shooting fireball. Oh, and Gooey makes his first appearance here, but we’ll talk about him later.
The game also introduced the collectables and true boss mechanics that have become pretty much a staple for Kirby games. In order to fight the final boss, Kirby needs to collect Rainbow Drops scattered throughout the levels in order to reforge the Rainbow Sword to free a possessed Dedede from the control of Dark Matter. The collectables would show up the majority of the main series.
I hate to say this, but Kirby’s Dreamland 2 is the one Kirby game (in the main series and not counting remakes!) that I’ve never beaten. I’ve always tried, but Kracko continued his role of being the one boss I have trouble with. I’d have to say that this was probably the hardest Kirby game. It doesn’t have the safer mechanics of Kirby Super Star, like blocking or having an AI or human partner, and enemies come from out of nowhere a lot of the time. Despite the difficulty, it never seemed unfair to me (except for Kracko). While it’s certainly not my favorite Kirby game, it’s definitely one that I will never stop loving.