While Kirby Super Star added some great things (such as the friendship-solidifying co-op), Kirby’s Dreamland 3 was more about taking Kirby back in a simpler direction. Fewer abilities, a handful of new animal buddies, and a horrible bleeding eyeball. Wait, what?
This was probably the most unique looking game of its time, and that’s the main reason I remember it. It was so… childish looking, and I mean that in a good way, that it’s the first thing that jumps out at you. The gameplay is simpler and some stuff got dumbed down in the process, but the art and music of this game are absolutely incredible. It’s such a lighthearted, happy game that you can’t help but smile while playing it.
It’s a bit sad that I don’t have a lot to say about this game that hasn’t already been said about Kirby’s Dreamland 2 or Kirby Super Star. They took a lot of the concepts from those two (animal buddies, co-op), but stripped them down. Although it did mark the return of collectibles, which I really enjoyed from Dreamland 2. It gave the game a bit of replay value and – in some spots – made teamwork pretty damn essential. To be perfectly honest, those two are better games. This one, however… This one’s special. It’s special because it’s genuinely frightening. That’s right, it’s time to talk about Zero.
A lot of people know that Kirby has some… particularly messed up final bosses, usually locked away behind 100% completion. Congratulations, you’ve beaten the game, now have some nightmarish horror! Well, as far as I’m concerned, nothing is worse than Zero (except for 0², but we’ll get to him next week). Just… Just look at him. In this calm, happy world of crayon sketch characters and soft colors you have a giant what-seems-to-be-eyeball who comes out of absolutely nowhere. His dark shading and less-than-sketchy appearance means that he just shouldn’t exist. Oh, did I mention that he cries blood at you for his attacks and that the eye rips out of the body for his final form and begins bleeding to death as you beat it?
Even Zero’s theme is out of place and chaotic. Sure, it still has that happy Kirby tune in the later parts; every time it shows up, though, it’s completely drowned out by that chaotic jumble of notes. That’s never happened before! That happy Kirby tune is supposed to be you succeeding and killing off the villain, it’s supposed to inspire hope! Zero isn’t having any of your hope nonsense. He overpowers it after only a few seconds. I mean, sure, you win eventually… but just because you kill an eldritch abomination doesn’t mean he’s going to stay down.
So, I have to take back what I said earlier. I don’t remember Kirby’s Dreamland 3 for the aesthetic. I remember it for Zero. For his music. For his overpowering wrongness. For the fact that he is the opposite of everything this game stood for and simply should not be.