Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Unlike a lot of other bigger series present in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kirby was not one of them to get multiple new stages, only having one. This new stage does however represent a Kirby game that hasn’t had a stage before, and combined with the new My Music feature allowed for plenty of Kirby games to be acknowledged.
The single new Kirby stage added in Brawl is Halberd from Kirby Super Star. Super Star was the third Kirby game Sakurai directed, so given what games got stages in the last two instalments, this game was clearly next in line to be a stage. This stage is specifically based on the Revenge of Meta Knight sub-game, likely chosen due to Meta Knight’s inclusion as a playable character in this game, and the vessel also plays a major role in The Subspace Emissary mode. The fight starts in the hangar of the ship, where the ship prepares to take off while a platform rises from the ground shortly after the match starts. Once the Halberd takes off, so does the platform, and most of the fight is spent on it while the ship flies by in the background. After a while the platform lands on the deck of the ship, where the Combo Cannon resides. This cannon can attack fighters by firing a slow-moving cannon ball from the sky, lock onto fighters with a crosshair and fire a giant laser, or reach out with its extendible mechanical arm. This is all pretty faithful to how the Combo Cannon worked in the original game, although the arm would try to grab Kirby rather than strike at him in the original. After a while the platform rises back up and takes off again, repeating the cycle indefinitely. The Halberd’s design is now much more detailed than in Super Star and has been radically changed from its original incarnation, which was wider, not as long, had round domes for its bridge and featured a much larger mask at the head of the ship. The Combo Cannon’s arm also had a glove on the end rather than a mechanical claw
Due to being the only Kirby stage in the game, there is a wealthy selection of songs to choose from. From Kirby Super Star itself we have both remixes of Meta Knight’s Revenge, a medley of the two level themes that played in his sub-game, and Vs. Marx, which also features Milky Way Wishes’ ending fanfare at the end. Gourmet Race was also remixed yet again, but this time with a metal cover of the song. For the first time we got a song from Kirby’s Adventure with a sitar and guitar-based remix of Butter Building, which starts with the Sparkling Stars theme and also contains a small portion of Green Greens and the Title theme of Kirby’s Dream Land. A remix of the iconic King Dedede’s Theme was added (based on the extended version that first appeared in Super Star), as well as remixes of other villain themes like the Squeak Squad Theme from Kirby: Squeak Squad and 02 Battle from Kirby 64. Speaking of enemy themes, there was also the new Boss Theme Medley, which consists of the Boss theme from Kirby’s Adventure, a brief excerpt of Kirby’s Dream Land 2‘s Boss theme, the Boss theme of Kirby Super Star, Mini-Boss theme of Kirby 64, Arena theme from Kirby’s Adventure, and lastly, the standard Boss theme of Kirby: Squeak Squad. Lastly, three songs from Sakurai’s last game Kirby Air Ride were included, one being a remix of The Legendary Air Ride Machine and other two being direct ports of Checker Knights and Frozen Hillside. One particularly odd choice included for this stage is Forest/Nature Area, ported straight from Kirby & The Amazing Mirror.
While Kirby only had one new stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the amount of Kirby games acknowledged was even greater than in Melee. The Halberd stage finally brings Kirby Super Star into the spotlight, being only present through Gourmet Race remixes and a few visual elements in the last two games. The addition of the My Music feature lead to a selection of music spanning a wide variety of games, from Kirby’s Adventure to Squeak Squad to Air Ride. Greens Greens also returned as an unlockable Melee stage. Overall, the representation of Kirby games in this instalment was pretty outstanding, especially for a series with only one new stage. Unfortunately the next pair of games wouldn’t manage as great a spread of the franchise.
Kirby Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Land
Kirby’s Dream Land 2
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
Kirby: Squeak Squad
Kirby Air Ride
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, the development of two versions of the game led to not many series getting more than one new stage. Kirby was one of the small handful of series to have a new stage in both versions of the game, whether it be due to being a larger-scale series or because Sakurai created it. However, unlike some of its fellow contemporaries, Kirby only has a single new stage in each version, rather than multiple in one.
The new stage that is exclusive to the 3DS version is Dream Land from Kirby’s Dream Land. This stage was originally planned to be a Super Mario Land stage, and the likely reason why it became Dream Land was due to the abundance of Mario stages already present in the game and Kirby not having a stage yet. Unlike previous takes on this game, this stage recreates the visuals of the original game and is even set inside a Nintendo Game Boy. The stage starts with the Game Boy logo and start-up sound briefly appearing, immediately changing the scene to Green Greens. The screen will soon scroll until it reaches the edge of a cliff, after which it will transition to any of the other levels from the game, which are Castle Lololo, Float Islands, Bubbly Clouds and Mt. Dedede. Each of these levels has two areas to fight in, and some scroll from one location to the other. All of the locations are visited before any make repeat appearances. The indicator for when the screen is about to scroll is a gloved hand pointing, which was the cursor on the Game Over screen of the original game. While this stage primarily focuses on Kirby, there are a few nods to elements of the Game Boy itself. When playing on a timed match, the battery light will start to go dim as if it’s low on power, and if you hold the L button while selecting this stage on the stage select, the screen will be black and white instead of green, a nod to its next iteration, the Game Boy Pocket. The main theme for this stage is a direct port of the original Green Greens theme, which changes to the other level themes based on what area you are currently in. Meanwhile, the alternate theme is a brand new remix of Green Greens with a much more whimsical approach.
The Wii U’s exclusive Kirby stage is The Great Cave Offensive from Kirby Super Star. As Super Star was touted as having “8 games in one!”, going back to it to have another sub-game represented isn’t that surprising. This time the sub-game chosen is The Great Cave Offensive, which was a mode where Kirby must explore a large cave system and collect any treasure he finds. As this mode was done in a Metroidvania-style rather than being divided into individual levels, this stage is absolutely massive and labyrinthine to reflect on that. Different parts of the stage are based on the four areas of the cave, the Sub-Tree, Crystal, Old Tower and Garden areas. These areas bear great resemblance to how they appeared in Super Star, with a few discrepancies. It’s worth noting that the Old Tower is grey instead of the original yellow, which is how it was coloured in the remake Kirby Super Star Ultra. Minecarts occasionally appear, which start moving if entered or left on their own for a while, damaging any fighters they collide with. These minecarts were how Kirby travelled between each area of the cave in the original game. Many elements that appeared in the maze also appear here, like rotating cannons and treasure chests that contain items. To make fights on the stage compatible with the design, the stage is littered with the lava-like Danger Zones, which instantly KO any fighter over 100% damage who makes contact with them.
This stage is home to a few new remixes, most of which are medleys. The first of these is The Great Cave Offensive, which consists of the two themes that played in the main areas of the cave, the first of which played in the Crystal and Garden areas (which itself is a remix of Green Greens) and the second being the song that played in the Sub-Tree and Old Tower areas. Butter Building got a brand new remix, but the song is actually more of a Kirby’s Adventure medley, as it also includes the themes for Vegetable Valley and Ice Cream Island. King Dedede’s Theme also got a new remix, this time with a distinctive Japanese style featuring bamboo flutes and shamisen instruments, which ends with the Life Lost fanfare before looping. The Forest/Nature Area theme from Kirby & The Amazing Mirror appeared again but this time as a remix instead of a port, and it also includes a portion of the Flame/Lava Area theme. As for directly ported tracks, Celestial Valley from Kirby Air Ride was added, as were the songs The Adventure Begins and Through the Forest both from Kirby’s Return to Dream Land. Lastly, Kirby: Triple Deluxe was acknowledged with a direct port of Floral Fields.
While those two were the only new Kirby stages in the game, they weren’t the only stages available for the series. In the Wii U version the Halberd stage from Brawl returned, and Dream Land from Smash 64 was made available for both versions as DLC later on. Included in both versions of the latter is the new Ice Cream Island remix, which is more of a medley that also includes the Boss theme, Sparkling Star theme and Kirby Dance fanfare. Some new directly ported songs were also added to the Wii U version of the stage, which include Planet Popstar from Kirby 64, Air Ride‘s version of the Forest theme from Kirby’s Adventure and The World to Win from Kirby: Triple Deluxe.
As opposed to the previous game in the series, Kirby did receive more than one new stage in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U. Neither of these two new stages focused on games that hadn’t had stages before, but they both did explore new concepts. The 3DS version is home to the first ever retro Kirby stage in Smash and focuses on all levels from the game instead of just Green Greens, setting it apart from the last two Kirby’s Dream Land stages, while in the Wii U version we had a stage that represented a non-linear Kirby level which defies a lot of conventions for stage design in the Smash series. But with both stages being from already-represented games, a trend had been brought to attention, that by this point in the series the only Kirby games that have had stages were ones directed by Masahiro Sakurai. There were two new Kirby games released on the Wii that would have made prime stage material with Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, but neither of them were present amongst the stages beyond a couple of songs from the latter. And for the 3DS version Kirby: Triple Deluxe could have made an easy new stage due to easily-imported assets, but again was only acknowledged through songs. Not many new games were represented in the music department either, with most of the new remixes being songs that had already been remixed in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. We did get some entirely new songs from Kirby’s Adventure and Super Star though, and Kirby & The Amazing Mirror received a remix instead of a direct port like last time. Overall, representation of the Kirby series in Smash 3DS/Wii U, while exploring new concepts, took a rather unfortunate step back compared to previous instalments, completely ignoring multiple new games. Here’s hoping that this problem with a lot of unacknowledged Kirby games is addressed in the future.
Kirby’s Dream Land
Kirby Super Star
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
Kirby Super Star Ultra
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land
Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Kirby Air Ride
That covers all of Kirby‘s stages in the Super Smash Bros. series and concludes Part 1 of this article. Join us again in Part 2 for the conclusion of this analysis with statistics, trivia and predictions on what we may see in the next game!
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