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Video Game / Kirby's Dream Land

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Kirby's Dream Land (known as Hoshi no Kirby in Japanese, meaning "Kirby of the Stars") is a 1992 Game Boy game developed by Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratory. It is the first game of the Kirby series. The story is simple: The gluttonous King Dedede and his minions have stolen all of Dream Land's food and the Sparkling Stars used to harvest it, so Kirby sets off to right these wrongdoings and get the food back.

Created and directed by a young HAL employee named Masahiro Sakurai (he was just 19 when he came up with the Kirby character), the game was deliberately designed to be short and easy to allow younger kids to get into video games without having to contend with the high difficulty that Nintendo titles were infamous for. A hidden "Extra Game" mode was also included to ramp up the difficulty for more experienced players. The venture proved to be a success, sparking the growth of one of HAL's most famous franchises.

It was also released for the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2011 and appeared in Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition in 2012. It also served as heavy inspiration for the "Spring Breeze" sub-game in Kirby Super Star for the SNES, as well as "Revenge of the King" in the Kirby Super Star Ultra remake for the Nintendo DS.note 

This game features the following tropes:

  • Acrofatic: King Dedede can move surprisingly fast for a fat penguin. Especially on Extra Game.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Mt. DeDeDe, which has elements of all four stages you have to go through in any order, before you can battle Dedede.
  • Artwork and Game Graphics Segregation:
    • Kirby's official art in the game's manual and on the US box art depicts him with small Blush Stickers consisting of two hatched lines. However, his cheeks are blank in-game (as is also the case on the Japanese box art and cartridge label), even during the game's ending, which features a close enough view of Kirby to potentially make these markings visible.
    • Bronto Burt is depicted in official art with Black Bead Eyes, whereas its sprite sports wide eyes with visible sclerae, a trait that would carry over to later games' depictions both in-game and in artwork.
    • Dizzy's official art depicts it walking on its feet; in-game, meanwhile, it only ever appears flying through the air.
    • The game's US box art depicts Gordo with a mouth, which is absent from its in-game sprite.
  • Big Bad: King Dedede. In fact, this is one of the few non-spinoff games where he actually holds the position of Final Boss.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Castle Lololo is a fortress filled to the brim with ghosts and jack-in-the-box-like enemies.
  • Blown Upward by a Blowhole: In Float Islands, Kirby takes a Warp Star that sends him right into the whale's blowhole. He's then ejected on a Solid Clouds platform, right before Kaboola's boss fight.
  • Boss Rush: Like the Mega Man series, Mt. DeDeDe is composed of rematches against the four initial bosses before King Dedede himself. Unlike Mega Man, however, there are small levels before each one.
  • Color Wash: The Super Game Boy is precoded to play this game with a pinkish-red palette by default, reflecting Kirby's pink and red color scheme. This palette remained the same in the west despite Kirby being white-skinned on the boxart, likely because a grayscale palette would be counter-intuitive to the SGB's gimmick of playing Game Boy games in color. Likewise, the Game Boy Color has a special preset palette for this game where foreground objects are pinkish-red and background objects are yellow-green.
  • Cultural Translation: In Japanese, one of the power-ups Kirby can get is the Sweet Potato. True to real life, eating it gives Kirby the hiccups, which causes him to get stuck in his inflated state and allows him to rapidly fire off air bullets. Since it was felt that non-Japanese audiences wouldn't understand this connection, Nintendo of America named it the Mint Leaf and explained that it lets Kirby defeat enemies with "minty-fresh breath" (though the sprite was unchanged, despite hardly looking like a leaf). This difference has carried over to every subsequent game that features the power-up, with 3D games giving it a distinct model for the international versions.
  • Cumulonemesis: This games introduces Kracko, a malevolent cyclopean cloud that became one of the series most recurring bosses. Other cloud enemies, the Puffs, appear solely in this game in which they fly at high speed, swoop down on Kirby and shoot bullets.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Kirby inflates himself in the ending to be bigger than Dedede's castle so he can carry it and return the food inside to the Dream Landers. However, this is explained as him drawing from the power of the Sparkling Stars, since they go into him before he does so.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After being defeated by Kirby a second time in Extra Mode, King Dedede can't even bring himself to get back up for another rematch, begins crying and ultimately gives up. He then sulks away while being followed by Kirby. This effectively paints all of his relationships with Kirby in the following games.
  • Drop the Hammer: King Dedede's weapon.
  • Dual Boss: Lololo & Lalala in the second stage, Castle Lololo, are fought simultaneously while pushing boxes across multiple doors.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Some of the items were renamed in the original localization: Superspicy Curry became Spicy Food, Sweet Potato became Mint Leaf, and Energy Drink became Pep Brew. The oddest has to be the Maxim Tomato which became a "Bag of Magic Food". While most of these renames didn't carry over to subsequent installments, the Mint Leaf stuck.
    • The setting of the game was changed from Pupupuland to Dream Land. This ended up working out in the localization's favor with the next game, which introduced prominent Dreams vs. Nightmares theming to the series.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • You can't copy abilities, dash, slide, swim, or save progress after beating a stage. It's just simple suck-and-spit attacks, and inhaling multiple enemies at once doesn't let Kirby spit a more powerful star that goes through all enemies on the screen. On top of that, King Dedede is the unambiguous Big Bad in this game rather than simply possessed or fighting Kirby due to a misunderstanding.
    • In lieu of Copy Abilities, a small set of power-ups (namely the Superspicy Curry, Mint Leaf, and Microphone) appear in the levels, which give Kirby limited-time abilities. None of the power-ups would return in the main series due to Copy Abilities making them redundant, though the Superspicy Curry appears in the Super Smash Bros. series while the Mint Leaf and Microphone appear in the Kirby Fighters series.
    • The Boss Rush in this game is a mandatory part of clearing the final level, and there are small levels before each boss. Later Kirby games would keep the Boss Rush optional and have it consist entirely of fighting bosses, with only Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Kirby and the Forgotten Land revisiting the idea of having boss refights in the main story.
    • King Dedede is the first and only boss of this game that creates stars while attacking (which are used to inhale and spit back to attack him) rather than obvious projectiles. Compare this to later Kirby games, where many bosses create stars through their attacks, even when they provide Kirby with other projectiles to inhale.
    • Western commercials and box art also depicted Kirby as white just like the typical Game Boy screen, even though Kirby was always colored pink in Japanese material since day one.note 
  • Enemy Roll Call: The Extra Game ending lists off the names of all the enemies.
  • Excuse Plot: King Dedede has stolen all of Dream Land's food and Sparkling Stars, so you gotta get them back.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: The Superspicy Curry is so spicy that eating it causes Kirby to spew fire out of his mouth.
  • Flunky Boss: Kracko summons Waddle Doos during his boss fight against him.
  • Foreshadowing: After you defeat Kracko Jr. in Bubbly Clouds, he can be seen flying off the screen. Sure enough, he returns at the end of the level as Kracko to serve as the boss.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The glove in the continue screen, for some reason, has only four fingers.
  • Friendly Enemy: After clearing Extra Game, a cutscene shows King Dedede sulking from his defeat. Kirby walks up to console him, then runs after him as he slinks away. This planted the seeds for Dedede's Anti-Villain personality, which would be further established in Kirby's Adventure. The scene is recreated in the ending of Super Star Ultra's "Revenge of the King", with the Waddle Dees consoling Dedede in place of Kirby.
  • Green Hill Zone: Green Greens is a vibrant grassland with a dense forest on the other side.
  • The Goomba: Waddle Dees are the most basic enemy encountered, and they don't do much besides charging at Kirby.
  • Guide Dang It!: While it's common knowledge nowadays, the boss fight with King Dedede was this back in the day. Unlike the other bosses, Dedede gives you no obvious attacks that you can inhale and spit back at him. To defeat him, you have to inhale the stars that briefly appear when he strikes the ground with his hammer or when he lands from a jump, and spit those back at him.
  • Hard Mode Mook: Extra Mode replaces the mooks and bosses with stronger counterparts of themselves, such as Bronto Burts being replaced by Koozers.
  • Laughably Evil: What little we see of King Dedede in this game seems to indicate something like this. He decorates his castle with pictures of himself doing the V-Sign, and both of the endings have him behaving in a comical fashion. On normal difficulty he throws a childish temper tantrum before rushing off in a huff, and on hard he starts bawling like a baby causing Kirby to Sweat Drop with embarrassment.
  • Level in the Clouds: The second half of Float Islands and the entirety of the fourth level, Bubbly Clouds. The later area vaguely resembles a temple in the sky constructed of a mix of stone and Solid Clouds. This even extends to stage boss, Kracko, who is a living storm cloud.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Extra Game can be very punishing to unfamiliar players. All enemy damage is doubled, they move faster, some bosses have newer strategies, and the final boss moves much faster. New enemies have been added in place of some weaker enemies. Also, you can set the health and extra lives counter all the way down to one—one slip up, and it's all the way back to the title screen!
  • Oculothorax: Waddle Doo, a stronger version of the game's Goomba, Waddle Dee, have one single eye that they can fire electricity from. Kracko, the boss of Bubbly Clouds, also possesses this trait.
  • One-Hit Kill: Something that is rare for a Kirby game, touching the Gordos in Mt. DeDeDe instantly kills Kirby, regardless of how much vitality he has.
  • Palmtree Panic: Float Islands (the first half) is an archipelago of islands around the open ocean.
  • Power-Up Food:
    • The Superspicy Curry is a dish that gives Kirby the ability to spit fire for a limited time.
    • The Mint Leaf (Sweet Potato in the original Japanese version) causes Kirby to puff up and lets him rapid-fire air bullets for a limited time. Kirby gets a permanent Mint Leaf for the battle with Kaboola.
  • Power Up Motif: Two. One for the invincible Candy, another for the Mint Leaf and Superspicy Curry.
  • Shock and Awe: Kracko, a cycloptic thunder cloud boss. Also the Waddle Doos fire an electrical "Beam Whip" from their eye.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: King Dedede's castle is filled with pictures of himself, showing off his V-Sign.
  • Shout-Out: One of the enemies in the Extra Game is a ghost named Gaspar.
  • Smart Bomb:
    • The Mike item, which kills all enemies on screen. Unlike its ability counterpart in later games, it can only be used once.
    • Just before each of the bosses in Mt. DeDeDe, there is a dancing Kirby. Touching this dancing Kirby kills all enemies on the screen. This is necessary to proceed, as there is a Gordo in the doorway to the boss that can't be removed any other way.
  • Sore Loser: King Dedede. After clearing Normal Mode, he throws a violent temper tantrum and runs off in a huff. After clearing Extra Mode, though, he starts crying and gives up, sulking away while being followed by Kirby.
  • The Stinger: After beating the game normally, King Dedede is seen landing in front of the Extra Game code after getting tossed out his castle. He eventually recovers, throws a small tantrum, and runs off. Once the Extra Game is beaten, he instead lands in the same area (this time showing the Config Mode code) but can't even bring himself to get up. Kirby eventually shakes him awake and Dedede cries for a moment before sulking off in defeat.
  • Sweets of Temptation: Blopper is an enemy exclusive to Extra Mode who disguises itself as a cupcake whilst attacking Kirby. It even launches frosting which can hurt Kirby if he touches it.
  • Talking with Signs: At the end of the game, when Kirby drops down to the cheering citizens of Dream Land, he bids farewell to the player with a sign reading "bye-bye".
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Certain levels have Bomb items which, when spat out, send explosions forward that decimate all enemies in their way.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: The last section of Green Greens has Kirby scaling the inside of a giant hollow tree.
  • Unending End Card: Congratulations on beating the game. Here's a code to input on the start screen for a harder Extra Game, but you'll have to reset the system first in order to use it. Same goes for the code you get for beating Extra Game.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: The fight with the boss of Float Islands, Kaboola (later changed to Kabula in Ultra), is this. These would later go on to become a staple of the series.
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: Extra Mode (basically the hard mode) can be accessed anytime with a code, but the game itself only shows the code after you beat the main mode once.
  • Villainous Glutton: King Dedede. The plot of the game kicks off when he steals the Sparkling Stars and all of the food in Dream Land.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Kracko is this in the regular game, as he's far more mobile than any boss before him, has great attack range and can actually be difficult to hit with projectiles.
    • Whispy Woods in the Extra Game. He drops Gordos, which do three units of damage out of a maximum of six. And while he does that, you need to look for apples to shoot at him.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Whispy Woods in the Normal Mode. He's a Stationary Boss who only fights by spitting out puffs of air and dropping apples on you.


Video Example(s):



Chuckie, an enemy from the very first Kirby game, can only pop its disembodied head out of its box and move around before going back in. In the anime, however...

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