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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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Cultural Translation: In Japanese, one of the power ups Kirby can get is a Sweet Potato, which gives Kirby the hiccups (causing him to be stuck in his inflated state) and lets him fire out air puffs rapidly. The localization changed it to be a Mint Leaf instead (even though the sprite for it hardly resembles a mint leaf), which lets Kirby defeat enemies with "minty-fresh breath".
  • 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.
  • Drop the Hammer: King Dedede's Weapon of Choice.
  • 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 did: when it reappeared in Kirby Fighters, it was given a unique model during localization.
  • 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 Big Bad in this game rather than simply possessed or fighting Kirby due to a misunderstanding.
    • 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 does this. Averted in Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra.
  • Excuse Plot: King Dedede has stolen all of Dream Land's food and Sparkling Stars, so you gotta get them back.
  • Flunky Boss: Kracko summons Waddle Doos during his boss fight against him.
  • 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 is the origin of Dedede's Anti-Villain personality, which would be further established in Kirby's Adventure. This 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.
  • 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:
    • This is the game that originally featured "Superspicy Curry", a dish that gives Kirby the ability to spit fire for a limited time and has not been seen again until the Super Smash Bros. series (from Brawl onwards) and Kirby Mass Attack.
    • Mint Leaves (Sweet Potatoes in the original Japanese version) were also another item that appeared in this game, allowing Kirby to temporarily infinitely shoot air pellets without deflating. Like the Superspicy Curry, they don't make a reappearance until Kirby: Triple Deluxe's Kirby Fighters mode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: 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.