As always, a friendly reminder that this post may contain spoilers.
Since today is Thanksgiving, I figured that it might be a good time to talk about my all-time favorite co-op game, which also features Nintendo’s most famous eater. Kirby Super Star was released on the SNES as a compilation of many different Kirby sub-games. It allowed the most seamless co-op that I’ve ever experienced, where the second player can be spawned off of the “current copy” ability that Kirby has. It allowed new solutions for puzzles because now you had two different characters who could work together to achieve more. Playing through this game 100% is now one of my favorite things to do at least once a year. Playing as Kirby was something I wasn’t used to until I started playing with my friends (my older brother was always Player 1) so now it’s cool to be able to take command of the situation. After all, if Kirby dies, it’s all over.
I actually had a weird experience in acquiring this game. A long time ago, I went to summer camp and met a kid who also played lots of video games. At some point in the conversation, he brought up Kirby Super Star, which was a game that I had only ever rented from Blockbuster. I wanted to relive playing the game with my brother, so I asked him if I could borrow it. He said that in return, he wanted to borrow a SNES controller, and since I had a third one, I agreed. We had planned to get our items back to each other a week later, but when that day came, he didn’t show. In fact, he stopped showing up to camp altogether. To this day I wonder if all he really wanted was a controller, or if he just forgot about the trade entirely, or if some other mysterious situation befell him (Suggest your own solution in the comments! -- EDITOR FRANK). Either way, I walked out of it with an amazing game that has a great soundtrack to boot.
The composers here are Jun Ishikawa and Dan Miyakawa, and they are masters of capturing the Kirby feeling. No matter the game, one core principle of Kirby games is to maintain a relatively quick pace. So the soundtrack matches with it, and even if it isn’t upbeat, it’s still exciting. Some of the songs from the early games are newer versions of past Kirby tunes, and they succeed in bringing back fond memories while upgrading the sound quality. The feast of music is upon us, so let’s dig in!
Green Greens is the de-facto first level theme of basically every Kirby game. The reason it’s so significant to me is because this game was the first time I had ever heard it before. I hadn’t played Kirby’s Dream Land 1 or 2, so I never had the same experience as everyone else. This song plays in the first sub-game, “Spring Breeze”, which is about Kirby going to get Dream Land’s food back from King DeDeDe. It’s a silly and simple plot, so the first level is naturally very happy and childish.
King DeDeDe’s Theme
As the final boss of “Spring Breeze”, it’s only right that King DeDeDe should have his own theme, and it’s really an exciting one. He uses the same theme that he had in Dream Land 1 and 2, although this time you get this big fight feeling. It feels like a battle with an old rival, and the reason for the arena-like music is because it takes place in a boxing ring in front of an audience of DeDeDe’s minions. The theme keeps with the attitude of Spring Breeze, so it isn’t overly serious and feels more like a contest of skill.
As an added bonus, the re-release of Kirby Super Star, “Kirby Super Star Ultra” (on the DS), featured an all new sub-game called Revenge of the King. In this, you fight your way through a harder version of Spring Breeze eventually reaching DeDeDe in his castle, awaiting a rematch with Kirby. Sporting a metal mask, a rocket powered hammer, all while fighting in a cage; DeDeDe doesn’t want the food anymore as much as he just wants to beat Kirby’s ass. His theme, Masked DeDeDe, is all about his determination and is really one of my favorite tracks from that game.
Run, Kirby, Run!
Since it’s the original version of the song, the name of this theme is usually called Gourmet Race since that’s the sub-game where you race King DeDeDe. However, I wanted to be sure I used the official name from the soundtrack. It’s a high octane theme meant to get Kirby moving faster than normal because wherever this music is used, Kirby will rely on speed. A really interesting thing about this song is that it’s actually used more in future games, but finds itself as a motif that is used more in relation to King DeDeDe instead of Kirby. Like I said, from here on out this song is known as Gourmet Race, so it’s clear why it has become more related to DeDeDe.
Trees in the Depths of the Earth
This is the first song that plays when you begin in the Great Cave Offensive sub-game. It presents a grand adventure throughout a massive and crazy cave system, finding treasure in chests on the way to getting yourself out. In that “Indiana Jones” feel, this song represents the sort of stuff you’re in for in this journey. Like the song name suggests, there’s entire forests, a castle, and so much more to find in this seemingly innocuous cave. It’s reminiscent of adventures like “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” -- I just sort of get that feeling, you know?
In a remix of the boss theme, Battle Windows is the theme of the RPG battles. Although it’s not classically turn-based like when Super Paper Mario did it, you do take “turns” attacking when the enemy drops down to the ground. It’s more humorous because you’re fighting classic monsters like witches, knights, and dragons, and you even get experience at the end for stats that mean nothing. After the stress of locating power-ups and solving different puzzles to get treasures, it’s a fun little relaxer in the Great Cave Offensive.
Meta-Knight’s Revenge (Or Halberd ~ Nightmare Warship)
This may be my favorite song on the soundtrack just because of the sheer intensity of it. Kirby songs can all be intense if they want to, but something about Meta-Knight’s Revenge always resonated with me the most. The quickness of the song is meant to match the speed at which Kirby must complete his mission of stopping Meta-Knight from conquering Dream Land. The Revenge of Meta-Knight sub-game is the only timed game in Super Star, so Meta-Knight is supposed to be presenting a real threat to Kirby, unlike anyone before it. The popularity of the song would be evidenced by countless remixes in later games, and it’s deserving of that for sure.
Because the fight itself isn’t long, I sometimes think that this theme is a little under-appreciated. The song sets up the scene perfectly: Meta-Knight, who appears to be the same species as Kirby, leaves a sword for him to pick up and begins the duel. The music is charged with Meta-Knight’s desire to battle you one-on-one, suggesting a more skilled warrior testing your abilities. Meta-Knight has clearly mastered the use of his blade, Galaxia. After you defeat him, Kirby gets on a wheelie and attempts to escape the crashing Halberd.
Imagine Meta-Knight, with wings flapping, assaulting you from the air as the timer ticks down, while you try and gun it off the airship. It’s an intense song, but with those added effects, I get white knuckles, making sure to nail all the jumps and avoid Meta-Knight’s attacks. It’s a great theme for that final rush to the end. Like the battle theme, it doesn’t play as long, but don’t underestimate how important this song was to my “Revenge of Meta-Knight” experience.
Heart of Nova
The second-to-last boss of the Milky Way Wishes sub-game is Nova, a huge clock-like comet that grants wishes. After you were convinced by Marx to try and wish that the sun and moon would stop fighting, Kirby unites the Dream Fountains on multiple worlds to summon Nova to him. Before Kirby can grant the wish, Marx appears to hijack the wish for himself, wishing to control Pop Star (Kirby’s home planet). So Kirby must go inside Nova to stop him before he can fulfill Marx’s wish.
The sounds of metal and reverberation work well here, as do the trip through Nova and the battle with his heart, which is cold and emotionless. Since Nova is just granting the wish, the theme gives off the sense that Kirby’s drive is the focus. Nova actively fighting back against Kirby isn’t the point, after all, Kirby is the hero and Nova is basically a big clock.
Continuing the tradition of having creepy and evil final bosses, Marx, in his true form, is strong and pretty insane. I think that this theme sets up a few things about the fight: Marx’s unpredictable nature and near boundless magical power and Kirby’s determination to stop Marx from being able to try something like this ever again. It’s also personal. Kirby is a pretty easy-going guy, but when it comes to matters of protecting his world, he will do it no questions asked. Add in Marx’s betrayed of Kirby, and you have someone who’s seeking out some sweet and glorious vengeance. You can hear that hopeful theme I attribute to Kirby’s attitude at 0:46 – 1:00. If I had to pick a second favorite song after Meta-Knight’s Revenge, it would be Marx’s Theme.
I can always look back fondly on Kirby Super Star, and I’m happy to know that the game has gotten the same respect from gamers all-over. It’s widely considered one of the best Kirby games of all time, doing basically everything right and innovating crazy new copy powers. The SNES days were a very good time to be a gamer, and an even better time to listen to video game music. Sadly, Kirby Super Star will be the last SNES game I cover in this post series.
So that will be it for today, and feel free to comment below on songs from Kirby Super Star that you love that I may have missed or just comment on the post itself. Either way, I’ll see you all tomorrow!
Have a happy Thanksgiving, and in the spirit of Kirby, eat lots of food!