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Kirby 64 Preview

Publisher - Nintendo
Developer - HAL Laboratories
Platform - N64
Release Date - June 1999
Type - Action

Kirby has appeared on many a Super NES and Game Boy in the past couple years, and he may be the most peculiar character of Shigero Miyamoto yet. Kirby's Air Ride (still a working title), is set to arrive on N64, but it's still a mystery as to when. And, in what form.

Most like a pink cream puff, but more amorphous, this animated, fluffy creature can swallow almost anything that gets in its way, and devours things twice its size with out a blink, absorbing that creature's powers. That's been the case in previous games, anyway. It seems as if Kirby's Air Ride will take on a different aspect, or rather, may do so. The game has been in development for a little over two years, and we've seen pictures of it in strikingly different forms. (Compare our early screen-shot with the later ones, the earlier ones have the early cap logo, and these came from a videotape from the 1995 Shoshinkai show.

Originally playable at Shoshinkai in 1995, the game featured a single-player and a four-player set-up, in which players rolled around on checkerboard surfaces like giant bowlling balls (which were, in fact, Kirby all rolled up). The environment looked more like a giant Italian tablecloth with undulating surfaces and obstacles and bad guys to avoid and bonuses and power-ups to pick up.

Now, with new screen-shots appearing from Japanese magazines, the game looks much "cooler." Kirby wears a baseball backwards cap and speeds through his smooth, much more detailed courses on what looks to be a snowboard, somewhat different from Kirby games in the past. Also, this game appears to contain more adventure and exploration than previous versions.

It also appears as if Kirby may not necesarily need a snowboard to move (like in the past), The landscapes have transformed into for more rural scenes, with orange orchards, star trails, oceans, and Nintendo's knack for designing with the full extent of its color palette, especially involving multi-color, rainbow designs. Recently, another stand-by, Mario Kart 64, featured a full course called the Rainbow Course, which was beautiful from a distance, but painful to stare at for any length of time. Hopefully, Nintendo won't go overboard this time.

Nintendo, however, has kept quiet about the game, and it's still not on the the 1997 schedule of games. But, having said that, the Kyoto, Japan-based videogame company moves at its own pace, and is full of surprises. The game could be out on retail shelves for winter holiday 1997 Who knows. In any case, the game looks more accessible to gamers who are above the age of 12 (thanks, Nintendo) and looks to continue evolving. We'll have more when we can get it.