Revisiting the Arena

I work nights now, and have two fifteen-minute breaks and one hour-long meal break dividing my shift. However, I can’t really eat at night for whatever reason, and I’m not really in any shape to be wandering around during those periods. So, instead, I’ve been bringing my DS and filling that empty time with gaming while I rest my feet.

Most of the games I’ve bought for DS recently have been RPGs, but they’re not suited for play in brief spurts. I tried playing Glory of Heracles at first but the encounter rate was just too frequent for me to make appreciable progress before I had to get back to work. So, instead, I swapped it out for Kirby Super Star Ultra, which is one of my favorite games, but one I hadn’t touched in quite a while.

Kirby Super Star is divided up into a bunch of different subgames, and everyone has their own favorite. Most people seem to prefer the nonlinear treasure hunt of The Great Cave Offensive, the timed action stages of The Return of Meta-Knight, or the versatile toolbox of Milky Way Wishes. I, however, am drawn disproportionately towards The Arena, which is the boss rush; in fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Kirby Super Star would still be one of my favorite games if The Arena was the only game on the cart. The Arena is particularly well-suited to short spurts of play, though, because even the longest runs shouldn’t take more than twelve minutes or so.

The reason I like The Arena so much is that it’s the only part of the game that truly tests you for mastery. You can plow through the rest of the subgames with just about anything — like most Kirby games, the gameplay is forgiving enough that you can win just by barreling through the levels with minimal regard for your safety. Kirby Super Star, however, gives you many more tools than you need to beat the levels — each of the twenty or so powers in the game is almost its own unique character, with its own selection of moves and battle plan. These are entirely superfluous in the main games, which you can beat by taking whatever the game gives you and spamming the best attacks… but in The Arena, that added flexibility becomes vital.

It’s no exaggeration to say that you don’t really get a firm grasp on what all the individual powers can do until you put them through their paces in The Arena. The strengths and weaknesses you’d barely notice in normal play suddenly become crucially important. I don’t know if it was intentional or not (I doubt it, but you never know), but almost every single boss in the game is a problem for some power or other, and each power plays through differently. Even the most straightforward, mindless power in the game, Bomb, finds itself tripped up by low ceilings, and low and behold, there’s a boss (Lololo & Lalala) that features just that. Learning the attack patterns is important, but learning your chosen power’s capabilities is more important still.

I should do some writeups on the various powers in the game. Stay tuned!


2 Responses to “Revisiting the Arena”

  1. 1 williamronayne April 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Bravesword,

    I’m in the same boat as you in regards to the amount of play time I have for games. I also have a DS, and I bought RPG’s for them, but you’re right in saying they’re not very good in short bursts. The game I always went back to was FF7 since I can now play it on my PSP; until the Playstation Network went down.

    Here’s to Nostalgia.

  2. 2 Master Knight DH May 3, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Stay tuned on my channel since you’re talking Kirby Super Star. Just know that Stone is broken for simple completion. (Good time, though? Good luck with that.)

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