Mirrors reflecting mirrors!?

I was playing Kirby Super Star anyway, but this thread inspired me to start thinking challenges. (That’s a Something Awful thread, so if you don’t have an account and you’re reading this weeks or months down the line, it may not be viewable, but eh.) Specifically, I spent this afternoon working on a no-damage run of The Arena using only the Mirror power. No damage is a challenge that’s difficult in The Arena because of scratch damage, but Mirror’s superb guard makes it doable where it’s not (or, at best, entirely luck-based) for most other powers.

I haven’t done it yet, but I feel it’s mostly inevitable. The legwork is done — I’ve played The Arena a shitload of times with the Mirror, so there’s no need for me to learn patterns. The only stumbling blocks are a) stupid errors, like jumping into the Reactor or getting hit by the impact stars Dyna Blade kicks up, which can be smoothed out with practice; and b) Meta Knight.

Somebody mentioned in the linked thread that most challenges of “do The Arena with X” can be simplified down to “beat Meta Knight with X”, and that’s pretty much the case. (No guard + no Tomatoes challenges can be unavoidably thwarted by a bad roll against the Computer Virus, but that’s about it.) Meta Knight is by far the most difficult foe in The Arena, mostly because his swift, erratic movements make it extremely difficult to predict what he’s going to do next. Meta Knight wasn’t designed to be dodged, he was designed to be outlasted, with he and the player pummeling on each other until one of them fell. Obviously that’s incompatible with no-damage… the Mirror Guard blocks all his attacks except the telegraphed whirlwind stuff, but you take a risk every time you move to attack him, because he might just stick his sword up your ass and ruin the run. Most bosses in Kirby Super Star either tell their attacks or are slow enough that you can evade them; Meta Knight does neither, and as a result he’s the “hump” most Arena runs need to get over.

Mirror itself is a useful enough power, though… it’s not like trying to win with Wing or Wheel or something. It can dish out substantial damage and has a decent angled game, although it’s still poor in the air and can’t hit anything above it. The Mirror Guard is unbelievably useful, though, and it can kill the Computer Virus quickly enough that I don’t start zoning out and making beginner mistakes (as I occasionally do with versatile but low-damage powers like Beam or Fighter). Really, other than Meta Knight, the only problem here is that the timing on Doppelganger Split is a bit finicky (especially in small spaces), which can result in cheap hits here and there when it falls to activate as it should.

(Note that all of this is in reference to the SNES version. Mirror’s a good bit poorer in the DS version, where it’s one of the many powers that was unintentionally nerfed due to the added invincibility frames most bosses get. This really kills the effectiveness of its most powerful strategy, spamming short-range wand swipes. In addition, it’s harder for a no-damage run, since some of Meta Knight’s attacks are now undodgeable under certain circumstances.)

I’m sure I’ll nail it down eventually — this is just a matter of luck and timing. Maybe once I do, I’ll record it and upload it with some (text) commentary — one of those pseudo-Let’s Plays I speculated about a while back.

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