Dark Mind

        The Kirby series, on face value, appears to be idyllic and whimsical, like a cartoon for little kids. Your enemies are cute monsters with simple designs. You’re playing as an adorable pink puffball and the gameplay is incredibly simplistic. There are pitfalls, but they’re nothing to worry about when you can fly. Enemies aren’t so tough when you can… eat… them? Okay, maybe it’s not so lighthearted.
        And this really begins to show when it comes time for the final boss. They’re always some terrifying monster that distinctly clashes with the setting, whether it is the dream demon Nightmare, or the eldritch eyeball Zero. (Who, by the way, creates minions that possess people and deform their bodies to get an edge in combat, like growing giant mouths in their stomachs!)
        So needless to say, the entire Kirby franchise is a big lesson in not judging things from how they initially appear. Even outside that particular situation, there’s the cute looking Marx, a jester-like fellow who tells you how to save the world by summoning a wish granting machine… only to then use the machine to conquer the world.
        Yeah, you really shouldn’t trust anything. And what better game to show that than one about mirrors? Kirby and the Amazing Mirror actually doesn’t take place in Popstar, Kirby’s homeworld, but rather the Mirror World, a parallel realm that very literally mirrors many of the enemies and locations of Popstar. The plot here is that some entity is corrupting the Mirror World with their power, which also spells doom for Popstar.
        An evil version of Meta Knight appears, trapping the original, as well as shattering the central mirror of Mirror World, allowing the evil force to keep working without risk of being interfered with. Naturally though, Kirby managed to collect the mirror shards and jumps through the glass to face off with whatever evil is inside. First he runs into Dark Meta Knight, who the original quickly exposes for a impostor, and Kirby goes into battle.
        After that skirmish, Kirby must face Dark Mind, the true villain of the game, who sucks Kirby into a portal to his domain as soon as Dark Meta Knight is beaten. Interestingly, his design resembles that of Nightmare, with his cape and figure, and Zero, with the eyeball in his chest. Perhaps he’s supposed to be a mirror version of one of them? Both? Well, it’s a mirror realm, there’s no telling what shenanigans lead to Dark Mind appearing the way he does.
        The real Meta Knight manages to throw in his sword before the portal to Dark Mind closes. This ‘Master’ ability the sword grants is easily one of the best, if not the best, in the game. It acts like the regular sword ability but does more damage, fires out energy blasts, and, as the description says, can be used to solve almost every puzzle in the game.
        And you’re going to need it, because Dark Mind is no pushover. He battles by warping around, with two mirrors surrounding him, acting as shields. Yes, they will hurt you if you touch them, which makes the Master ability’s power to fire energy blasts especially useful. Dark Mind is only vulnerable when his cape opens so he can attack, revealing a large eyeball where his torso would be.
        At first he will fire out streams of star projectiles, which, depending on color, give different abilities. If hit, he will vanish after taking damage to stop you from hitting him repeatedly, pretending to warp to a couple of spots before really reappearing. If you attack him before his eye is revealed, he ‘shatters’ into glass and reappears to strike again regardless. After being defeated, he shatters and you are warped into a small area with some switch puzzles, enemies to eat for abilities, and a mirror leading to another battle with Dark Mind.
        This room has two platforms, which is useful because he will attack from higher up, gaining two new attacks. He will have his stars hover, then shoot straight at your position, or he may have his mirrors circle him very quickly. After that it’s an underwater area, then another battle, this time in an area with two small pools on either side to hinder your mobility. Dark Mind’s attacks have also improved, firing four stars instead of two like before, and firing our a spread shot of stars downward from above.
        Finally, you arrive in an ice area, ending in a fourth battle with Dark Mind on icy terrain that makes it hard to control your movements, just when he’s hitting you with everything he has. Aside from his previous tricks, now he’ll warp around very quickly, firing a shot at you every time so it’s nearly impossible to hit him and dodge at once. He can dash across the top of the arena, bombarding you with stars the entire time, and finally, he’ll also drop a large bomb which, if not destroyed quickly, will assuredly damage you. It all makes for a very hectic final bout. It will be much easier if you hold onto the Master ability, of course.
        But of course, he isn’t done after all that. Next he transforms into a giant eyeball, very much like Zero, and battle begins anew, making the last section look tame by comparison. He can only be harmed by hitting his pupil, and he makes very good use of his two mirrors, having them spin around him for a rolling attack, to smash into you from both sides, and even uses them to redirect lasers at you and summon minions from across the Mirror World.
        Naturally these mirrors can be shattered, but doing so causes them to turn into fragments that fire out in a boomerang fashion in four directions. This does harm Dark Mind, however, and stops his attack, so it might be worth doing. As he takes damage, his attacks become more frequent and dangerous, including the bomb from earlier, and a giant laser fired down on you, as well as flipping the screen to disorient you!
        But finally he is beaten, and he tries to escape, prompting Kirby to follow on his Warp Star. The final battle turn into a top-down shooter, rather like Touhou. Kirby can fire out star projectiles, but Dark Mind will do the same in large clusters, as well as ramming Kirby. However, his health is depleted, and the game actually mocks him a little by playing the credits after his defeat- while he’s still alive. The battle simply rages on, but hits to you no longer matter and he’ll explode as soon as the credits end. A little sad, actually.
        So that’s his battle, but it certainly shows a lot about his power and intelligence, without Dark Mind himself saying a word. He retreats three times, each time to a new area where he would have an advantage, cumulating in a battle on slippery ice while he brings his full power to bear. When this fails he transforms, turning into a giant eye with a small weak point which is hard to reach because his mirrors are always in the way, and he makes very creative use of them.
        Plus, these seem to be the same mirrors that act as doors throughout the game, given he drops enemies out of them, which implies he does indeed have a massive degree of control over the world- and then he rubs it in your face by flipping the screen, or, to put it another way, mirroring it. Apparently even metaphorical mirrors are under his control.
        And finally, when it is obvious even all this won’t stop Kirby, he does the smart thing and tries to flee. Too bad Kirby simply won’t allow that, leading to a final, desperate confrontation as he tries to get away, desperately firing star bursts and ramming into Kirby’s Warp Star, but it is all for naught. And, given you can shoot him as much as you want during the credits, it seems like Kirby isn’t so much killing him as kicking him, inch for inch, into his grave.
        Oh, how the mighty have fallen. What was once a god-like being of mirrors and dark ambition has been reduced to Kirby’s target practice, too weak to even harm the hero, no matter how much he strikes. But hey, he’s the villain here, so he kinda had it coming, right?

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