King Dedede and Nightmare

        My first real experience with the Kirby series was with the Amazing Mirror, which I knew to be based on older games, literally reflecting them due to the mirror theme. So I thought I’d play Nightmare in Dream Land, a remake of the second Kirby game, and see what was borrowed from the original.
        Firstly, I saw that Amazing Mirror was actually unique in that all the areas were connected via various doors. Most Kirby games, it seems, instead go from level to level, and these levels can be revisited through doors. Functionally, they work more or less the same in that you can revisit anything you’ve done before, but it is different in that Mirror has branching paths, whereas the other games are almost completely linear- there are hidden secrets, yes, but nothing that would set you on a different course entirely.
        So as it is, you know exactly when you’ve reached the end of a level, and you know exactly when a boss is coming up. It’s a quicker experience, to be sure, because there’s no chance of getting lost. On the other hand, I think the game may be a bit more difficult, but on the whole I’d say they’re about the same in that regard.
        However, what I found especially interesting was the final boss, or should I say, bosses. Both of them are fairly similar again in that we have two bosses, but in this case, we’re up against King Dedede instead of a replica of Meta Knight, and I have to say, I was really excited for it! I’d heard of King Dedede before, but I’d never really fought him in a game, and I only had a vague idea what to expect. I suppose I underestimated him, given how many times I died.
        I mean, looking at the guy, he doesn’t look very threatening, even with that giant hammer. But that is exactly the attitude that lead me to die six times. In truth, he has a plethora of powerful attacks that can catch one unawares. For a start, he’ll lumber over to you and simply pounce on you, a very sudden attack that caught me off guard simply because it wasn’t telegraphed, and left me very wary afterward- not that it helped. By then he had be backed into a corner, and he jumped up to smash me with his hammer, right as I tried to float over him. Needless to say, I got hit.
        He also may simply leap without raising his hammer, which I am glad to say I generally can avoid- until I saw that the stars the attack produces when he lands will also hurt me. That really got me by surprise. And last but definitely not least, he has two attacks that replicate Kirby’s abilities, both involving him opening his mouth. For one, he’ll try to suck Kirby up, which you can tell via the stars being pulled in, and if he succeeds he’ll spit Kirby across the screen. The second he replicates Kirby’s floating ability to try and ram into you.
        All of these really got to me, but over time I grew more accustomed to his movements, and now I know how to dodge and predict them. Mostly. The pounce attack is telegraphed by him walking up to you, and dodged simply by moving as soon as he’s close enough, or jumping. The hammer is obvious because he holds it over his head, and if he’s on the ground, dodged the same way as the pounce. If he’s in the air, hold down to drop faster and hopefully get out of the way. If you’re in a corner, though dodging it could be tricky. Try sliding under him. The inhale attack is simply dodged by not being close by, and the floating dodged via sliding under him as he lands.
        So, now we know how to survive- how do we beat him? Any copy ability will hurt him, but given his attacks, that might be hard to pull off. What I opt to do is go in with no ability- that way I can inhale the stars his hammer and jump attacks produce. These actually do a bit more damage than copy attacks do, so it works out. Just dodge his attacks, pull in the stars when you can, and hit him. It will be a fairly long fight, and one certainly worthy of the anticipation I felt.
        Moving on though, I did say there was another boss. So, time for some backstory. The reason Kirby ended up fighting the king was because he shattered the Star Rod at the Fountain of Dreams. Thus, no one in Dreamland can dream, and Kirby set out to fix this. Every world had a boss, one of the king’s minions, who would relinquish a piece of the broken Star Rod on defeat. All of this finally comes to a close in the battle with King Dedede, where Kirby triumphantly defeats the king, and takes the final piece.
        We’re then shown a cut-scene that makes me wonder if we’re doing the right thing. Kirby waddles off to place the Star Rod back where it belongs, and King Dedede follows, grabbing onto Kirby’s foot. Kirby looks at him, the king shakes his head- he doesn’t want him to put it back for some reason. Kirby ignores him and walks on, dragging the much bigger Dedede like he weighs nothing, until he finally gets annoyed and smacks him aside and places the rod back where it belongs.
        The lights dim and we immediately see exactly why the king was trying to stop him- A dark force surges out of the Fountain, knocking the Star Rod off its pedestal, then soars off. Dedede, thinking quickly, inhales Kirby and the Star Rod, firing out them out at the fleeing monster like a cannon shot. Thus begins the final battle against Nightmare.
        The monster first takes the form of a orb covered in stars, and fires star projectiles at you, much like Dark Mind did later. Unlike Dark Mind, which was a top-down shooter, this is a sideways one, with Kirby on the left and Nightmare on the right. Thanks to the Star Rod, Kirby can fires star blasts at Nightmare, but the monster’s own shots destroy Kirby’s, making aiming and dodging a serious priority.
        Nightmare only uses these projectiles, but in various ways, such as shooting off two, above and below the middle of the screen where you start, shooting off three, firing off a rapid burst as he floats upward, and so on. One of his more devious attacks was where he fires off waves of energy on the top, then bottom, then top again, repeating- until he finally shoots down the middle, after you’ve been lulled into thinking you’re safe.
        Also making this harder is that his attacks are generally a dark blue color, matching that of the clouds around you, meaning picking out his attacks at all is a bit harder than one may expect. Speaking of clouds, if you pay attention you’ll see you seem to be descending. You are. Dedede may have shot you pretty high, but you’ll fall pretty quickly. If you do not defeat Nightmare in time, then he will fly off, leaving Kirby to crash to the ground and lose a life.
        I do love the touch of realism, I’ll admit. It caught me by complete surprise, and I actually laughed once I figured out what happened. Anyway, if you beat Nightmare in time, a Warp Star will appear and you can grab it, taking Kirby up to the moon, chasing Nightmare. As they follow the monster, it transforms from an orb to his true form, a wizard-like entity surrounded in a cape. He fires off a barrage of projectiles, knocking Kirby down to the moon’s surface for the final battle.
        Again, Dark Mind took clear inspiration from this guy, and knowing that did help a bit. Namely, attacking while his cape is closed is pointless, the attacks will literally just bounce off. Much like Dark Mind, he teleports, but makes use of it much less frequently, and he is much larger, making use of that by floating everywhere, with a good chance he will run into you. As a rule, I stick near the left corner and stay there- given Nightmare’s size not much movement is required to hit him, and I can duck to dodge his charges. Also I should point out that Kirby cannot float while holding the Star Rod, but he can do a spinning jump, and the rod will protect him from projectiles then.
        As for Nightmare’s attacks, aside from ramming, all his attacks open his cape a little, allowing him to be injured. He can spread his cape, firing out a spread shot of four stars, shoot stars at one spot via pointing at it, or even use the tornado-like mass to try and drill into Kirby, and as he loses health he will actually get a bit savvy about this and do this upside down, so his armored top half is doing the hitting instead. However, this second form, while imposing and armored, actually takes more damage than his previous form, and he will go down a lot quicker- provided he doesn’t blast you to bits first.
        In the end, Nightmare is destroyed in a dramatic explosion, obliterating a good chunk of the moon, as Kirby flies off to return the Star Rod. Some exposition reveals that Dedede originally stole the Star Rod not to cause harm, but to seal away the Nightmare trying to escape from it. It may have been a short-sighted solution, but he tried his best. And between the two, I honestly find Dedede to be harder to beat. After all, with Nightmare you have a projectile weapon that does a good bit of damage, whereas with Dedede you have no such help. Not to mention, he was trying to do the right thing. He was trying to stop evil from being set free, acting heroically. And heroes usually are harder to beat than the villains.

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