Meta Knight

        I haven’t talked about Kirby in a while, so lets take a look at one of the more famous reoccurring bosses. Meta Knight shows up in many games, though not quite as many as King Dedede, challenging Kirby to a duel of swordplay. He usually appears as the semi-final boss, or at the very least, the boss of the second to last stage.
        Meta Knight is rather mysterious, but he generally seems to have good intentions- in his first appearance he is fought before Dedede in Kirby’s Adventure/Nightmare in Dream Land, holding one of the Star Rod pieces. While you might assume him to be a villain due to that, the reveal later that Dedede broke the rod to save Dream Land casts him in a heroic light.
        There are a few other indicators that he is a bit different from your average boss. In the original game he could be seen leaving lollipops that give Kirby invincibility to help him progress, yet he also sends his forces, the Meta Knights, to do battle with him as well. Why would he help and hinder him? Perhaps to see if he can indeed fight Nightmare.
        In that case it would seem he sees Kirby as one who could defeat the monster, but knows that sometimes he will need help- lollipops- and would have to be tested as well, hence the fights. Another indicator that stays true to all of his battles, at least ones of his own volition, is that he will not attack you until you either pick up the sword he leaves for you, or strike him first. The game literally tells you to take the sword.
        Thus, we can tell he not only is testing Kirby, but also is honorable in battle, willing to give Kirby a chance to battle him on equal footing– or at least, something approximating that, since he is far batter with a blade than Kirby could hope to be, with many powerful attacks. However, this only applies to later games- in the original Kirby’s Adventure, he only could do a normal slash and midair slash like Kirby, as well as a sword plant move. In the remake however, he demonstrates a couple of new tricks, such an upward stab and the ability to block.
        His next appearance was in Kirby Super Star where, thanks to the game‘s set up, he was given much more of a personality beyond what he is shown to do. He is the main antagonist of one of the sub-games, “The Revenge of Meta Knight”, where he and his troops are planning to conquer Dream Land, to end their ‘lazy lifestyle’, which, given how it looks, probably means the inhabitants aren’t doing much, so he’s going to make them more productive.
        To that end he takes off in the giant airship, the Halberd, but Kirby flies in on the Warp Star to stop him, fighting through and destroying parts of the ship until he finally destroys the reactor, and the ship is destined to crash. Meta Knight faces Kirby for his last challenge, and proves to be far stronger than in the previous game. He still waits for Kirby to pick up the sword, but this time he will only wait for a short time, given the circumstances.
        He now can fire out a giant tornado from the blade to send Kirby flying, uses combos, a flying dash, and fire out energy waves from the blade. In the remake, he adds in the Mach Tornado attack, where he spins himself in a tornado to slam into you in midair. Kirby, for his part, can block and also a combo of his own, ending in a barrage of sword-like energy blasts, suggesting he has improved since last time.
        Personally, I think in Meta Knight’s case he hasn’t so much improved as he isn’t holding back. Given in the first battle he was merely testing Kirby, he would be holding back to a degree, but here, they’re completely enemies, and Meta Knight would have no need for restraint.
        He even goes on after the fight to chase Kirby as he escapes the ship, his cape turning into bat wings for flight, trying to kill Kirby before he can flee. He does so by dropping energy bombs on him and dashing at him from the left. While you can hit him, at this point it will not stop him or have any real effect, so it is best just to focus on getting out. So long as you jump over the obstacles and him when he dashes, you should be fine.
        He seemingly reappears in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, but as my article on Dark Mind shows, this is really his evil copy, Dark Meta Knight. You can tell it’s not him by a few things- when he first appears to battle, he isn’t listed as Meta Knight, but ???, and attacks you immediately, rather than offering a sword first. At first he fights with up close sword slashes, sword plants, and dashes, but in the second battle he adds in the same attacks Meta Knight used in Super Star, proving he is a pretty accurate copy in terms of power. Once he is beaten, Kirby is pulled into a vortex to fight Dark Mind, and the real Meta Knights throws him a magical sword to help him win.
        While that is the limit of my personal experience with Meta Knight, from what I read he does get into more fights with Kirby, continuing his trend from his first game of battling Kirby before he faces the final boss. Story-wise this is either because he is under the control of an evil force, or to test him before he faces a nightmarish monster- or, in the case of Squeak Squad, to keep him from awakening one.
        That particular case is notable because he doesn’t offer you a sword for once, though there is something to give Kirby the power in the room beforehand. He also attacks much faster and more frequently in comparison to previous battles, so I don’t think this is a test- rather, he is honestly trying to keep Kirby from getting past him. This extra speed and ferocity does come at a cost though- he is knocked back far more than usual. He also uses his wings to move more quickly, and his sword blasts are now fiery in nature.
        His assault is certainly justified- Kirby assumed the chest Meta Knight took from him had his cake in it, but this chest contained an ancient evil, Dark Nebula, so it is understandable why Meta Knight wanted to stop him. That’s pretty much the opposite of cake.
        He also has playable appearances, such as his own playthrough of Nightmare In Dream Land, and Super Star Ultra, in a mode called “Meta Knightmare”. Both are basically a timed playthrough of the game with Meta Knight. In Nightmare In Dream Land, he is much faster and stronger than Kirby, but he has half the health. Since he cannot copy abilities but instead carries his sword at all times, he can always attack, and his sword can stomp posts to open passageways, but he doesn’t have as many options as Kirby. He can also use his sword in ways Kirby cannot, such as stabbing upward to hit enemies above him, even through ceilings, and sword planting. He also works a little differently in flight here- his wings get less lift than Kirby, so he won’t go as far in each flap, but he can do so faster than Kirby can move, and his wings will actually do minimal damage to enemies, which helps keep him safe when flying.
        In Super Star Ultra, he seems to either have the same amount of health but takes more damage, or has less. It’s hard to tell since instead of showing the health in pieces, like in Nightmare in Dream Land, the game shows it as a health bar. He works the same as the last game, but with a bonus- defeated enemies net him points, which, once he has enough, can be used for four unique powers.
        Firstly, Knight Call summons a Blade Knight or Sword Knight minion to help him, much like how Kirby could sacrifice abilities to make a ally of his own. There is no difference between the two minions except that Sword Knight can stab upward, while Blade cannot. Secondly, he can heal himself, obviously much more useful when you have no long range capabilities and less health. Third, he can use Meta Quick to speed himself up even more than he already is, and finally, he can use Mach Tornado, which here has a similar function to Kirby’s Crash ability, striking everything onscreen, but for even more damage.
        While most of the game is much the same as Kirby’s run through the Milky Way Wishes part of the game, it ends differently. Since this takes place after Kirby’s part of the game, Meta Knight is trying to summon the wish granting machine NOVA for a very different reason, and unlike with Kirby, no one interrupts him.
        His wish to battle a great warrior summons Galacta Knight, who is basically a far more powerful, perpetually flying version of Meta Knight, who was so powerful that he was sealed away, presumably forever, and needed a reality warping machine to bring back. And Meta Knight just summons him for a challenge. Of course, when Kirby fights demonic forces all the time, I guess that is what counts as exercise…
        Regardless of what game he is in, Meta Knight comes off as an unquestionable badass, no matter if you’re facing him or playing as him. The Kirby series has many, many final bosses, and they seem to change just about every game, offering something new and exciting, but Meta Knight hasn‘t changed, only improved, and the fans clearly love him for that, myself included.

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