The True Arena, Part 1

        At long last, I’ve finally beaten The True Arena in Kirby Super Star Ultra! It was certainly a struggle to get through, and I’d been trying and failing for weeks. So in wake of this victory, why not tell you all about it so you know what it is?
        The True Arena is the final challenge in the game, only unlocked after all of the others are beaten. As the name might imply, there is a non-True arena before this challenge. The regular arena consists of 18 battles with most of the game’s bosses. At the beginning of the Arena you can pick one of Kirby’s abilities to begin with, so you’re not just going in with nothing but his inhale ability.
        After a successful battle, you are taken to a resting area where you can see what the next fight will be, and there will be two abilities on the left and right. These may not necessarily be the best abilities, they’re mostly there in case you lost the one you started with. There are also five Maxim Tomatoes floating near the top of the screen. These health items restore Kirby back to full health. However, after you take one it is gone, and when you return from the next boss it will be replaced by a normal tomato, which only restores part of Kirby’s health. Naturally, after you take that there will be nothing in that spot.
        Still, a player good enough to reach the end likely won’t have too much trouble conserving their items. The True Arena works similarly, but one of the two abilities will always be Sleep, which is entirely useless for battle. The Maxim Tomatoes are gone as well, replaced by regular ones from the start. This means you have to be much more careful with your health, because there is no easy way to bring it back to full.
        There are less bosses than in the normal Arena, only ten, but they are all stronger than before. For instance, you face two battles with a group of mini-bosses in the Arena. Here there is only one, but they are the toughest ones in the game. All of the other bosses who do reappear do so in stronger forms, with different colorations and more powerful attacks, referred to as their “Revenge” form, like Kracko’s Revenge for example.
        Two of these, Whispy’s Revenge and Lololo and Lalala’s Revenge, are very easy. Even when powered up, Whispy Woods is still a tree, a stationary target, and his attacks are usually very easy to see ahead of time, and aside from his breath attacks, they’re destroyable as well. Lololo and Lalala are two creatures that push blocks along small passages that they and Kirby are traveling in. Kirby can jump between them to dodge, while they move along the passage to the end. Though they move faster and sometimes they push Gordos now, or Gordos move along passages themselves, this is really a very easy fight.
        The two battles with Kracko, on the other hand, are a different story. He appears as himself and his weaker form, Kracko Jr. As Kracko Jr. He has less health, but he moves much faster, generally moving along the top or bottom of the screen to ram you, and he will sometimes float along the top to drop bombs on you. His speed and ramming tactic actually meant he did more damage to me than his usual form, at least until I figured out when to guard. When guarding, Kirby will actually hurt him as he passes by, rather than the other way around.
        As Kracko he will not try to ram you as often, simply moving in erratic patterns, but he makes up for it with more attacks, such as firing out two beams around himself to keep you at a distance, raining on you for constant damage, unless you’re blocking, flying across the battlefield, firing lightning under him, and, unique to Kracko’s Revenge, he will float in the middle of the area and shoot out lightning bolts, crossing the entire screen. These will either be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Luckily, it can be avoided by standing under him, just not directly under his eye. He also occasionally spawns Waddle Doos to fight you, but these are at best weapons to shoot back at Kracko, and at worst minor annoyances.
        Kracko aside, the only boss who doesn’t fit the mold of a returning boss is Kabula, a giant war-blimp that Kirby has to face in a starship, giving the game it’s obligatory shooting level. Kabula isn’t any different from when she first appeared earlier in the game, but she doesn’t really need to be- she’s tough enough. She primarily fights by shooting destroyable bullets at you in a spread shot, or single invincible Gordos, but she will occasionally throw in a charging attack where she spins and tries to ram into you, and when her health is low she will also fire out giant missiles as big as she is.
        Though varied in attacks, Kabula is a fairly simple boss, and I find her more fun than difficult. In any case, while the Arena randomizes the order of first 17 battles before the final bout itself, in the True Arena the final four are always the same, while the first six are random. When you reach the final four, you’ll know because the resting area changes to look more ominous, with storm clouds and lightning in the background, along with the music. The boss indicator is black, with a silhouette of the next enemy, so it won’t say who it is until you get there. But I will!
        The first of these is Masked Dedede, returning from his own section of the game, Revenge of the King, where he was the final boss. There you faced him after Kabula’s level, going through his castle full of enemies and a barrage of mini-bosses before you face the king himself.
        However, while he acts the same he is more of a challenge here because, while the battle itself is no different, he jumps in to battle immediately. In the original bout, he left a hammer in the middle of the ring, so Kirby can face him as an equal, much like Meta Knight and the sword. No such luck here in the True Arena. In addition, you’re likely to have less health here than in Revenge of the King, having had to go through a barrage of six bosses, all powered up versions of previous ones, and Kabula too.
        As for the battle itself, it is basically a stronger version of Dedede wearing a mask and using a larger, mechanical hammer. Dedede in this game fights a lot like he did in Nightmare In Dream Land, so you could just read that article for details on how he fights normally. However, in this game he is weaker than he was there, since here he flinches at every hit, which can potentially cancel a lot of his attacks, such as his jump.
        This makes sense, as you first face King Dedede in Spring Breeze, the first and easiest part of the game. Masked Dedede, on the other hand, will not flinch when he attacks with his hammer, and you’ll be glad he does so at all. For a start, the ring you face him in now has an electrified cage around it, preventing Kirby from floating up too high. This also means that if you lose your copy ability, it may bounce off into the cage and vanish, adding another danger.
        His jump attack repeats three times, very dangerous in the small area, and while his inhale and hammer smash attacks are basically the same, nothing else is. When he does his jump hammer attack, he electrifies his hammer on the cage, so when it comes down it unleashes a shockwave ahead of him.
        The hammer can also double as a flamethrower or a rocket launcher, with no real indication which it is. You can inhale and fire back the rockets, but no such luck with fire. It may be best to just dodge these attacks altogether, especially since they leave him open from behind.
        His final trick is something he starts using when he has low health. He will spin, the hammer speeding up, until he starts moving around the arena like this, following Kirby’s movements. Though this attack is painful, it can be easily dodged by just floating over him. Though the cage restricts Kirby’s movements somewhat, it isn’t that difficult to stay above Dedede at this point. After using this attack, he will be dizzy and vulnerable to attack.
        And that about sums up Masked Dedede. He’s certainly more difficult in this bout, but I’d say this just brings him up to being a reasonable challenge. The next three bosses, on the other hand…

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