Computer Virus

It’s a little surprising what developers come up with sometimes. After a while of playing games in a series, you start to become accustomed to the style and look of things. For instance, in the Kirby series you come to expect cute creatures, Some less cute knights, robots, and so forth, and near the end of the game grotesque monstrosities that would likely fit in in a much darker game just fine.
For instance, in the Great Cave Offensive mode of Kirby Super Star, most of it what you’d expect- puzzles, treasure, the usual enemies, and bosses between different areas. But one of these bosses is particularly strange. As you run into the boss room of the Crystal Area, three computer windows appear and a 8-bit remix of the boss music plays.
Meet the Computer Virus, also called more accurately Battle Windows. It appears as three windows- the top one displays dialogue, the small one under it shows enemy health, and the large window shows the enemy. The boss basically pokes fun at RPGs in general and completely alters how the battle works compared to other Kirby bosses. Rather than you fighting the windows themselves, you face the enemies it spawns in the large window.
It helpfully tells you what you’ll be facing on the top window, such as “Evil Knight appears!” The enemy appears, health is displayed, and then it drops off the window, where you can actually harm it. This is your “turn”. After a few seconds it will raise back into the window, invulnerable, and the top screen will announce how much damage you did.
At this point it will have its turn, announced in the top window as well, such as “Great Dragon attacks!” or “Evil Knight brings down his sword!”. The description tells you ahead of time what attack the enemy will use, and thus you can plan around it.
When you first meet the Computer Virus in the Great Cave Offensive, it will use weaker minions than usual. The first of these is the Slime. It has the least health of the bunch, and often wastes its turns on things like sleeping and looking surprised.
It will occasionally “call for a pal” or “try to escape” but these always fail. Every so often it will attack, firing out a star at Kirby. These stars are the ‘basic’ attack for all of the Computer Virus enemies. They are very quick and difficult to dodge, but blocking will alleviate most if not all of the damage.
When a minion is beaten, the top screen will announce it, and the next will appear. In the first fight the next enemy will be the Puppet. It has more health than the Slime, but like its predecessor it will use a lot of pointless actions like laughing, dancing, and trying(but failing) to put a hex on Kirby. It also can attack like the Slime, and will do so a bit more often.
The third and final minion you will face the first time is the Magician. Unlike the last two, she is a more serious enemy, and will never waste a turn. Her regular attack fires out three stars instead of one, and she also has three spells- ice, which shoots out a single blast that freezes Kirby solid, and unlike the starts it will hurt you a little even if you block, fire, which shoots out a large stream of fire, which I suggest you fly over, and finally a guard spell, which drastically cuts the amount of damage Kirby can do on his next turn.
While you face the Magician last in Great Cave Offensive, you will see her again in Milky Way Wishes, The Arena, and Helper To Hero, where the enemy list has changed. The Slime and Puppet are gone entirely, and the Magician is now your first foe, just as strong as before. Which of course means the next two will be even worse.
The new second enemy is the Evil Knight, stronger and more versatile than the Magician. His basic attack shoots out five stars, though they are slower than usual. He can fire out a ice slash, identical to Magician’s ice spell in essence. He can also slash, firing out a cutter projectile that boomerang’s back to him. On low health he makes two. His last actual attack is a knife rain, where knifes fall from the sky. However, they will not fall on the edges of the screen, so you’ll be safe there. Finally, he can guard to reduce damage on your turn, or power up to increase his own damage.
Lastly there is the Great Dragon. Being the final enemy, he obviously has the most health of the bunch, and the most devastating attacks. He only shoots three stars, but they move faster than any of the others, and rebound off of the side of the screen, making dodging nearly impossible. He can breathe fire, identical to the Magician’s fire spell, and slash with his talons, sending out cutter projectiles out in a circular formation. This can be dodged by staying on the side, as they don’t go out very far.
He has one unique attack, where he flaps his wings, producing projectiles from the right side of the screen, sloping downward as they move. Blocking will leave you sitting on the ground, taking smaller but still serious amounts of damage, so it’s best to dodge by floating in the topleft corner, where they cannot hit you. Finally, the dragon can ‘petrify’ to reduce the damage it takes on your turn.
So, that’s all the minions, but there is still much to talk about with this boss. When you do win, the text box will reward you ‘points’ in various things like Friendship and Puffiness, just a joke on how RPGs work. I should also mention during the battle the text will keep track of if you or your helper gets damaged, avoids the attack entirely, or blocks it, and how much damage you do.
The enemies also tie into RPGs. Slimes are very, very common enemies in many RPGs, going as far as to be the mascot of Dragon Quest. The Puppet could also represent a early, weak enemy, though still a step up from the Slime. The Magician and Evil Knight, on the other hand, would be stronger, less common enemies, indicated both by them being humanoid, and how Magician is your last enemy in the first confrontation, and how Evil Knight only appears in later battles. The Great Dragon, being the final and strongest enemy, and, well, a dragon, represents a final boss battle that proves itself far harder than the others.
On another note, Helper to Hero the minions look different, and have more health than usual. In addition, while in the other modes Kirby, Meta Knight, and the various helpers are referred to by name, in this mode the helpers are only referred to as “Helper”. Since their names already appeared previously, it isn’t that the developers just didn’t add it in. Instead, I think this implies the Computer Virus is sentient.
Given you cannot harm the windows itself, I assume it summons minions as a sort of game, to challenge those who reach it, and the silly ‘points’ you earn are it having a joke at their expense. It referring to the helpers as just that is a slightly cruel joke on its part- the mode is called Helper to Hero, after all. By consistently calling them helpers, it denies that they can potentially win, or become more than they are- a hero.
I should also point out that both the Arena and Helper to Hero records the time it took the beat them. Accordingly, in the Arena, Computer Virus closes its windows and lets you pass immediately on defeat, but for Helper to Hero, it has one last word. “The Helper defeated all the enemies!”
Again, referring to them exclusively as helpers, but the exclamation point and the fact that it says anything at all indicates surprise that a mere sidekick could defeat them- especially since this is the Computer Virus’s final and strongest appearance. It also contains one final spiteful act of a sort to the player and the helper- the fact that it stuck around to say that line at all adds a few more seconds to your time.
Of course, since it operates on RPG rules, maybe it doesn’t see it that way. After all, there’s not usually any time issues in an RPG, so while the statement is mocking, it’s not in the meta sense of him spiting the player as well as the helper. Really, the concept of an entity intruding on a game from an entirely different genre is incredibly fascinating in it’s own right, and I’m glad I could see it here in Super Star.


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