We need to talk about that final boss in Kirby and the Forgotten Lands

Nintendo /
1 of 3

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Kirby and the Forgotten Lands and pretty much any other Kirby game as well.

The year was 1994. Not to show my age but I was fourteen that year and I was playing a game I had just got as a gift for the Nintendo Entertainment System, “Kirby’s Adventure”. I had played it before over at friends’ houses the year prior but only for short bits of time. There was a Kirby that came out on the Game Boy earlier but I hadn’t had a Game Boy yet. Every time I played it though I loved it. Graphically the game was full of personality. The ability to gain many abilities which completely changed the game was incredible. Most of the time a game would give you one, maybe two powerups that allowed you to mostly change what shot in front of you. But with Kirby you were suddenly tearing through stages as a wheel, cutting through things as an agile swordsman, or even flying around charging up different sorts of weapons as a UFO. All with no energy meters or limited ammo. It was a blast.

But now I had the game and I could actually sit down and beat it. I’d finally get to take down King Dedede. Little did I know.

I’m going to post a video of the final boss fight of Kirby’s Adventure here but talk about what happens below it.

The fight with King Dedede went as expected. He had a similar ability to inhale and inflate. He would attack me with the hammer I had already seen in the games multiple minigames. But I eventually beat him, reclaimed the Star Rod, and was ready to bring peace back to Dream Land.

Suddenly, (go ahead and cut to 2:10) I was shown a screen like when you start a new world. “Level 8: The Fountain of Dreams”. Cool. But Kirby did something I’ve never seen before. He walks off the side of the intro screen and the camera scrolls with him, leaving the title screen behind him like a prop from a stage show. Kirby walks to replace the wand on the fountain and King Dedede shows up and clamps onto Kirby’s feet. He doesn’t try to take the rod back, he just begs Kirby to stop. The moment is strangely out of place and uncomfortable compared to the rest of the game.

Kirby shakes the beaten King off him and replaces the Star Rod back on the fountain. And then…it goes dark. The sky does from day to night and a strange orb covered in stars rises from the fountain. Kirby and Dedede freak out and as the orb takes to the sky, Dedede inhales Kirby and the Star Rod and launches them both after the orb, into space. Suddenly you’re in what feels like a side-scrolling shooter game, dodging stars being thrown at you by the orb while shooting back with the Star Rod. Eventually, you beat the orb and you chase it to Planet Popstar’s equivalent of a moon. There, you fly across the surface, keeping pace with the orb in the background as you watch it hatch into some sort of foreboding shape. (go ahead and cut to 4:20 please)

Now you get to fight the real villain of the game. A strange being called Nightmare who looks like if Cuphead had to fight a vampire. It’s a demonic being with a windy tornado for a body that teleports around clawing at you and occasionally screaming, tendrils of spit connecting the two halves of its mouth. It did not fit with the rest of the game and that made it all the more terrifying.

And with this, HAL Laboratory started not only the legend of Kirby but also a history of terrifying final bosses more nightmarish than Nightmare himself.

Let’s touch on that history on the next page before we get to the final boss of the newest game, Kirby and the Forgotten Land.