This article originally appeared in Nintendo Gamer magazine.
The better part of two years since the release of Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition and we still find ourselves getting angry about it. In one of their most breathtakingly cynical releases ever, Nintendo slapped four ancient games onto a disk, packaged it in a cardboard slipcase, lobbed in a soundtrack CD and expected us to pay £25 for the privilege.
Two of them may have been among the finest games ever made, but as celebrations go, it had all the impact of a party popper with the string removed.
So forgive us if we weren't overjoyed at the prospect of more of the same for Kirby's 20th birthday. Sure, the pink fella has his fans, but we think of him more fondly for inventive recent fare like Mass Attack and Canvas Curse than his challenge-lite platformers. Yet this is a far more generous compilation than Mario's, with a number of extras that make it all but unmissable for staunch Kirbyists, and at the very least a fascinating history lesson for others.
We'll get the two clunkers out of the way first, shall we? Kirby And The Crystal Shards is the most recent entry in this six-game collection and comfortably the worst of the lot, a languid trudge in 2.5D where it seems that HAL assumed its unusual perspective might confuse people, and thus removed any semblance of challenge. It's a long, slow procession through poorly-designed levels, and it has aged badly.
LIKE A DREAM
We're probably risking the ire of his long-term supporters for saying this, but Kirby's debut in Dream Land isn't a whole lot better. Acceptable at the time, its limitations in the light of both its sequels and the development of the genre now make it look rather flimsy.
Thankfully, it's better news from here on in. Kirby's Adventure finally provided our rotund hero with his best move, though given its recent eShop release in 3D Classics form, it was a bit too soon for us to run through it again without stifling the occasional yawn. Pity we didn't get GBA remake Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land instead.