Kirby is the biggest badass in gaming. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. Nintendo’s little puffball might not be fueled by angst or have magic, shape-shifting hair, but he knocks down more eldritch abominations, power hungry aliens, and despotic penguins on a daily basis than any other gaming protagonist. What’s more, he does it while looking absolutely adorable. If Cthulhu fought Kirby, he would be the one to suffer a SAN Loss. If Kid-Buu tried to take on Kirby, the one left standing would be the one with the little red shoes. If Giygas, in his final EarthBound form, was unleashed on Kirby, Pop Star’s defender wouldn’t even have to pray (as this video shows).
So today, let’s take a look at some of Kirby’s most epic boss fights. Needless to say, there’s going to be a lot of SPOILERS in this list, so back out now if you want to be surprised by any of Kirby’s games from Adventure to Return to Dream Land. Since the first draft of this list had too many entrants from one game, I’ve decided to limit one entry per game. That being said, let’s get started.
#5. Nightmare (Kirby’s Adventure)
While he may not have been the first final boss in the Kirby franchise, Nightmare played a big role in how final bosses would be handled from then on. The best part of encountering Nightmare isn’t the fight itself, in my opinion, but the short cutscene that plays out right before it. Despite having just received another beating from Kirby, Dedede desperately begs the little puffball to not take the star rod. It’s the first hint that there’s more to the situation than meets the eye. When the game switches to a straight-up shooter you know something is terribly wrong.
That’s not to say that the fight itself is lacking though. The fight with Nightmare helped set up a lot of later boss fights. Kirby having to use a mystical artifact to reveal/fight the true last boss started here (this would be used again in games like Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and Kirby 64) and a shooting stage coming right before the final boss fight/being part of the final boss fight started here as well (I’m not counting Kirby’s Dream Land, as you could choose when you took on Kabula at Mt. Dedede). Even the way Nightmare flits about the arena is similar to how Marx would fight you in Milky Way Wishes. So, for being an epic fight that set the stage for a lot of other epic fights, Nightmare makes his way onto the list at #5.
#4. 0² (Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards)
“WHAT! You put the final boss from Kirby 64 at #4? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know it bleeds? Isn’t that disturbing?” Well, yes, I do know that and I suppose it’s kind of spooky, if I hadn’t already gone against Zero in Kirby’s Dream Land 3, where he did the same thing. Not to mention, the leader of the Dark Matter invasion loses some cool factor when you see the band aid on his head and spend most of the fight shooting him in his, uh, the thing protruding from… HIS TAIL. Yes, his tail. That’s what it is. Let’s move on, shall we?
However, despite this, 0² makes the list for sheer intimidation and creepiness. The whole fight takes place in a blood-red pocket dimension with giant rings of doom orbiting you and 0². Also, in addition to crying blood, 0²’s wings can be blown off making the fight the most violent one in the entire franchise. Still, violence alone isn’t enough to be epic.
#3. Marx (Kirby Super Star)
While Milky Way Wishes might have only been one of several games in Kirby Super Star, it was probably the most memorable for some extremely creative bosses, like the RPG boss, and its finale. In case you need a reminder, the plot is as follows: The sun and moon over Pop Star are fighting so a little jester guy named Marx tells Kirby that a being called Nova can help, provided Kirby can collect the seven Dragon Balls–I mean Dream Fountains to summon him. Kirby does so, but before he can make his wish, Marx knocks him out of the way and wishes for Nova to give him the power to take over Pop Star. This leaves Kirby in the unenviable position of having to take out a literal deus ex machina and an insane super-powered jester.
The shooting stage where you take Nova out is an exceptionally long stage compared to other Kirby shooting stages and is a touch challenging, but the fight with Marx is where it’s really at, with the insane imp zipping around the map with his dorky face contorted in an emotion that is some sort of nebulous mix of rage, maniacal glee, and exasperation. The fight is extremely fast paced compared to other boss fights and Marx’s ability to grow dangerous batches of thorn columns and FIRE HIS LAZOR is pretty intimidating. Then there’s the ending, where Kirby flings Marx into Nova’s remains, destroying both of them (well, until Super Star Ultra, but that fight is not on here). Overall, a great fight with elements that would be borrowed for later fights.
#2. Masked King Dedede (Super Star Ultra)
When I first heard about Super Star Ultra, I was skeptical to say the least. It seemed like Nintendo was just repackaging the old SNES game. However, Super Star Ultra went far beyond a mere remake. Not only were the graphics improved, but new modes and mini-games were added, in addition to new CG cutscenes and new bosses like Marx Soul and Galacta Knight, the latter who has become a fan favorite. One of these games was Revenge of the King, a tougher version of Spring Breeze (making it a pseudo-remake of Dream Land’s hard mode). The basic plot of the game is that Dedede has had enough of Kirby and wants to settle things once and for all.
And he means it.
When you fight Dedede in the normal version of Spring Breeze, he’s overall rather cocky and cheery about the prospect of fighting you. He even has a crowd of Waddle Dees in bleachers just so he can have an audience for the beatdown. This time, there’s only one waddle Dee and he (she?) is probably only there to close the cage on both of you.
Wait, cage? What is this, a wrestling match? Oh no, this is something far more elaborate and disturbing. See, Dedede has chosen an ELECTRIFIED cage for the fight so Kirby can’t fly around and has tossed away his comical mallet for a mechanized hammer that has a flamethrower and a missile battery inside it. He’s even wearing a slasher mask for the fight.
Folks, let’s be honest here. King Dedede didn’t call Kirby out to have a friendly duel. He came here to murder the hell out of Kirby… and that is disturbingly epic.
Daww, look at this cute little guy. He couldn’t hurt a fly, could he? After all, he crash-landed his cute ship on Pop Star after being attacked by a fierce dragon. He came to Kirby and company for help and promised them a trip to his homeland while looking cute as a button. It’s not like he’s had ulterior motives the entire time and has secretly been craving the power of The Master Crown, is it? Hey Magolor, sorry for putting you on the list bud, why don’t we….
Yeah, Magolor, the little guy who’s been with you the entirety of the game, was actually manipulating you the whole time and now he has possession of one of the most powerful artifacts in the Galaxy. What’s even better? He’s taken his ship, the Lor Starcutter (the same ship you’ve spent the entire game fixing up) and possessed it. The ship has been your hubworld the entire game and now you have to shoot it down in a side-scrolling shooter level that’s already teeming with Sphere Doomers (enemies that were mid-bosses throughout the rest of the game). It would be like if Bowser weaponized Peach’s castle and made you fight it before the final boss fight in Super Mario 64.
Now, one issue that comes up when talking about Magolor is the comparisons to Marx. After all, both characters manipulate Kirby so they can get great power and both of them have shooting levels leading up to them. However, I have to give my preference to Magolor based on the fight and the fact that he is far more prevalent throughout the game than Marx (Marx only showed up at the beginning and end of Milky Way Wishes while Magolor is a constant companion in Return to Dream Land, making the betrayal have far more impact).
The fight and stage leading up also have a lot more impact because they tie into Kirby’s universe and the plot far better. In Milky Way Wishes, Kirby just randomly finds a ship to pilot while he’s blowing apart Nova, a figure you just met. This time, Kirby and his friends are riding atop the four dragons that made up Landia, the boss who was guarding the Mighty Crown, and their doing it in the dangerous Alternate Dimension, a place you’ve visited several times throughout the game. The fight itself has Magolor even manipulating the space of the dimension (and occasionally taking you outside of it), briefly summoning Sphere Doomers, and making use of the star portals you’ve seen throughout the game. Additionally, Magolor’s first form can only be beaten by using super abilities to knock away his shield and his second form is a soul form boss mode that only appeared once before (Marx Soul) in the franchise.
Finally, in addition to being a super powered imp in a killer dimension who sends a hubworld at you for a mini-boss fight (and has a sweet BGM to boot), is Magolor’s design, which is an amalgamation of a lot of classic Kirby bosses. In addition to having a soul form like Marx, Magolor’s first form has floating hands (Dark Mind/Necrodeus), an eye in his mouth that resembles 0²’s eye, and a crown and nebulous torso like Nightmare. The original aspects of Magolor’s design are pretty sweet as well, with the Crown embedding itself deeper into his skull between forms (and even into his soul… ouch) and his body becoming more like a Sphere Doomer as he grows spiked armor and wings in his second form. All in all, a fantastic way to end what was a fantastic entry in the Kirby series.
So, that was the list. What are your thoughts? Which Kirby bosses should have been on the list but weren’t? Please leave your comments below.