Funny thing about me and the NES, I skipped out on most of the classic franchises: Metroid, Zelda, Castlevania, didn't own any of their games. Don't know why exactly, I rented a couple of them, but they never struck me as worthwhile. But Kirby's Adventure? Now that I had to own, and play, again, and again, and again.
Plot-wise, Kirby's Adventure isn't anything new. Our lone hero sets out on a quest to save his people by returning a sacred item to it's proper place. I suppose the catch was the hero being a pudgy pink ball, who wanted to return the Star Rod to its proper place because no one was having any dreams when they slept, a problem first noticed during the 'after-lunch feast nap'. I wish I could have after lunch feast naps. It's the like the stereotypical fat, hairy guy going on a quest to return a missing piece of a satellite dish, because otherwise how can he and his friends watch football (provided the guy had undertaken a similar quest once before to, I don't know, find the missing cheese for his buddies' nachos)? There's an element of heroism in it, taking on this dangerous mission alone, but it's tempered by the fact that Kirby takes the quest so he can ultimately resume his, shall we say, restful existence.
I think the intriguing part was the fact that Kirby had such a range of abilities, limited only by the enemies he faced. For those who don't know, Kirby's only real power is that he can sharply inhale, swallowing enemies, and adopting their powers. So it's like Absorbing Man meets Matter-Eater Lad, or something. So he could shoot lasers, breathe fire, turn into a wheel (more useful than you think), explodey powers, even, on rare occasions zip around in a UFO that had a couple of different weapons. If you happened to swallow two different types of enemies, you'd get a random power.
Throughout the game there were mini-games you could play (or not). I liked the quick draw game, though I could rarely make it the whole way through. Also, within the different stages of each level, there were secret areas that if found, could unlock more of those mini-games, or in some cases the Museum (basically, a place where you could run in and absorb one of a couple of enemies to get a power you liked better than what you had). None of that was necessary to the game, but it did count towards the percentage of the game you'd completed, as well as being a diversion from the standard play within the levels. I think I got to 98% once, but I could never figure out where the secret area I was missing was.
The most interesting boss of the game, to me anyway, was a knight that would pop up every so often. You'd enter an area, there he was. He'd do a flashy move with his cape, point his sword at you and. . . leave, forcing you to fight his minions, who used maces, slicy boomerang things, and electrified tridents(!). Worst part, you couldn't get any powers from swallowing those losers. Lame. You do finally get to take Sword Boy on in Level 6 (there's 7 levels), and it's not easy. You've got to try and match him, sword to sword, and he's got a few more moves than you do. Of course if you beat him, you're treated to the end of the level Kirby dance (Kirby always dances after beating the level boss. Why he splits into three Kirbys to do it I don't know).
Through the wonders of emulators and roms (shh, don't tell any authority figures!), I've gotten to play it some the last couple years, since one of the other grad assistants decided to download them onto one of the computers in our shared office. It's still a lot of fun after all these years, though I really don't like trying to use a keyboard. I just can't get the same level of touch on my moves, you know? How do computer people do it? Besides buying a controller, I mean.