KIRBY BOWL
( Kirby's Dream Course )
game Cover
game cartridge
カービィボウル
©1994 Hal Laboratory Inc.
©1994 Nintendo
Release: 1994-09-21 (¥7900)
Cartridge SHVC-CG
Mini Golf

American Version
country
Released in America as
KIRBY'S DREAM COURSE
( SNS-CG-USA )

European Version
European Version
country
Released in Europe as
KIRBY'S DREAM COURSE
( SNSP-CG-XXX )
Kirby Bowl is an isometric action/mini golf game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo. The ever cute and popular pink Kirby returns as the main protagonist in this unusual spin off. The evil King Dedede has stolen all the stars from the sky, and Kirby rushes off to the villain's floating castle to save Dream Land once again. The player is charged with the task of helping the titular character completing all kind of levels designed like cute miniature golf courses. But here, unlike other tiles in the franchise, Kirby acts as a golf ball and the player has to push the little round character and send him into exit holes in order to progress through the game. However, these exit holes are nowhere to be seen at the beginning of each level. In practice, Kirby has to hit all the enemies found on the course first, and the last enemy then magically turns into the exit that leads to the next stage. Kirby Bowl, despite its non-traditional nature for a Kirby game, still holds onto what made the series so popular in the first place. Our puffball can obtain different abilities from his enemies, and can turn into an U.F.O, grow sharp spikes or float with the help of an umbrella. He can also do a large variety of moves (jump over obstacles, spin or bounce) and the player often has to strategically balance strength and spin to achieve the perfect shot. Additionally, before making a shot, the player can even plot his next move and visualize the ideal trajectory! Finally, Kirby's life is symbolized by small red tomatoes - he loses one each time he makes a shot, and wins one each time he hits an enemy or finishes a hole. If he loses all his tomatoes then he loses a life, and once all the lives are gone then the game is over. Kirby Bowl consists of eight courses made out of eight holes each and also includes a two-player versus mode.
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>Special Tee Shot Interestingly, Kirby Bowl was not originally intended to endorse any particular franchise. The first version of the game was apparently developed by Nintendo around 1992 and called Special Tee Shot. Additionally, this first version didn't even feature Kirby at all! The main character was a cute little red ball with googly eyes and the game used the same core gameplay as Kirby Bowl. But the ball couldn't steal powers from his enemies and could only gain a Power Shot (which doubled the strength for the next shot). The player also didn't need to defeat all the enemies on the playfield to make the exit hole appear. Special Tee Shot was never officially realized on cartridge, but it was apparently broadcasted by Nintendo via the Stellaview System in 1996 (pictures on the right), and this exclusively in Japan. Interestingly, Special Tee Shot was featured at the back of the box of the early Super Nintendo system console in the United States (from the Super NES Control Set), with a short description - "Blast the ball off the tee to clink and clank as it bounces off of wacky obstacles on a sky-high, high-tech golf course of the future! The Super NES accurately plots the path of your shot for the most realistic and fun feel in a golf game yet!". It was also mentioned in the Nintendo Power magazine from June 1992 (Vol.37) and described there as a "hybrid golf/billiards game" (and even included a screen shot) - so Special Tee Shot was definitively in development at Nintendo in 1992, which was further confirmed by the discovery of a prototype cartridge in 2004 (and seemingly also dated 1992).

>Kirby Bowl - introduction sequence There is an interesting difference between the Japan release of Kirby Bowl and the American and European versions. The animated introduction sequence (picture on the left) was completely removed, probably in an attempt to keep the production cost down (the Japanese version has a ROM size of 10 Mbits, whereas the American and European versions is 8 Mbits).

Teaser text from the American version:
Zip across checkerboard fairways high above the earth! Scan the course and check out the obstacles ahead. Get ready for the most surprising game play imaginable in Kirby's battle against King Dedede! This checkboard challenge brings outrageous hazards and bizarre surfaces. Warp panels instantly transport you to new and exciting challenges. Conveyer belts provide higher levels of adventure. Turntables take the action in a whole new direction. Gordo, Kracko, Whispy Woods and a cast of zany characters await you. Gain special powers including Fireball, Freeze, Spark and Parasol. Transform your enemies into stars revealing eight hidden cups of each wildly different course. Control the force and angle of your shot and sink Kirby for a hole-in-one!

Game Staff (Copied from the American version's end credits) :

Director
Takashi Saito

Programmers
Tetsuya Abe
Teruyuki Gunji
Seiji Otoguro
Yoshimi Takahashi
Makoto Kanai
Satoshi Mitsuhara
Kei Nakajima

Map CAD Programmers
Hiroaki Suga
Takumi Kawagoe
C.G. Designers
Shigeru Hashiguchi
Tadashi Hashikura
Kazuya Miura

Map Designers
Shinichi Shimomura
Kensuke Tanabe
Hideki Fujii

Music Composer
Hirokazu Ando

Originally Designed
Tatsuya Hishida
Shinya Takahashi
Special Thanks To
Satoshi Ishida
Chieko Obikane
Hironobu kakui
Shigeki Yamashiro
Takaaki Kazuno
Senji Kirose
Masaya Akiyama
Shane C Allala
Jim Wornell
Dan Owsen
Producers
Shigeru Miyamoto
Satoru Iwata

Co-Producers
Yasuhiro Sakai
Takao Shimizu

Executive producer
Hiroshi Yamauchi


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Kirby Bowl - Japanese Guide Book
Japanese Guide Book


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Kirby Bowl manual
Click on picture to enlarge

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Kirby Bowl is an incredible and addictive game. Despite featuring a concept that sounds appallingly simple at first glance, the game still manages to deliver an intricate and quite complex gameplay. And this, I find absolutely amazing. The different powers that Kirby picks up from his enemies add an incredible dimension to the game and are seamlessly integrated with the gameplay. For instance, some holes look tricky to complete at first, but a strategic use of the umbrella or the rock powers can help you achieve a hole-in-one in no time! All in all, Kirby Bowl is a delightful and incredibly polished game, and with enough replay value to keep you coming back for more. Granted, it will take you quite a while to completely master that one, but this is what makes Kriby Bowl such a compelling game. Another Nintendo (and HAL) masterpiece.




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