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It's the Care Cats!

Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel Dream Adventure

I thought it was mere coincidence that Hello Kitty World was a licensed game that didn't suck. To the contrary, it appears that Sanrio has kidnapped the real Shigeryu Miyamoto (the one who gave us Super Mario Bros. and The Legend Of Zelda) and put him to work creating games for them, filling his post at Nintendo with the robot duplicate responsible for Paper Zelda The Wind Waker. For here is another Hello Kitty game, and it is one of the best GameBoy sidescrollers I've ever seen.

Plot

Gotta love the sparse hair on Dear Daniel there. I guess cats bald in reverse or something.

Unlike Hello Kitty World, Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel Dream Adventure (henceforth abbreviated HKDD,) doesn't give us a picture-bubble exposition. Instead, there's text and pictures for an intro, meaning you have to read Japanese to fully understand the plot. Still, I can make a good guess at the story:

Hello Kitty and a male cat, who I'm assuming is the titular Dear Daniel, are on a date or something somewhere in Europe. Dear Daniel buys Hello Kitty a bunny doll, which she appreciates immensely. Hello Kitty wakes up later that night to find the doll up and about, admiring itself in what appears to be a hand mirror. The bunny doll walks up to the full-length mirror in the room, and Hello Kitty somehow falls into the mirror or something, which serves as a portal to...somewhere. (A somewhere which seems to be Earth, but I digress.) Hello Kitty and the bunny doll get some undoubtedly wise advice from Hello Owl, and set about in search of Dear Daniel, though why he would be in mirror-world as well is anyone's guess. They find him, but he seems to not remember Kitty or something, so Kitty and bunnydoll set about getting things from various other Hello Animals in an attempt to restore his memory. If someone could point me to a fantranslation I'd be much obliged.

Gameplay

"This is when my class went on a field trip to the Grand Canyon and Hello Bear threw up on the bus."

Since HKDD is obviously a kid-targeted game, it's on the easier side, but not to the point of being boring. (And there are some downright tricky bits later on.) Hello Kitty visits a series of levels all over the world, in sequential order. The levels are generally pretty straightforward. To keep things fresh, Kitty occasionally finds a new outfit which gives her special abilities when she wears it (Mountain Climber Kitty can grapple-hook the ceiling, Martial Artist Kitty can break certain blocks, etc.) Every so often, a level will culminate in a showdown with one of the various other Hello Animals over a certain item that Kitty wants (Hello Mouse has a bow, Hello Raccoon has a heart-tipped arrow, etc.) The showdowns are certainly one of the neatest parts, since they break from normal gameplay in favor of different contests (i.e. a mountain-climbing race with Hello Raccoon.) Overall, it's a bit simplistic, but stays pretty fresh.

Music/Sound

Squaring off with Hello Mouse to "Orpheus In The Underworld." How much better can it get?

Jaw-dropping. This is the best music I've ever heard on a GBC. Why? Because it's almost all classical, with a few American folktunes thrown in for good measure. And not just your run-of-the-mill lame classical adaptations, either; this game actually makes them sound good. When was the last time Jupiter, Bringer Of Jollity was decently adapted to a device with just three tonal channels? Never, that's when. But HKDD would make Holst proud. And Mozart. (Eine Kleine Nachtmusic? Who'da thunk it?) And everyone else who wrote the songs in this game. My only gripe is that it's not always the full song, but on the whole, classical music simply has not sounded this good since Lemmings. The music alone is reason enough to get this game.

Graphics

Hello Kitty as a martial artist has to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

Remember what I said about graphics in my review of Hello Kitty World? Hello Kitty games look good because she was designed as a decoration for things, and this game is no exception. The colors are perfect, the backgrounds are jaw-dropping, and the animation is smooth. Of particular note are the "photo album" entries, which you get by finding a hidden camera in each level. Other GBC games like Super Mario DX had this feature, but their "photos," while decent, are utterly outclassed by this game. Each of the photos features Kitty seen against a gorgeously-drawn backdrop of wherever she happened to be for that level. The cutscenes are also quite good (in one excellent tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kitty and Daniel are visited by a UFO while the Blue Danube waltz plays.) I didn't think it was possible for the GBC to look this good.

Conclusion

If you do one thing today, that thing should be getting this game. I just hope that Sanrio gave poor Shigeryu a double allotment of bread and water for the design on this game.

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