Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (known in Japan as Hoshi no Kirby 64, translated to "Kirby of the Stars 64") is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer developed by HAL and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 on March 24, 2000 (in Japan), June 26, 2000 (in North America), and June 22, 2001 (in Europe).
The sixth main installment of the Kirby series (starring the pink puffball of the same name), The Crystal Shards expands on the previous platformers by introducing 3D graphics (still in a 2D movement plane) and the ability to merge two abilities together into a single powerful ability (giving him 35 total abilities). While Kirby does not have any animal friends or multiplayer "Helpers" from some of his previous games, he can enlist Waddle Dee, and Adeleine, and King Dedede for help at certain points in the game. The game also includes some some competitive multiplayer mini-games (for up to four players, with each player as either Kirby, Waddle Dee, Adeleine, or King Dedede).
The game's story involves the Crystal, a sacred treasure of Ripple Star (a planet populated by fairies). When the planet is invaded by Dark Matter, one of the fairies (Ribbon) escapes with the Crystal only to crash land onto Pop Star (with the Crystal shattered into many pieces throughout the galaxy). It's up to Kirby and his friends to gather all the Crystal Shards throughout six different planets and cleanse Ripple Star of Dark Matter.
The Crystal Shards was digitally re-released (via Virtual Console) for both the Wii (on February 25, 2008) and the Wii U (on July 30, 2015). The Wii version was also used in the Kirby's Dream Collection compilation to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series.
While there are seven core abilities in the game, Kirby can merge two abilities into one combination ability (by either inhaling both ability enemies at the same time, by spitting an ability enemy onto another, or by transferring his ability into an Ability Star and throwing it an ability enemy to create a combination Ability Star). There are twenty-eight combination abilities in the game.
- Bomb: Allows Kirby to throw bombs in front of him.
- Cutter: Kirby throws his face in the shape of a boomerang. His walking speed is slower when using this ability.
- Fire: Kirby transforms into a ball of fire that propels him forward for a brief amount of time.
- Ice: Kirby breathes ice that freezes enemies when hit.
- Needle: Kirby grows spikes that kill enemies, Kirby also sticks to any surface when using this ability.
- Spark: Electricity surrounds Kirby, hurting any enemy that he touches.
- Stone: Kirby turns to stone and squashes anything that's under him, Kirby can still move around in this form but the ability stops if Kirby falls off a ledge.
- Bomb+Bomb: Kirby shoots up to 3 rockets from his mouth.
- Bomb+Cutter: Kirby throws ninja stars that explode on impact with an enemy.
- Bomb+Fire: Kirby shoots fireworks and can launch himself in the air.
- Bomb+Ice: Kirby turns into a snowman that detonates on impact with an enemy.
- Bomb+Needle: Kirby turns into a Gordo, and when Kirby explodes he shoots needles around him.
- Bomb+Spark: Kirby turns into a light bulb that explodes after a brief amount of time.
- Bomb+Stone: Kirby throws dynamite that explodes after a brief amount of time. This can also damage Kirby if the player does not push down to put Kirby's hard hat on.
- Cutter+Cutter: Much like the stand alone Cutter ability, except the range of the Boomerang is bigger and the actual Boomerang is bigger.
- Cutter+Fire: Kirby gets a fire sword that he can swing around. The sword can be thrown and can also hurt enemies when it is dragged from behind.
- Cutter+Ice: Kirby puts on ice skates and skates along the level.
- Cutter+Needle: Kirby's arms grow into fangs that close when Kirby is on the ground to attack anything around Kirby.
- Cutter+Spark: Kirby uses a light saber-esque weapon to attack enemies.
- Cutter+Stone: Kirby transforms into stone, and then carves himself into some of Kirby's friends. The friends include Rick the Hamster, Coo the Owl, Kine the Fish, Pitch the Bird, Chuchu the Octopus, and Nago the cat.
- Fire+Fire: Much like the stand alone fire ability. Except Kirby travels further in a ball of fire, and there is more fire so the range is larger.
- Fire+Ice: Kirby gets put into a block of ice, which then melts away.
- Fire+Needle: Kirby transforms into a bow that shoots flaming arrows.
- Fire+Spark: Kirby gets caught on fire making him run around, hurting any enemies he touches.
- Fire+Stone: Kirby transforms into a volcano, and is able to shoot rocks at enemies.
- Ice+Ice: Kirby rolls into a big snowball, hurting any enemy he touches.
- Ice+Needle: Kirby transforms into a giant snowflake.
- Ice+Spark: Kirby transforms into a refrigerator, and can hurl food at enemies. Kirby can also eat the food to regain life.
- Ice+Stone: Kirby transforms into a curling stone that slides along the ground.
- Needle+Needle: Similar to the stone alone needle ability, except the spikes are longer. The spikes are actually a fork, a needle, a bee's sting, a cactus, a corkscrew, a pencil, and protractor.
- Needle+Spark: Kirby transforms into a needle that conducts lightning.
- Needle+Stone: Kirby has a power drill that drags him forward, hurting the enemies it hits.
- Spark+Spark: Similar to the stand alone spark ability, except the spark is larger.
- Spark+Stone: Kirby spits out a large rock that is lassoed by electricity, giving it a boomerang effect.
- Stone+Stone: Similar to the stand alone stone ability, except Kirby is much bigger.