Kirby's Dream Land 3 artwork
|First appearance||Kirby's Dream Land 2 (1995)|
|Latest appearance||Kirby Mass Attack (2011, in Kirby Quest)|
|Category||Final Boss, Boss|
Dark Matter (referred to as !? in Kirby's Dream Land 2's bad ending) are major villains in Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. Dark Matter take the form of a shadowy sphere with a single eye in the middle and a ring of with smaller orange (originally purple) spheres. They can possess someone to achieve their own purposes, and King Dedede almost always ends up being the victim.
"Dark Matter" does not necessarily refer to an individual, but rather any of a number of shadowy clouds. These clouds can reach the size of a planet from which they can break off of to wreak havoc on Pop Star or even envelop entire planets, as shown during their attack on Ripple Star. They appear to be a race capable of independent thought - Gooey is mentioned to be "made from the same stuff as Dark Matter", suggesting he is a docile individual who rebelled. This is confirmed in the Hoshi no Kirby 20th Anniversary Encyclopedia. Some generic enemies (such as Nidoo, Mariel and N-Z) also appear to be made out of Dark Matter, though not the entity's base form.
The Dark Matter race made its last major appearance in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, where they invaded the surrounding planets and broke the Power Crystal of Ripple Star. All of the Dark Matter clouds came together to form Dark Star, with 0² at the core. The mass of Dark Matter was eventually destroyed once Kirby and Ribbon beat 0². However, a Dark Matterlet has made at least one confirmed final boss appearence since (see below).
Dark Matter first confronts Kirby as a swordsman-like being. It attacks by dashing forward trying to stab Kirby, firing energy beams from its sword, and by kindling and launching dark energy orbs. Although Kirby can deal minor damage to Dark Matter with the Rainbow Sword itself, to significantly deplete its health Kirby must slice Dark Matter's energy orbs back at it. When defeated, Dark Matter turns into its true form and Kirby must fight it again while slowly sinking earthward. His true form is a black blob with a central eye and purple orbs surrounding it. This time it attacks in a pattern, first releasing its purple orbs at Kirby twice, then shooting dark beams in a circular motion twice, then launching itself forward three times, and finally shooting two thunderbolts from its eye three times. To ultimately defeat Dark Matter, Kirby has to repeatedly slash its spherical linings back at it during its first attack, similar to the swordsman battle, and then damage it directly during the rest of its attacks. If Dark Matter is not dispatched quickly enough, Kirby will reenter the atmosphere and begin taking a single point of damage at regular intervals, eventually resulting in a game over, similarly to the battle with Nightmare's orb form in Kirby's Adventure and its remake.
After its defeat, Dark Matter was banished. Kirby's animal friends and even an awakened King Dedede celebrated from Pop Star as their benefactor rode his Rainbow Sword through the air. With one last wave of the sword, Kirby restored the islands' rainbows and reversed Dark Matter's plans.
In Kirby's Dream Land 3, the Dark Matter race returns as the main antagonists. This time, it appears in the form of a giant cloud towering over Pop Star, and its forces possess King Dedede as well as Whispy Woods, Acro, Pon & Con and Ado in the far reaches of the land. Dedede is once again in an unnatural sleep. Obtaining all the Heart Stars of an area will relieve that level's boss of possession upon defeat. If Kirby collects all the Heart Stars and saves all the boss characters, he fights Dark Matter with the Love-Love Stick in the Hyper Zone (whether or not it is the same one from Kirby's Dream Land 2 is never stated). Dark Matter retains its thunderbolt attack, and its orb attack is modified to have the orbs home in on Kirby. After Kirby defeats Dark Matter, he comes face to face with Zero. After Kirby defeats Zero's eye, the Dark Matter threat is ended and everything returns to normal. Hyper Zone explodes, and Kirby flies home with Gooey.
Dark Matter is the first boss battle you will fight when entering the Hyper Zone (only unlocked when getting all Heart Stars). Dark Matter can fire its orange spheres at Kirby, and they will attempt to home onto him (though the hero can destroy them with the Love-Love Stick). Dark Matter can also blast black lightning out of its eye -- it will shoot a bolt of lightning in one direction, then another, then a third, and finally a fourth.
After beating this boss, Zero's boss battle will commence.Ripple Star and its population. Ribbon flies away on the power crystal which seems to be the only thing that can purge a Dark Matter from a victim without seriously harming the host in the process. Three Dark Matter follow her and shatter the crystal, the pieces of which fall across several different planets across the galaxy. Three Dark Matter (perhaps the ones that shattered the Power Crystal) possess a Waddle Dee (accidentally turning it into a Waddle Doo), a painter named Adeleine, and King Dedede because they each find a crystal shard (and join Kirby afterward). During the battle against Adeleine, the original Dark Matter from previous games will appear as one of the artist's paintings. She uses the attacks from Kirby's Dream Land 3 and is easily beatable.
The gang eventually reform the Power Crystal by defeating Miracle Matter, another being of Dark Matter. The cloud of darkness is lifted off Ripple Star and their adventure is seemingly over. However, the crystal apparently still senses the power of Dark Matter nearby, and it reacts by shooting a blast of light at the Queen Fairy (which only occurs when all the shards have been collected). It is revealed that she was possessed all along (which can be deciphered somewhat during the basic ending, in which she makes an evil smirk for a split second), however, and the powerful Dark Matter escapes to form Dark Star. Kirby travels to the core and encounters 0².
Once Kirby and Ribbon defeat 0², Dark Star is destroyed, seemingly along with all of the Dark Matter.
While neither Dark Matter nor Zero return as a primary antagonist, the game revolves around a mysterious treasure chest that was originally in King Dedede's possession. Kirby believes it is his Strawberry Shortcake stolen by the Squeaks, so he chases it throughout most of his journey. After defeating the defense presented by Daroach and Meta Knight, the contents of the chest are unsealed and possess the leader of the Squeaks, becoming Dark Daroach and escaping into Gamble Galaxy. After Kirby defeats Dark Daroach, the villain takes the form of a small star-shaped object and flees Kirby until it is cornered and shows its true form - Dark Nebula. While this is not stated in the game itself, Dark Nebula was confirmed to be a member of the Dark Matter in Hoshi no Kirby 20th Anniversary Encyclopedia. The original Dark Matter also makes a cameo along with other recurring antagonists in an unlockable picture.
Years later, Dark Matter would suddenly appear (noncanonically) in Kirby Mass Attack. It is the final boss of the Kirby Quest mode, and appears in both of its forms from its initial appearance. The swordsman and orb designs have been updated slightly to be larger and more intimidating than ever. If Kirby picked up Galaxia, it is super effective to both forms in reference to its original weakness to the Rainbow Sword. No form of Zero makes an appearance, however.
Dark Matter appears in the Kirby of the Stars pilot as one of the enemies created out of the plumes of smokes when the sky went dark. It looks like the form Kirby first fights in Kirby's Dream Land 3. Kirby freezes him with the Ice ability after he inhales the Ice Dragon.
Dark Matter is drawn in Paint Panic in Kirby: Canvas Curse. Dark Matter's swordsman form from Kirby's Dream Land 2 also appears in a collectible painting depicting various Kirby villains in Kirby: Squeak Squad. He is also one of the cards in Kirby Super Star Ultra's Card Swipe sub-game, again in his swordsman form.
- Dark Matter appears capable of altering its form so it is suited to whatever task it must carry out. This is first seen when Kirby first confronts a Dark Matter in Kirby's Dream Land 2, where he assumed the form of a masked swordsman, presumably to combat against the overwhelming strength of the Rainbow Sword. This would strangely be the first and only time that a Dark Matter ever displayed such abilities, as in all later appearances (except for Kirby Mass Attack), they would only possess others to combat Kirby with or fight in their natural state.
- The Swordsman form of Dark Matter has a laser attack with the same sound as Laser Ball from Kirby's Adventure.
- In Kirby's Dream Land 3, the intro video shows Dark Matter breaking through Pop Star's rings to get to the surface. When Kirby defeats Zero, the Dark Matter cloud explodes in the colors of Pop Star's rings (Blue, Yellow, and Red), presumably firing them back into Pop Star's atmosphere.
- In Kirby's Dream Land 3, Dark Matter was a simple circle with a white eye with a red iris and pupil, and orange circles lining it. In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, however, the orange circles are gone, it is more of a cloud than a circle, and its eye is still white with a red iris, but this time with a black pupil and orange spike-like marks extending from the iris, making for a more frightening appearance. The reason for this redesign is unknown, though it is likely to have been the difficulties of making 3D models of the original design.
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is the only game Dark Matter appears in where it does not directly fight Kirby.
- A Japanese player's guide for Kirby's Dream Land 2 states that the Dark Matter from that game targeted Pop Star because it grew jealous of Dream Land's lifestyle and it was lonely due to the fact no one wanted to be its friend. This, along with the unusual attack style of this particular Dark Matterlet, suggests that it might be a distinct villian in its own right rather than a simple pawn of Zero (who has no backstory).
- In addition, this Dark Matterlet comes out of King Dedede with a shape similar to the head of its swordsman form rather than as a simple gaseous cloud like other Dark Matterlets, supporting this hypothesis even more.
- Also, for a split second during its transformation (and during its attacks) in Kirby Mass Attack, its orbs are purple like its original form, and this is one of only two games (the other being Kirby: Squeak Squad) where a final boss Dark Matterlet can be attacked without using a final weapon (excluding Miracle Matter, who is not a final boss per se).