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Kirby Air Ride

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Title Screen

Kirby Air Ride

Also known as: Kirby's Air Ride (JP)
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: GameCube
Released in JP: June 9, 2003
Released in US: October 13, 2003
Released in EU: February 20, 2004
Released in AU: March 30, 2004
Released in KR: May 1, 2004

AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

To do:
The description of this video lists more differences between the Japanese and international versions:

Kirby Air Ride is a mascot racer along the lines of Super Mario Kart, except featuring Kirby and friends. It has several distinct modes of play, such as standard racing, a top-down mode reminiscent of RC Pro Am or Super Off-Road, and an odd "adventure mode" called City Trial, where you spend time gathering powerups then compete in a battle with other players. It... works better than it sounds.


Debug Mode
Read about one of the largest debug modes in a GameCube game!

Boot-Up Message Log

This game sends a few debug logs to GameCube hardware during the startup process, but this is never seen by the player when using a retail GameCube. GameCube/Wii emulator Dolphin can receive and display these logs by enabling the logging feature (View->Show Log). Super Smash Bros. Melee, another game developed by HAL, has similar debug logs.

Note that "DbLevel" is reported as 3 if the debug mode code is used.

# ---------------------------------------------
#    Kirby's Airride 
# DATE Aug 18 2003  TIME 16:53:51
# ROM 0308181653 Dist us DbLevel 0
# Language us
# DbHideForceTurnOn 0
# Arena Size 18 MB
# ARAM Free Size 3 MB(3848960)

Unused Levels

There are six unused level maps, all of which are accessible through the Debug Menu.


Unused level DUMMY

A seemingly empty room, presumably for testing driving at odd angles. Kirby drives upside-down the bottom of large collision plane (viewable by pressing X + D-pad Down). The plane does have edges, and if Kirby drives off, he will flip to his usual upright position, and begin falling endlessly.


Unused level TEST

This ice-themed race track features a short lap, some star-shaped marks on the ground that don't seem to function, and a small tunnel before the finish line.

Note that the game will normally crash when trying to load this track unless the ENEMY REQ setting is switched to OFF. However, with the use of codes, this track can be played with ENEMY REQ set to ON. Enemies (mostly Broom Hatters and Scarfies) will spawn near the finish line.

(Source: gabrielwoj)


Unused level TEST6

Appears to be a driving test environment, laid out in the manner of the Drag Race levels. To the left is a large square area containing Japanese characters that represent different types of terrain, like grass, water, etc. It can only be accessed by turning around at the start and driving across a piece of invisible ground.

Kirby can drive off the terrain test as the entire map has collision. He can go back to the Drag Race area at any point, but cannot go back out of it as a one-way wall of sorts is in place around the Drag Race. Driving off the map will eventually result in Kirby falling; after some time, the drop notice shows up for a split second and Kirby dies.

There is a finish line on the north end of the track and a peg at the beginning, but it is otherwise a feature-less plank.


Unused level TEST7

Similar to TEST6, this level is laid out like a Drag Race. However, there are five steps where the level drops down with increasing grade. The first two drops aren't steep enough to cause Warpstar to fly, but the latter three are. By the time you get to the bottom of the fifth step, the drop notice activates.

Strangely, the notice also activates if Kirby turns around and goes behind the start, showing that the notice is not triggered by a set height.

There is a finish line at the end of the track, a non-solid, checkered wall to the left, and a simple mountainous skybox not used elsewhere in the game. The track itself is snowy.

Unused skybox from TEST7


Unused level SIMPLE

This track freezes the game. The Crash Debugger reveals that the cause of the crash is "assertion "addr" failed in initialize.c on line 397". One interesting thing to note is that this track's model data (GrSimpleModel.dat) is the largest non-movie file in the whole game. The game runs out of RAM trying to load the model file (GrSimpleModel.dat) because of its sheer size, primarily caused by the uncompressed textures, and it would take up almost 80% of usable RAM alone (18MB is usable). This is a test map, with various slopes and rotating objects that have textures containing Japanese letters for surface types. In order to play this, the textures must be converted from RGBA8 to CMPR. The patch below automatically does this, drastically reducing the level's file size.

Download.png Download GrSimpleModel.dat Patched
File: (1.97 MB) (info)
(Patched file: container12345)
(Source: redfuzzydice)


Unused level SIMPLE2

This comprehensive test environment contains every course feature in the game, marked with convenient labels should you happen to know how to read Japanese. Various terrain types, obstacles, moving surfaces, grind rails, and destructible objects can all be tested here.

This map is a big square world and has no finish line.

Unused Top Ride Item


A strange unused item named "UsiroYurerun" (translating to "Waver Behind") can be found in the game's Top Ride mode. Only accessible via the Debug Menu, picking up the item will trigger an unusually loud sound effect (that is also unused otherwise) and will create a large image distortion behind the player's vehicle. The exact purpose of this item is unknown, but it can be assumed it was used to confuse your enemies in some way.

The reason for its removal is also a mystery, but it was most likely because of its buggy nature. This item can cause random flickering of the HUD.

The item plays two sound effects, one overlapping the other. These go unused as well but can be played in the Debug Menu's Sound Test.

They are located at the very end of the "2D_ITEM" SFX Group.

Its effects



Unused & Early Graphics

Drop Notice

The Kirby Air Ride drop notice icon

There's a curious alert that triggers if Kirby falls near a death plane. This can happen in cases where you can use a glitch to get beneath the game world, but the easiest way to see it is to have your machine destroyed over one of the holes in Destruction Derby 1 and have Kirby fall into the hole (if he is killed on his vehicle, he will respawn before the notice appears). While it activates near death planes, the cutscene showing Kirby falling and respawning usually plays before this alert has time to trigger. It blinks faster the closer Kirby is to the actual death plane.

The icon is accompanied by the following sound:

Early IfAllTMP.dat Graphics

These files are all found in IfAllTMP.dat.

The early Top Ride results screen

This screenshot has an early version of Top Ride/2D Air Ride results screen. What's weird is that all players share the same stats, most likely for debugging.

The translations are as follows:

Original Text Translation
エアライド2D Air Ride 2D
風の草原 Windy Grasslands
3周/(cut off)有り/スピード差あり/地形変化あり 3 laps/with (cut off)/with speed difference/with terrain changes
最高時速 205Km/h Fastest Speed: 205 Km/h
平均時速 122km/h Average Speed: 122 Km/h
移動距離 2534m Travelled Distance: 2534m
攻撃 21回 Attacked: 21 times
スピン 4回 Spin: 4 times
アイテム取得 32回 Items Obtained: 32 times
アイテム使用 18回 Items Used: 18 times
アイテムつなげ 24回 Item Connected: 24 times
他パラメータ 444個 Other Parameters: 444

(Translation: Pilzkopf, Divingkataetheweirdo)

An unused plane machine? This image seems to be an early banner.

Crash Debugger

Unused Debugger

A crash debugger can be seen upon a game crash while using the debug mode. The cause of the crash can also be seen when scrolling the debugger and the game's logs can also be found.

Regional Differences

To do:
Check other versions.

Title Screen

Japan US/Europe
Where is START button?
So you meant START/PAUSE button

The Japanese version is known as "Kirby's Airride". "PRESS START" is changed to the more accurate "PRESS START/PAUSE".


Japan USA Europe
Let's aim for the best time
Let's aim for 100% completion
US is better than us!

The default option of Records screen is switched. "Best Records" is the default in Japanese version, but "Checklist" is the default in the US one. Also "Records" is known as "Data" in the European version.


Japan US/Europe
How many challenges are there?
Enjoy 120 challenges

The US version added the number of completed challenges and total challenges to the Checklist screen.

Other Differences

  • While all versions have the same vehicles, in the Japanese version all of the vehicles are lighter which makes them faster to race with.
  • The previews from the Main Menu are different in the European version.
  • Just like in Super Smash Bros., the graphic that appears at the end of a timed game (such as City Trial) reads "Time Up" in Japan and "Time!" everywhere else.
  • Distances are measured in meters in the Japanese and European versions and feet in the US version. Likewise, the speedometer measures kilometers per hour in the Japanese and European versions and miles per hour in the US version.
  • The file structure of the North American version contains an empty "US" folder under within the audio folder, with all audio put in the "JP" folder. The game has no voice acting, so why such a folder would exist is unclear.