- This article is about the race course. For this course's music theme with the same name in the Super Smash Bros. series, see Air Ride: Checker Knights.
Checker Knights is the eighth course in the Air Ride mode of Kirby Air Ride. It is set in a bizarre pseudo-medieval area upon (and within) a vast lake and features a lengthy track with lots of different sections, rails, ramps, and shortcuts. It is by far the longest and most complex race course in Kirby Air Ride, though the default number of laps run on it is still two.
Checker Knights has by far the longest and most convoluted track in Kirby Air Ride, with the race taking place in multiple sections both above and below the water, and using more distinct types of enemies and hazards than any other course in the game as well. Despite the complexity, the track does not branch off very much, so it is a straightforward affair. The starting line can be found on the upper flat portion of the track near the right-hand side, and moves an a more-or-less clockwise fashion from there. It begins with three sharp turns, leading through a path that splits into a small trench with a Dash Panel at the bottom. From here, the path turns right around a rocky formation which can be broken into to reveal a slightly faster hidden path, followed by a similar bend and hidden path leading left. From there, a sharp u-turn leads to a wide portion of the road where ramps regularly pop up and down from the floor. This leads to a series of four parallel rails that lead deep into the water, revealing a hitherto unknown world. Along the way, part of the rail can be grinded upon to gain speed.
The path continues along a winding metal road with more short rails along the sides before reaching a tube of rotating segments. This in turn leads to a chute that bends further until passing through a boost ring and using an air lift to rise back out of the water and reach the next portion of the track. From here, the path winds upward to the left in a corkscrew fashion while the path is riddled with Spin Panels. This leads to an incomplete pipe section that turns right before returning to a normal-looking winding pathway. After another sharp u-turn, the path leads through a series of tight labyrinth-like corridors, where the racers may be able to get enough lift to jump over the main wall, then passes along a long straight road lined with Dash Panels and floor panels that cause a wall in the chamber up ahead to extend or retract. Passing through this last interior space leads back to the finish line, and finishes the lap.
Setting and enemies
The setting of Checker Knights is difficult to describe plainly. The background features grassy hills with tree-like structures rising out in places, though this "vegetation" is rather sparse. The course itself is set within a vast lake, though the water itself seems to be insubstantial. The main architecture above the water level resembles an abstract medieval castle, though rendered in a colorful checkered pattern reminiscent of the structures found in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. There are lots of floating blocks around the course which add to the abstract nature of the scenery. Heading below the water level reveals a seemingly bottomless chasm of lights and other futuristic structures that cannot be made out clearly (it may be a photo of a real world city at night). The architecture below the water is metallic and futuristic, though it retains the abstract and checkered style seen above.
Checker Knights features the largest array of enemies of any course in Kirby Air Ride. Every ability-granting enemy except for Noddy and Pichikuri can be found here. Additionally, Gordos appear in large numbers near the end of the course in the later laps of Time Attack mode.
The following are all of the checklist objectives that specifically pertain to Checker Knights:
|Air Ride: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish 2 laps in under 02:40:00!||Music: Air Ride: Checker Knights|
|Air Ride: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish 2 laps in under 03:05:00!||Machine: Slick Star|
|Air Ride: CHECKER KNIGHTS Race over 5,500 feet in 2 minutes!||None||Must be done in Time mode, rather than Laps mode.|
|CHECKER KNIGHTS: Break at least 2 walls and finish in 1st place!||None||the player must be the one to break the walls.|
|CHECKER KNIGHTS: Swallow over 20 enemies and finish in 1st place!||None||Includes Inhaling and spitting neutral creatures.|
|CHECKER KNIGHTS: Use spin panels 7 times or more and take 1st place!||Music: Green Greens||Alternative music for the course Checker Knights. This version of the Green Greens theme sounds similar to the arrangement used in Super Smash Bros. Melee.|
|Free Run: CHECKER KNIGHTS Do 1 lap under 01:25:00 on Rocket Star!||None|
|Free Run: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish 1 lap in under 01:20:00!||None|
|Free Run: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish 1 lap in under 01:35:00!||None|
|Time Attack: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish in under 03:55:00 on Warpstar!||None|
|Time Attack: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish in under 04:00:00!||None|
|Time Attack: CHECKER KNIGHTS Finish in under 04:30:00!||None|
- On the box art for Kirby Air Ride, Kirby is seen racing on a course with a similar checkerboard texture to the Checker Knights track.
- The main music for this course originally came from the Kirby anime Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, and has since been used as a bonus track in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Destruction Derby also shares this music track.
Meta Knight at the start of the race
Names in other languages
- Taken from in-game in the Japanese version upon starting the course