The Meta-Knights are a group of star warriors led by Meta Knight and are featured in several games in the series. For the most part, the Meta-Knights are incredibly loyal to their master and would do anything to protect him.
While the NTSC and PAL versions of the game loosely refer to the entire group of knights as the Meta-Knights, in Japan, there is a slight difference in what exactly "Meta-Knights" refers to. The term メタナイツ (Metanaitsu), meaning "Meta Knights" refers to Axe Knight, Javelin Knight, Trident Knight, and Mace Knight - the four main combat-oriented members of the group who fought Kirby as early as in Kirby's Adventure.
The larger organization itself, which only features in Revenge of Meta Knight is called メタナイト軍団 (Metanaito gundan), meaning "Meta Knight's Corps" from Meta Knight's trophy description in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This broader categorization includes personnel on the Halberd from Meta Knight at the top, Captain Vul, Sailor Dee, Axe Knight, and Mace Knight, right down to regular enemies defending the ship, and Wheelies powering it in the Reactor.
The known members of this band of star warriors are:
- Meta Knight (Leader)
Kirby's Adventure and Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
The original Meta-Knights (Axe Knight, Javelin Knight, Mace Knight, and Trident Knight) first appeared as Mini-bosses in Kirby's Adventure alongside their chivalrous master. Each of the knights are masters of their own specific weapon. Not much information was given about them, except for their likeliness and alliance with Meta Knight, and they were given minimal to no characterization. Kirby encounters them for their first time in the second level, Ice Cream Island, and then fights them once per level up until the last level (Rainbow Resort).
While Meta Knight apparently has legions of warriors serving under him, judging by the following games, these four are his main foot-soldiers.
In the remake, the normal boss music does not play, instead, a remix of the mini-boss theme from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is played.
Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra
In Kirby Super Star, the Meta-Knights re-accompanied their master on a full-on assault of Dream Land with their powerful warship - the Halberd. But their plan ended early when the ship was taken down and crashed down below into Orange Ocean, thanks to Kirby. The group or warriors seemingly disbanded after the destruction of the Halberd, as they haven't appeared since then, nor did they appear when the Halberd flew again during the events of Kirby: Squeak Squad. The Meta-Knights seem to be unable to survive in water; in Milky Way Wishes in Super Star and its remake, in the area where the Copy Essence Deluxe for Sword is found on Aquarius, the Meta-Knights are seen guarding the door to the area, and when Kirby attacks them, the knockback usually gets them in the water, and they explode inside it. This was also hinted when the Halberd was crash-landing in the Secret Sea -- the Meta-Knights survived the explosions of the Halberd, but had to escape due to the fact that they were crash landing in water.
The Halberd is controlled by Meta Knight himself, the four aforementioned knights, Captain Vul, and a sailor hat-wearing Waddle Dee. After the Halberd is destroyed, Waddle Dee and the other four knights seemingly stay loyal, and vow to stay with Meta Knight to the end. Captain Vul on the other hand, was first to evacuate the Halberd prior to the crash, so it can be assumed that he distanced himself from Meta Knight almost immediately afterward.
Originally, Mace Knight and Axe Knight were Meta Knight's loyal sidekicks, since they refused to leave him when the ship was going down. They stayed with Meta Knight to fight Kirby one last time. In the anime, they were replaced by Sword Knight and Blade Knight.
Kirby Super Star Ultra also introduces two more members of his crew. In Meta Knightmare Ultra, Meta Knight can call upon Sword Knight and Blade Knight to help aid him in his galactic conquest. Although they were already prominent enemies in the series, they were never closely associated with him. They also serve under Meta Knight in the anime, almost always by his side. They are believed to be either apprentices or body guards in this appearance.
In the ending credits for Meta Knightmare Ultra only Captain Vul, Sailor Dee, and Ax Knight makes a brief cameo in a snapshot with Meta Knight, in the interior of the Halberd.
Kirby Mass Attack
They finally appear in an original game as part of the Kirby Quest and Strato Patrol EOS minigames. The four knights will attack Kirby before he can advance inside the Halberd to defeat Meta Knight. The order is Javelin Knight, Mace Knight, Trident Knight, and Ax Knight. Their attacks are also more effective, powerful and can cover long distances.
Swords are used by Sword and Blade Knights. Fortunately, these swords are standard issue (unlike their leader's). Among some swordsmen, these swords can release a beam called Sword Beam, but only if fired by full health or energy focus.
Flails are only used by Mace Knights. Like the Yo-yo ability, it also swings like a handed boomerang.
Axes are used by Ax Knights. They are of the twin-bladed variant, and can be thrown further than the maces can be swung.
Javelins are used by Javelin Knights, even though they're not normally knight weapons. They fly similarly to Cupid's arrows.
Tridents, also not a weapon normally used by knights, are used by Trident Knights. They are either thrown at or jetted into their enemy (a feature only seen in Kirby Super Star and its remake).
The Battleship Halberd
Halberd is the warship of the Meta-Knights. Staying features are the laser of the Combo Cannon, the bat-like wings, and Meta Knight's mask. In early versions, the underside of the Halberd is like a ship, a color red glider, but not in the remake of Super Star, which is a long cannon and several cannons. Also, it has many Tri-Cannons mounted on the rear bottom and lower sides.
- The Meta-Knights are the only Mid-bosses not to appear in The Arena or The True Arena.