REVIEW – 3D Classics: Kid Icarus

Flying Closer To The Sun –

Back in March 2012, Nintendo released Kid Icarus as part of their revival 3D Classics series.  If fans pre-ordered Kid Icarus Uprising, a download code for Pit’s original adventure was rewarded or 3DS users can download this game for $6 via the eShop.  However, Nintendo is currently including this game as part of their Club Nintendo program for a limited time.

Just like 3D Classics Kirby’s Adventure and Excitebike, Kid Icarus is developed by Akira and included several new features over the original.  First and most noticeable is the ability to play in 3D complete with newly designed detailed backgrounds.  The original game featured simple black static backgrounds but this was common for a late 80’s NES title.  But the most welcomed new feature is the ability to save after each stage.  There is no longer a need to write down and input a tedious and confusing password.  The developers also included the option to change the control scheme too.  Personally, I disliked the default control scheme but was able to tweak everything exactly to my liking.

Grim Reapers are a pain and release mini reapers as well as special music

Grim Reapers are a pain and release mini reapers as well as special music

All the new features make Kid Icarus more playable than ever.  However, one negative omission is the complete lack of an onboard instruction manual.  Even though anyone can figure out the basics, jump and attack, but not knowing what the barrel, wand, mallet and feather do is painful trial and error if players do not look at online FAQs.  It would have been nice to read about the story, monsters and other tidbits found in instruction manuals of yesteryear too.  The developers did include a feature that saves your top high scores when the campaign is finished but the lack of online leaderboard support makes this a moot addition.

Would have been nice to know what each item does

Would have been nice to know what each item does

Kid Icarus was a standout title back in the late 80’s and made by the same team that created the original Metroid.  In case you have not played this cult favorite, players control Pit, a bow equipped angel as he fights Medusa and her monsters in Angel Land.  From a 2D side scrolling point of view, Pit must fight random monsters, platform, and navigate treacherous dungeons that require light puzzle solving.  Uniquely, many levels are vertically scrolling as opposed to the Mario-standard of running from left to right.  Also, these vertically scrolling levels use what I like to call the “Word Wrap” feature where if you walk off the right side of the screen the player magically appears on the left.  Dungeons also play out like a dungeon in classic Zelda where players can move forward and backward through different screens at will instead of only traveling in one direction.  This might sound like a generic feature to highlight but it was truly something unique back in the early NES days.

These flying eyeballs were super scary back in the NES days

These flying eyeballs were super scary back in the NES days

One important aspect to note is Kid Icarus’ difficulty.  In short, this game is hard – NES hard.  In fact, this game was so difficult back on the NES that I doubt that most players never got through the first dungeon.  But the gamers that were never able to finish Kid Icarus should be able to do it with this 3D Classic version thanks to the new save system and customizable controls.  It is funny because Kid Icarus is also a sidescrolling shooter but most gamers never made it that far into the game to experience these new types of stages and gameplay elements.

Some boss battles are harder than others and some return in Uprising

Some boss battles are harder than others and some return in Uprising

With all the new changes, the developers have wisely chosen to not mess with the game’s superb soundtrack.  From the opening theme to the haunting dungeon music, Kid Icarus has one of the most memorable soundtracks and sound effects found on the NES.  In fact, the soundtrack is so well received that I wish there was a music player mode found in the options menu.  It is that good and worth the price of admission alone.

Almost 25 years later, the original Kid Icarus still holds up today thanks to all the new features implemented in this 3D Classics remake.  Although the difficulty will deter some players, there has never been a better way to experience Pit’s original quest.

4/5

Also Check Out: Kid Icarus of Myths and Monsters (GB)

Better Than: playing it on NES

Wait For It: 3D Classics: Star Tropics

By: Zachary Gasiorowski

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