With the release of Super Smash Brothers Brawl, I was curious as to where exactly Pit came from. With how many games I've played, I was amazed that I'd never actually even heard of Kid Icarus. Especially because it was a very successful and popular video game in the NES days, where I began my gaming. It may be late, but I'm glad I went back and played the original Kid Icarus. Also, if anyone is interested, it has been released on the Wii's virtual console and it should only cost you 500 Wii Points to download.
Kid Icarus is about Pit. He's on a quest to save the world from the evil demon Medusa who is plotting to kill all the mortals. Just like every NES game, the story is simple and straight forward. Kid Icarus has a lot of great gameplay elements to it as well. Imagine if Mario and Zelda were combined to make the perfect game and that's pretty much what Kid Icarus is. The levels are side scrolling levels very much like Mario, but you can also go into doors and purchase items like in Zelda.
There are four worlds in Kid Icarus. You'll go through the basic levels in Mario fashion. Starting with level 1-1. You'll then have to explore a labyrinth to get to the world's final boss. Each labyrinth is a maze of sorts and at the end you'll fight a boss.
The levels themselves are fairly well designed, most of them looking as though they should've been in Metroid to begin with. You'll have enemies coming at you left and right ready to take you on and all you'll be able to do is blast them with arrows. There are shops scattered throughout the levels as well where you'll be able to purchase upgrades and other items for Pit.
Kid Icarus may be short but it is most certainly not easy. Games on the original Nintendo, particularly in the 80's had a reputation for being incredibly hard. Games like Contra, Metroid and the original Mega Man were games you used to test just how good you were. Kid Icarus is much like those games. It's an incredibly hard game for a number of reasons. The first being that the levels are very long. Especially for an NES game. It's to no consolation that there aren't really any checkpoints either. Another aspect that makes the game very difficult is that you can't go back, and in the first three levels especially, all you're doing is going up. If the screen scrolls too far up, you can't fall and hope to land on a platform you already passed. You'll have to accept your fate and die. This isn't all. While there are shops, most of them have items that in the beginning you can't afford, and you'll also only be able to visit a room once. These areas, however, are few and far between.
The biggest challenge with Kid Icarus, however, is actually that the levels are populated with a ton of enemies. You'll be able to deal with not being able to backtrack, but many of the enemies themselves appear in droves and are often hard to get by. Just the same, however, you're encouraged to kill them to make Pit stronger.
There's no save system present either. However, there is a password system, and Nintendo obviously knew they made a pretty hard game, as you can also access numerous cheats through the password system. But you'll have to keep a pen and paper handy, you'll fall prey to your enemies several times.
It's a rewarding game to be sure, it's just another classic game on the NES that's unforgiving in its challenge. Those who began playing video games after the NES era will be in for a rude awakening.
In terms of graphics, Kid Icarus looks marvelous for the time it was released. There are a few graphics that come from Metroid and you'll even spot a few familiar monsters. On the whole, though, it's very colorful. The game also has some catchy tunes. Many of which will probably get stuck in your head. They're simple melodies.
Kid Icarus is a great game, but also a very difficult one. If you're not frustrated with games too easily, then Kid Icarus is great. It'll take a long time to get through some of the games levels, but at least it's a very enjoyable game.