In 1987 Nintendo released two games in the same month, namely Metroid and Kid Icarus. One of these games was destined to become one of the most popular Nintendo games ever made. Thank God Metroid was the more popular of the two, or a cherub would be one of the faces of Nintendo alongside the already sexually questionable Mario and Yoshi. Thanks to Metroid's popularity, Samus manages to be one of the ďcoolĒ faces of Nintendo. Unfortunately though, due to Metroids popularity, Kid Icarus was overlooked by most people.
Kid Icarus is a very versatile, moderately paced game with a unique concept. The stage is set in Angel Land which is ruled by Palutena (the ruler of light) and Medusa (the ruler of darkness). Balance has shifted recently though as Medusa emerged from the underworld, waged war against Palutena and the armies of light, overtook the palace in the sky and imprisoned Palutena. You, the hero, also known as ďPitĒ are an angel that has been imprisoned in the underworld. It is up to you to retrieve the three sacred treasures and rescue Palutena, restoring balance to the universe.
One of things that really sets this game apart from other games like it of its time, is there really arenít any other games that are quite like it. The first stage is the underworld, which you gradually ascend, the second stage is the overworld which is platform style, the third stage returns to the same style game play as the first stage and the final stage departs from the rest of the games style entirely as you find yourself in a side scrolling shooter. The end of each stage has a dungeon level with very basic mazes to run through to reach the boss while carefully avoiding being turned into an eggplant. While progressing through the game, you collect hearts from destroying enemies. These hearts can be used to purchase items from merchants. Pit also levels RPG style, although there is no experience meter, experience is gained with each kill and at certain levels of experience Pit will level up at which point health is increased. Strength is also increased if you can find a trainer that will increase your strength. If you come across a room that a trainer would normally be hanging out at and you donít have enough experience, the room will be vacant. Even though you may be able to run through some stages while dodging enemies, itís very important to kill as many things as possible to gain experience. Along with gaining levels, buying items, and gaining strength. There are three weapons that are available to Pit if he can find the old man and endure his training. Each of these weapons are really cool and they each help to turn Pit from little cherub in angel land to badass archangel of light, doom bringer to the dark!
This game isnít incredibly difficult if you are just interested in the simplest of endings. There are however 5 different endings to this game, depending on how well you do. After rescuing Palutena, you can continue playing if you choose while keeping all of the experience and weapons gained. Unlike games like Ghosts and Goblins, I actually wanted to go through this game again as I kept my power ups and wanted to see Pit level more and more. I only had two real problems with this game, one of them were these little bastards called ďPlutonsĒ they are indestructible little ogres that can actually steal one of Pitís weapons that are not easy to obtain and they come in groups. Imagine finally getting a weapon that makes a fireball circle around the arrows that you shoot only to have it stolen by a little thing that you canít kill and unpredictably bounces towards you. Not to mention, he steals just by touching you, Iím sorry but if Iím holding a weapon in my hand, no jerkass is going to steal it just by touching me. Another problem is when Pit gets his third strength power up he becomes pink. I was left torn between thinking I was a badass and knowing that I was pink. Letís face it; there is nothing intimidating about a pink angel that collects hearts.
Overall, even after all of these years, this game is still enjoyable to play. The graphics for its time were about as good as they get. The sound throughout the game is a little repetitive, but catchy and it does change up at least every level. What makes this game one of the best is its lasting power, even after beating the game, itís fun to keep replaying the game to see how much better you can do.
- Jake So Kool (Special Guest Star)