In February of 1987 Nintendo released unto the world a game unlike any of there others. This game was released with very little fanfare and was often picked it up on a whim or found it for cheap, usually became enthralled. There are very few low scores for Kid Icarus recorded. The simplistic action platformer with the plot of save the princess from Medusa, was easily overlooked when Super Mario Bros. 2 (Doki Doki Panic) was looming near. The somewhat sluggish sales did not stop Nintendo from releasing a follow up prequel on their popular Gameboy console. So in early 1991 Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters was released. Again to little fanfare and very little press, so again, off to obscurity it went. In 1993 the fans were ready for Super Kid Icarus, which was rumored to be in production. Over ten years later, we are still waiting. Nintendo did exactly what they should have done to a low selling series, but for the life of me I do not understand why it did not sale. The name is fairly childish, it has kid in the title, but Kid Cameloen on the Genesis sold fantastically. Anyway, gather your hammers we have got statue busting to do.
Well first off we should get the story out of the way, so you know what I am talking about the rest of the time. Every one knows the story of Icarus, flies to close to the sun, wax on his wings melts, dies in the ocean. What Nintendo did was capitalize on this and use a loose reiteration of the Greek mythos and throw in some cool stages. In Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters the world of Angel Land is peaceful. But the evil overlord Ocros decides to invade, for no particular reason. So your queen/goddess, Palutena summons Pit to assemble the warriors and take on the evil at the comfort of Ocros’s own home. But to fight this foul beast Pit must gather the three sacred treasures, armor only worn by the gods. There is a snag though. Palutena knew the power of these so she sealed them away inside of complex fortresses and had them guarded by three handpicked guardians. Obviously Palutena has never been robbed or invaded, you do not hide the best stuff far away with now way of getting them back, but that is the story of a video game for you. So Pit must show his worth, get the treasure, and defeat Ocros, all while gathering the army together if need be. And then the game starts. Interesting side note, Palutena is the princess who was stolen away in the beginning of Kid Icarus on the NES. Try to not think to much into the storyline between the games, they do not mesh as well as one would hope. But then again, several of the greatest selling series are the same way, Final Fantasy for example.
The fantastically rendered sprite of our protagonist Pit is the first thing you will notice in the game. Next will be that the rest of the screen is a bit muddy. The textures for the stages are not quite up to snuff, but the characters look good. Some may go as far as to say they rival GBC only games, but I am not that ambitious. For the time they were pretty much unmatched. Then again, Nintendo’s trump card comes out only a few years later and brings portable gaming to an unprecedented new level, in most aspects. So baring pokemon, the graphical aspect of Kid Icarus is far from bad, just a little disappointing. If only the stages borrowed more from the NES game.
What is considered the biggest downer is the loss of the main theme. Well it’s not exactly lost, just misplaced. The music, on a hole, is good. Better than most Gameboy games. Then you are dungeon crawling, the music fits. And when you are trying to make those ever annoying and overtly hard jump puzzle parts of stages, it can get fairly annoying. Yes I did say jump puzzles, more on that later. If you have played the NES version, the sound effects should sound very familiar. Pit makes the unique yet familiar cry when he gets hit, reminds me of a whinny, but that’s just me. Fundamentally the sound has all its bases covered. But the misplacing of the main theme is horrid. I mean when you think Kid Icarus, the theme should pop to mind, if anything. It’s very catchy and memorable. Why they moved it to the ending theme is beyond me.
Now here’s the nitty gritty. It is your basic action platformer in the control section. Move, jump, shoot. But what makes Kid Icarus differ from the others is the upgrades and overall abilities. For one you can grab the harp that is on the stage and certain baddies turn into hammers that fall slowly for about 30 seconds. These hammers are very handy in dungeons; in that once you equip them (push select) you can crack statues. These statues become helpers for the dungeon boss fights. They float around you and fire when you fire, so if you have about 5 of them, you can take the boss down pretty quickly. Other items you can get would be fire arrows, arrows that fly farther, or the precious wing of Pegasus. The wing allows you to fly by rapidly hitting jump, which you will need later. However what I just wrote is a little misconceiving. There are basic items, like goblets of life (health regain) or feathers (fly for a short period of time) then there are treasures (all previously mentioned), which can be used many if not infinite times. Now that that is cleared up, at least a little, back to the program. One thing that pretty much every one can agree on is this is not your run of the mill easy game. The stages themselves are difficult, the baddies only exacerbate that. While the dungeons are difficult on their own right, even after you get the map they can be confusing. The money system is based off hearts. Snakes (the most basic enemy) may give you one heart, while the infamous Eggplant Wizard will give you a large (10 heart worth) heart. The hearts can be used at stores that are littered on the maps. But even with health potions and the feathers you can still be turned into an eggplant and have to find a nurse. That’s right, if the Eggplant Wizard hits you, you turn into an eggplant, thus making your items, treasure, and weapons all useless. To show how ruthless the level designers can be, in front of some of the boss rooms, there are two of them, one you can reach and kill, the other in an area you have to go all the way around the map to get to. What makes this worse is their throwing is not necessarily on a pattern. They may through long and before it lands, throw a short one. This only happens when you are near by, and will piss you off. But if you “saved” enough soldiers from their tombs of stone, you can still beat a boss. Speaking of the bosses, if you can not figure out the patterns, good luck. First up, we have the Minotaur, who can pretty much kill Pit in one or two attacks. Jump forward to the final boss, Ocros, he and his two form self. Like Medusa in the first Kid Icarus, Ocros has two forms. The small and quick form, and the side of the screen and then more form. But unlike Medusa, he is difficult to defeat even with knowledge of the pattern. It is a difficult game, but it is incredibly fun and at least rewarding in the sense that you have beaten a game that the average gamer has never heard of.
When it comes down to it, I do not remember a US release of this game. I know of a Japanese, European, and Australian release. However the internet says differently, so this will be considered a retro instead of an import. Its a fantastic game, not exactly gripping but very enjoyable and relatively unheard of. So if you happen upon a copy, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’s worth the price.
-Originally Posted by Fastbilly