Game of the Month November, 2002:
Kid Icarus

System: NES Developer: Nintendo
Although Kid Icarus seems to have garnered a loyal cult following on-line, when it was initially released it was a bit overlooked. It never enjoyed the popularity of many of Nintendo's other franchises, such as Zelda and Super Mario Bros. Nevertheless, it was a game that had a huge impact on me. Being one of the first NES games I became obsessed with, it probably is as much responsible for rekindling my interest in video games as Super Mario Bros. 3 was, after the Atari age had long since killed it. Kid Icarus s certainly a great game that deserves a second look. You are a flightless angel named "Pit", and you are trying to save the Goddess Palutena, as well as the world of Angel Land, from the evil Goddess Medusa. This was one of the first games on the NES to have both vertical and horizontally scrolling stages.

Look into my are getting sleepy...very sleepy...

Eggplant Wizard is the greatest villain ever! You begin your quest in the Underworld, where you must work your way upwards while fighting enemies to gain strength and nimbly leaping across precarious platforms. Since the screen does not scroll back down, one false move can spell instant doom. After you clear three vertical stages, you will need to find your way through a dungeon maze and defeat a tough boss monster. Then it's on to a horizontal sidescrolling format on a trek across Angel Land's barren wastelands. You will go through two more maze dungeons and another set of vertically-scrolling levels before you reach the Palace in the Sky where Medusa awaits you. This final stage plays just like a sidescrolling shoot-em-up, complete with automatic scroll. When it comes to Kid Icarus, variety was the name of the game. Kid Icarus also introduced some really bizarre enemies, such as the infamous Eggplant Wizards (which could turn you into a helpless eggplant), the ghostly Pandora who could disappear into the background, and Medusa who was one of the first truly large screen-filling bosses I'd seen in a game! (There is even a cameo appearance by Metroids.)

In retrospect, I may have overscored Kid Icarus in my review. It does have a few minor flaws. For one thing, the game is hardest right at the very beginning, when your power level is still low. But once you bring your strength up by fighting monsters and earning special weapons, the game suddenly starts to get easier. Had the game's difficulty curve been the exact opposite of what it is, it would've been just fine. However, I can't deny the sheer entertainment value this game has brought me over the years. It never seems to get boring. The danger of missing platforms when you jump, the thrill of fighting the enemies, and the frustration of getting lost in the mazes never lapses. Even after you beat it, you can continue playing in an everlasting loop. I filled up many a notebook page with passwords from just one game of Kid Icarus that I had kept going and going and going!


Kid Icarus takes a bit of getting used to, because the jumping control is a little less fluid than that of the Mario Bros. games. (It is almost exactly what you'd get if you crossed Super Mario's control with Castlevania's.) The graphics are minimal, but have that same spooky aura that Metroid's graphics have. The music, done by the legendary Hip Tanaka, is some of my favorite on the NES. Kid Icarus is definitely a game I recommend for every NES gamer's library.

Kid Icarus Links

  • My Kid Icarus Review - A complete review of this fantastic game.
  • My Kid Icarus Shrine - A complete site devoted to the Kid Icarus NES game.


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