3D Classics: Kid Icarus Review
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On 05/17/2012 at 10:00 PM by Matt McLennan
An NES gem from 1987 gets the 3D treatment. Bonus: it's also easier to play.
For fans of platformers and those who have never experienced Pit’s first adventure.
With a fantastic 3DS entry now under his belt, the star of Kid Icarus, Pit, is now back in the limelight after many years of being stuck in limbo following a 1991 Game Boy game. As a celebration of Pit’s return, Nintendo saw fit to release a 3D Classics revision of Pit’s first adventure on the 3DS eShop. Out of all the 3D Classics it contains the most changes, and makes a frustrating platformer more accessible to new players.
Pit’s first adventure is often considered to be a more linear Metroid; I for one see it as a mixture of Metroid, Super Mario Bros. 2 USA and the Legend of Zelda. You are jumping through hazardous levels (Mario), shooting bad guys and in every fourth stage going through a maze-like dungeon (Metroid/Zelda), as well as collecting hearts as currency for shops littered throughout the stages (Zelda). Each stage in Kid Icarus is designed with precision platforming while dealing with some slightly annoying enemies, all the while collecting power ups and items to keep you alive.
What's new is the ‘Custom’ mode and the ability to customize your controls and save your high scores. Custom mode is easily the star of the game; not only are the loose controls done away with (Pit stops on a dime without sliding), but Pit can now rapid-fire his arrows and slow his descent when the jump button is held.
Obviously the game’s biggest attraction is the new 3D graphical effect. In order to make the 3D effect, nicely drawn background art was added for every level in the game, and to improve the 3D depth of the graphics you can heighten it in the game’s options screen. Other than that, the foreground sprites and in-game characters have remained unchanged. Not that this is a problem; Kid Icarus has wonderful sprite graphics. Every single character is unique and whimsy for the game’s setting. Even better is the game hardly has any slowdown, and the annoying NES flicker is a thing of the past. Some backgrounds do kind of clash with the foreground sprites due to certain color schemes, but it isn’t highly detracting.
The in-game music is quite addicting to listen to. Hirokazu Tanaka’s original score has been featured in remixes within Smash Bros. Brawl and Uprising on the 3DS, with his most famous track, the Underworld, being used as the main theme for the game. Sound effects and the beeps and boops of the Disk System sound slightly different from what was experienced on the NES; sound effects like the Reaper’s cry sound a bit more annoying than on our old grey lunch box NES.
While a fun game, Kid Icarus is pretty short like most NES titles. With the Custom mode making things much easier for new players and veterans of the original, expect around an estimated four to five hour game. Another flaw, regardless of whether you are playing the original mode or not, is that some enemies can be cheap. You've got enemies that wait underground and only pop up when you are standing still, enemies that respawn continuously, and the Eggplant Wizard himself, who gives you the infamous eggplant curse that turns your upper body into an eggplant and prevents you from attacking.
This 3D Classic revision of Kid Icarus is a treat. With a save feature, two control options and a nicely done 3D effect, anyone who has never experienced the original should try it out. All those references to it in Uprising will finally make sense in hindsight. And it's just good solid fun.