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3DS  header logo

3D Classics: Kid Icarus

For: 3DS

God complex

Product: 3D Classics: Kid Icarus | Publisher: Nintendo | Format: 3DS | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
3D Classics: Kid Icarus 3DS, thumbnail 1
Why Kid Icarus never became a successful series is a mystery.

Though he was conceived at the genesis of Nintendo’s most influential creations, alongside Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, fate never made cherubic hero Pit a household name like his stablemates.

As the three aforementioned prodigies went on celebrate 25 years of accolades, Kid Icarus was instead given a 20-year residency in Nintendo’s attic.

Don’t worry. There's a happy ending.

Fast-forward to today and this angelic relic is preparing for a long-awaited comeback in Kid Icarus: Uprising. If Uprising’s screenshots and trailers have painted this series as a high-flying action adventure, then this spruced up NES artefact should keep your feet firmly grounded.


Armed with just a bow and arrow, Pit ascends the vertical levels of the underworld to emerge onto the surface and then carry on skyward, gathering treasures along the way that will aid him in defeating Medusa’s armies.

Like many of Nintendo’s earliest creations, Kid Icarus started life as a platformer thrown together in the same engine as the original Metroid, and it’s only natural the two should share qualities - the limited range of Pit’s arrows is comparable to the reach of Samus’s hand cannon.

And there's more than just one Nintendo great in the mix.

As you reach the overworld, you’re greeted with scrolling playgrounds not unlike those seen in Super Mario Bros, and they require the same platforming finesse.

Further on, you’ll enter fortresses - Zelda-inspired labyrinths in which you’ll have to forage to afford the tools needed to navigate each enemy-filled room.

However, within this Nintendo 'best of' are the quirky touches and ideas that make Kid Icarus stand out.

The hearts enemies drop don’t keep your health bar in tip-top shape, but instead act as your currency. Vendors tucked away behind doors scattered around each stage will sell you revitalising chalices, or torches and pencils that will help find your way around the boss dungeons.

In the run up to these end-of-world fortresses you’ll be encouraged to acquire hammers capable of smashing statues that grant you an angelic soldier to join in your fight against the boss waiting at the end.

Keeping the faith

Even with the usual archaic designs that make revisiting these retro relics a gruelling slog, Kid Icarus isn’t a particularly harsh game. Enemies tend to move in predictable groups of four - a routine you can use to your advantage - and a well-implemented save system makes failure less of a throwback.

On the other hand, rooms that test your skills with a bow and arrow, not to mention the irritating backtracking required to cure an eggplant to the face, will have you cursing the heavens.

Restoration expert Akira has gone the extra mile with Kid Icarus, delivering a product that gleams. The colourful new backgrounds absent from the NES original really start to impress as Pit’s journey takes him out of the underworld and into the over and sky worlds.

This is where the 3D effect comes into play, separating the backgrounds and allowing enemies, items, and statues to stand out, although with little benefit to the experience.

25 years on, why Kid Icarus was never able to share in the successes of its brethren remains a mystery. Its mix of platforming, exploration, and hints of RPG has appreciated over time where others have aged.
3D Classics: Kid Icarus
Reviewer photo
Tom Worthington | 18 January 2012
Take a break from plumbers, swordsmen, and bounty hunters and set some time aside to discover a classic worthy of that title
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