(Bah, lousy Photobucket, shrinking my picture...)
With Kid Icarus Uprising coming out this March, as well the recent release of the original game as a 3D Classic in Europe, I thought maybe it was about time to start one of these bad-boys up. Hence, this all-encompassing Kid Icarus thread.
The original Kid Icarus
was first released for the Famicom in Japan at the end of 1986 as "Light Myth: Palthena's Mirror", with North America and Europe getting it in 1987. A sort of "sister series" to Metroid, sharing the same engine and developed at about the same time (with Metroid taking precedence) by R&D1 at Nintendo. The legendary Gunpei Yokoi was the Producer, with Toru Osawa and Yoshio Sakamoto on as designers and Hirokazu Tanaka as the composer.
The story begins in the realm of Angel Land, which is ruled by two goddesses: Palutena, the Goddess of Light, and Medusa, the Goddess of Darkness. Palutena loved the mortals, and would bestow upon them light to help them grow crops and make them happy; Medusa, on the other hand, rather despised the mortals, and took to not only destroying the crops which they'd worked hard to cultivate, but also to turn them to stone.
As you might imagine, Palutena was not pleased, and this is where things start to feel a tad similar to the story in a recent, popular cartoon show. The pissed-off Palutena would proceed to turn Medusa into a single-eyed, snake-haired monster before banishing her to the underworld.
Unfortunately, she probably should have gone with something more remote-- like the moon-- as Medusa managed to gain the loyalty and allegiance of the monsters who dwell beneath. Her army formed, she led the charge against the Palace in the Sky, conquering Palutena's army by turning the Centurions to stone, scattering the Three Sacred Treasures amongst her minions, and imprisoning Palutena within her own home.
In a last, desperate bid, Palutena reached out the former head of her personal guard, Pit, who was now trapped in the Underworld. She used the last of her power to create a magical bow for him to wield against their enemies, and tasked him with retrieving the Three Sacred Treasures so that he may defeat Medusa, ending her tyranny, and freeing Palutena.
Gameplay-wise, Kid Icarus is a platformer, and less a side-scroller than an up-scroller. As Pit seeks to leave the Underworld, he must travel up, up, ever up (as well as off one side of the screen, reappearing on the other). Some later portions do involve actual side-scrolling, and near the end of the game, Pit equips the Three Sacred Treasures-- the Arrow of Light, the Mirror Shield, and the Wings of Pegasus-- and goes through a side-scrolling shooter to face Medusa, who fights from within a large self-effigy of her rather monstrous appearance.
And like Metroid, the ending you receive depends on your performance; despite Pit's subsequent appearances, the best ending sees him become a full-grown adult.
Unfortunately, despite a great setting and wonderful characters, designs, etc., the game is arguably not very good. Many find it a bit too frustrating, though it's said to actually be easier as you go along, and then you can restart with your ending levels/items, making a second run even easier.
If you didn't get to play it, it is currently available on the Wii's Virtual Console. Not only that, but a remake in the 3D Classics line is forthcoming, and has already been released in Europe:
As with other 3D Classics, there are some tweaks to this one, including a new button configuration which allows for the rapid-firing of arrows, said to ease the difficulty. A group of fans have also created a 16-bit styled "Super Kid Icarus" Flash game:
Gotta love the Grim Reaper's screams, if nothing else.
Though not one of Nintendo's top-tier stars, Pit was popular enough to be a regular member of the N-Team in the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon and comic books (where he was known simply as "Kid Icarus," and used a wide-variety of Green Arrow-styled gadget-arrows) and make cameos in other titles.
A sequel, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, was developed and released for the Game Boy in North America in 1991 and Europe in 1992 (Japan saw no release).
Built on the same engine as Metroid II: Return of Samus, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters played largely the same as the original. Unlike the original, however, Pit can move freely in all four directions (including down, which was largely prohibited in the original), though the left-to-right scrolling is continuous in vertically-oriented areas, cycling the screen around instead of having Pit disappear off one side to appear on the other. He can also use his wings to a limited degree to slow his descent during jumps and falls, and has a few extra lives to use as insurance.
The plot sees Palutena experience a nightmare which foreshadows an invasion of Angel Land by the demon Orcos and his followers. Once again, it is up to Pit, the leader of Palutena's army, to enter and overcome three special training grounds where the Three Sacred Treasures are now kept. Orcos does eventually arrive and turn Palutena to stone, but Pit wins the day and restores her to her natural form.
Fast forward to 2008; after a long period of dormancy, his popularity among gamers and Nintendo fans alike finally sees Pit makes his non-Trophy debut in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a playable character, and one who takes on an early role in the game's Subspace Emissary story mode. He sports a new design, which came together as a result of the developers trying to figure out how he would appear had the character had the chance to evolve as other Nintendo characters had. Palutena is on hand, too, sporting a similar update.
Pit's resurgence strikes a chord with fans, who want to see the Angel Land warrior get his own sequel. Rumors persisted of a Wii game for years, but it would be at E3 2010 that an announcement would finally be made: Pit was coming back (and he's sorry to have kept you waiting), and it would be on the Nintendo 3DS:
America's box art, and Japan's. Oh, Nintendo...
Unlike some rumors of an older, darker, grittier Kid Icarus, Kid Icarus Uprising seems to follow on perfectly from his appearance in Brawl, no doubt thanks to being overseen by Super Smash Bros. Brawl director Masahiro Sakurai. Set a couple of decades after Of Myths and Monsters, Medusa has returned to dispose of the mortals and get revenge upon Palutena and Pit for her previous defeat.
Featuring an unspecified number of chapters (at least eight, probably more), the game plays completely unlike any installment in the series prior. Palutena grants Pit the "Miracle of Flight," which allows him to use his wings to fly to his destination and fend off airborne foes for up to five minutes before they give out and burn up. Steering is controlled by the Circle Pad, while firing is controlled by the left shoulder button, and aiming is controlled by using the stylus to move a targeting reticule. Following that, Pit will land and move about on the ground using similar controls.
The world is expanded upon greatly, with Pit and Palutena holding voiced conversations on the bottom screen, while action takes place at the top. New characters include the mighty human warrior Magnus, who is out to stop the Dark Lord Gaol, who seems to have formed an alliance with Medusa (assuming he doesn't work for her).
This time out, Pit also has access to a ton of weapons-- nine types, ranging from bows to guns, staffs to swords, cannons to claws, and more. And there are plenty of weapons, discovered in chests, to fill out each category. According to Nintendo Power, it's possible to go through the entire game without experiencing them all. Plus, you can customize weapons to your liking and share them via StreetPass, which will give other players a chance to buy your weapon in their own game.
According to NP, "there is no right weapon, just the weapon that's right for you."
. Not much is known of those yet, though.
The game also features a three-on-three multiplayer mode, where each side takes on the roles of Light and Dark soldiers. These follow the same mechanics as the ground gameplay, and when one team's life gauge is depleted, the last to fall takes on the form of Pit or Dark Pit (depending on their team). The Pits are stronger than regular fighters, though the other fighters become invincible during this part of the battle, in which the goal is to eliminate the opposing Pit. There is also a last-man standing free-for-all as well.
Inspired by the trophies of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there will also be Kid Icarus Uprising AR trading cards, which work like the AR cards which come with the system, but can also square off against one-another in battles.
Sakurai's philosophy of offering lots of content, buffet-style, seems to be panning out well, and it seems there is much more we have yet to see.
Fun fact: Kid Icarus: Uprising is not based on Greek myth. According to Sakurai, it's based on the world in the previous games, which themselves obviously took some cues, but you should probably not go in expecting to draw too many parallels.
Update for 1/10/12:
Masahiro Sakurai has told Official Nintendo Magazine that Kid Icarus Uprising will support the Circle Pad Pro.
The Kid Icarus Uprising director explained that the Circle Pad Pro will be useful for left-handed players who may find it tricky to play the game with the stylus in their right hand.
Without the Circle Pad Pro, you'll use the stylus to aim and rotate the camera while the normal Circle Pad is used to move Pit when he's on land. However, with the Circle Pad Pro, left-handed gamers will be able to switch the controls so that they may use the stylus with their left hand.
"The way we are using the Circle Pad Pro in the game is to provide support for left-handed gamers," said Sakurai in an exclusive interview with Official Nintendo Magazine. "We've made it possible to use the right Circle Pad in place of the left one."
Sakurai went on to explain why his team didn't utilise the Circle Pad Pro in any other way. "I didn't know the specs of the Circle Pad Pro, or what it looked like, until Monster Hunter 3G was announced, so we weren't able to do anything big with it in the time we had. Even if we had known about it from the start, I don't know whether we would have used both Circle Pads in that way."
He added: "This would end up being just the same as controls on other platforms and I think the quick aiming possible with the touch panel suits the game best."
I'm a lefty so this is great news!
Update for 1/15/12:
Added confirmation of the Circle Pad Pro to the topic. Great news for lefties, but I'm disappointed both sticks can't be used together. My biggest problem to date has been supporting the device for longer periods with just one hand while pressing on it with the other.
Know that Mario Kart 7 cramping sensation? I remember some of that, but in my left hand... hopefully it won't be so bad without all the demo junk attached to it.
Other fun stuff to read/look at:
Kid Icarus on Wiki
The actual Kid Icarus wiki, "IcarusPedia"
"You Don't Know Kid Icarus" article at IGN
And I hope that's enough to get us started.