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North America Details

Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Genre: Action, Platform, Shooter
Players: Single Player
ESRB: Everyone

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Game Review


Kevin
Apr 30 2012 12:51 AM
For many of us, 1987 is a year that has become a distant vision of our past. Let us not forget though, that this marked the birth of some classic titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). If you were asked the question “Can you imagine playing this game in a 3D environment, on a portable device that fits in the palms of your hands?” twenty-five years ago, the most likely answer would have been “no.” Today, an entire quarter of a century later, we’re experiencing just that with the classic NES title Kid Icarus, in 3D Classics: Kid Icarus, available exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. In 3D Classics: Kid Icarus, we are able to relive protagonist Pit’s adventures and acts of heroism through modernized 3D visuals, while preserving all other aspects that the original hit offers, clutched firmly, right in between our hands.

The game takes place in Angel Land, an imaginary world doused with Greek mythology, relentless villains and a clash between light and dark forces. Palutena, the Queen of light, and Medusa, the Queen of darkness are the two goddesses that rule the land. Let’s just say these two forces don’t exactly complement each other very well, much like oil and water. The inhabitants of Angel Land welcomed the gift of light from Queen Palutena. The light filled their hearts with happiness and gave them the hope and desire to achieve anything in life. Medusa, on the other hand, disliked the people and did everything in her power to make their lives miserable. In an attempt to expedite her plan of shrouding the world in eternal darkness, Medusa turned them all into stone and demolished all their farm lands.

Infuriated, Palutena transformed Medusa into a hideous monster and sent her to the immeasurable depths of the underworld. Refusing to go down without a fight, Medusa, along with an assembly of underworld monsters, coordinated an ambush on Palutena’s army and Sky Temple. Medusa’s evil assault was successful enough to cripple Palutena’s mighty army, free of much resistance. During the conflict, Medusa managed to take possession of the three sacred treasures; the Mirror Shield, the Light Arrows, and the Wings of Pegasus. Without these sacred items, Palutena’s army was rendered incapable of further defending the land from the evil prowess of Medusa.

Ultimately, Palutena was defeated and imprisoned deep within her Sky Temple. Although clearly defeated, Palutena had one last ounce of energy. With that, she made a final, desperate attempt to cut thought the darkness and restore hope to the land. She called upon a young, angelic warrior named Pit. She equipped him with nothing more than a flimsy bow and quiver of arrows…with a great deal of hope. You are Pit. Will you be able to carry out the wishes of Queen Palutena to restore hope to the land?

When you start the game, you’re immediately greeted by a series of shrilling musical notes on the title screen. The pitch of the notes is high enough to make dogs cover their own ears, tuck their tail between their legs and run the other way. Not really, but it is a rather annoying welcome tune. If you’ve played this game, or even the original, then you likely know exactly what I’m referring to. Aside from that, the game has the same mediocre soundtrack as the original Icarus. While there seems to be an ample amount of melodies scattered throughout the game, I feel the tracks, all of them, are missing a key ingredient. The tracks all seem to be deprived from a layer of audio, to smooth everything out. The tunes are catchy, but there’s just no transition between them. The tracks all start, then suddenly stop when flowing to the next track. Thinking about the music in this game reminds me of a hollowed-out nut shell. While the foundation is there, it’s simply missing an important part. I will say though, that I was happy to see this game retain its original sound after being ported over to a 3D Classics title. Despite its melodic shortfalls, we older folks can appreciate that the original sound remains intact and unchanged.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect about 3D Classics: Kid Icarus is the graphics. Owners of the Nintendo 3DS can now experience some of their favorite classic titles in a 3D environment. This game gives you that unique experience, and much more. Unlike the original version of Kid Icarus, this version provides a true sense of depth that literally places you inside the game. Backgrounds, no longer solid-colored and drab, now boast enthusiasm and a vibrant variety of colors. Burning hot volcanoes, bone-chilling icy structures and many other patterns are presented as the player progresses through the game. Something I really admired was the additional layer of textures, which make Pit appear as though he is walking behind certain objects while jumping from platform to platform.

Of course, as with all 3DS titles, the intensity level for the 3D effects is in your control. By moving the 3D depth slider up or down, you can control the level of 3D depth for the game. You can have as little, or as much as you want. Depending on what stage I was playing, I frequently switched between both 3D and 2D mode. Whether I was trying to find my way through a boss stage or traversing through stage obstacles, having the game in 3D mode significantly enhanced my overall gameplay experience.

This game has received a great deal of criticism in regards to its level of difficulty. I’d like to counter those claims by saying that Kid Icarus shouldn’t be on the receiving end of such harsh feedback. The game presents an objective and a challenge, like most games. The one key factor though, is that the level of difficulty in Kid Icarus actually decreases as you progress through the game. I’m going to safely assume that the majority of the players, who have experienced Kid Icarus, simply gave up too early in the game. I’ll admit, when you first start playing, you have very little health to maintain from the constant barrage of the enemies. Due to this, it’s not uncommon to only take a few hits before perishing.

Once you perish, and you will, you’ll find yourself starting at the beginning of the stage. There are no halfway points, save points or anything else in this game that will start you from the last point of losing a life, your only life. The good news is that you have unlimited continues. So, rest assured that your game, along with your desire to achieve victory, won’t abruptly stumble to an end after being presented with the “Game Over” screen. Each time you complete a stage, your life bar is replenished and you receive additional health. For this reason alone, you shouldn’t give up so easily on this game early on. You’ll quickly find that you have plenty of health to play with as you progress further into the game. Trust me; it gets easier from the start. I knew you wouldn’t let me get away with writing this review without mentioning the game’s most iconic enemy, the Eggplant Wizard. They’re quite annoying to deal with and pose quite a challenge. The challenge, though, isn’t achieving a brutal victory over them. You’ll have to be very careful not to get hit with one of their flying eggplants that they so frequently heave through the air. Get hit with one of those suckers and you’ll not only find it firmly attached to your noggin, but you’ll be whimpering to the closest hospital to have the ill-fated eggplant curse lifted. In fact, the only way to have the eggplant curse removed is to locate a hospital, which is few and far between throughout the game.

If I told you that 3D Classics: Kid Icarus provides you with a combination of gameplay elements such as shooter, platformer and action game, would you believe me? Well, it’s true. Kid Icarus displays qualities for each of these types of games. In fact, it’s one of the only NES games I am aware of that can seamlessly integrate these styles of gameplay. In the very first stage, for example, you’ll find yourself vertically traversing to the apex of the underworld by leaping from narrow suspended platforms. At the same time, you’ll be dodging the relentless wrath of Reapers, as they summon pestering swarms of Reapettes, which are smaller flying versions of the Reaper enemy. At some point in the game, you’ll find yourself soaring through the air like an F-18 pilot, shooting down everything and anything that dare threaten your airspace.

I had a great time playing this game. It’s fun, challenging, frustrating and rewards you with great satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. What a great combination, right? If you have a Nintendo 3DS, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to experience this classic NES title in a whole new dimension and perspective. You will most likely find that the $5.99 purchase is well worth the value. Not only will you be able to experience the unique qualities of 3D Classics: Kid Icarus, but you’ll also be able to relive a true classic NES title, right in the palms of your hands.

Will you guide Pit through the rigorous obstacles and dangers that lie ahead? Will you prevail, or perish trying? Do you have what it takes to make a difference in the world – to restore light to the hearts of all who are depending on you? Your true test of bravery, perseverance and loyalty starts now.

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2 Comments

One of my favorite games. Yes the game definitely gets easier, but  ilike that. One of the hardest parts of the game is the endless grinding. people just cant get over that
i did not grow up in the 80s early 90s but i love the old video game consoles my persoal favorite the nes. i immediately fell in love with KID ICARUS and when it was on the 3ds i losed it and got it right away.
i'm only 13 and for me to say "i own an Atari 2600  and 7800" really says something i think.