kid-icarus1

Genre: Action, Platforming
Year: 1986
Developed by: Nintendo R&D1
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: NES, GBA, 3DS
#486
Feeling Like: PitRise

It doesn’t take long for Kid Icarus to take your adolescent innocence and cram it down a bottomless pit. This might have been the fifth or sixth game I ever played and compared to Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros, Bubble Bobble and Legend of Zelda, it was not exactly a walk in the park. I clearly remember two things: primarily, this game was clearly for big kids (like, 10 years old or something) and number two, it was the first game I ever resorted to cheat codes. Why should I fight fair? The game clearly isn’t.

Your main direction, in the first level, is up. Up, and then up, then uncomfortably higher up. That’s just the first level. You don’t have to worry about falling back down and having to immediately retrace your steps, because the screen won’t let you do that. It just simply kills you. Well, one less thing to worry about I suppose.

Nearly every enemy is annoying. You can’t shoot diagonally, only in your four basic directions. I felt unequipped to play through the entire journey with the initial tools given to me. Upon retrospect, as difficult as the game was/is, how good could I have been? I was six or seven years old, barely understanding how to run without falling over, coming to the cruel realization that my red hair wouldn’t change color and sharing a space with two younger siblings who did NOT get video games. I was doomed from the start.

kidicarus2
Zero chance you get to this screen without 8uuuuuu

They clearly put a lot of effort into the game. It’s pretty huge, with lots of upgrades, secret rooms and a neat mythos. I have a feeling that too many of us were punished brutally by it and swore never to put it any higher than 486 on their own list of 500.

Some areas are mazes and they’ll have you pleading for a power-up. Bosses continually get harder and require far too many hits to go down. Did I mention the most annoying enemy to date on the 500? I don’t mean to go out on a romantic evening with, but I sure as hell don’t want anybody thinking cooking me eggplant is going to get into my pants. The EggPlant Wizards can go jump in a lake and never come back. They hit you ONCE with their eggplant projectiles, and you can’t attack at all until you find a medic. Is it easy to find a medic room?

Of course not. Nothing is easy in this game, except entering the code to get you to the final area with all the upgrades intact. Going from a walking, armor less protagonist named Pit to a flying, armor clad, shield wielding badass (…named Pit) is quite the contrast. The last boss is a nice respite from the rest of the game. Float mid-screen, shoot at Medusa’s eye until she’s dead. Reunion with some princess, game is over. Hardly worth it at the time, or now, but the thrill of deciding which upgrades to get and the first foray into something that consistently kicked my ass was too much to pass up.

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