Kid Icarus

kid icarus box art nes nintendo
8.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Controls: 8/10

Nice responsive controls, challenging but not impossible

Sometimes suffers slowdown

Game Info

Game Name:   Kid Icarus

Developer(s):   Nintendo R&D1

Publisher(s):   Nintendo

Platform(s):   NES

Genre(s):   Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 19, 1986 (Japan)/July 1, 1987 (US)

ESRB Rating:   E

kid icarus eggplant wizard curse screenshots gameplay

I can say that there aren’t many games where you get turned into an eggplant…

Angel Land has been overrun by Medusa and her minions and Palutena has been imprisoned. Palutena’s only hope could be a young angel named Pit who must gather the sacred treasures and reach the Palace in the Sky. The Mirror Shield, the Light Arrows, and the Wings of Pegasus are the only weapons that can defeat Medusa, but the Underworld, Overworld, and Skyworld are overrun with beasts vowing to protect Medusa.

Kid Icarus was known as Light Mythology: Palutena’s Mirror in Japan and released for Nintendo’s Family Computer Disk System (known as the Famicom Disk System) in 1986. The game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. It featured a password-based continuation system. It has been released for download on multiple Nintendo systems through the Nintendo Shop.

When I first got a Nintendo, I believe my second game was Kid Icarus (after the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo that came with the system). I loved mythology and the adventure aspect of the game drew me in. Despite some criticism, Kid Icarus is still a favorite.

kid icarus nes gameplay screenshots boss battle pandora

Pop Pandora’s bubble

The first thing you’ll notice about Kid Icarus is that it is pretty difficult. It combines not only highly evolved jumping and shooting, but it also requires the player to learn the patterns of the enemies and uncover hidden treasures and trophies while balancing a life-gauge and the ability to fall to your death…it takes a while to master. The scrolling levels go into palaces that are Zelda-esque with multiple rooms and puzzles to figure out. It falls somewhere between Mario and Metroid.

The controls for the game are quite slick, but they do take getting used to. While Pit cannot fly, he does move quickly and has rather lofty jumps (making landing on tiny targets even more difficult). The movement however is smooth and transitioning between rooms in the palaces is even quick with the game really flowing. The final level involves flying and shooting which was always a fun change.

kid icarus ending vs medusa screenshots gameplay

Fly, Pit! Fly!!!

The graphics for the game were quite strong for the time, but as a result, there were problems. There were times when the gameplay would slow down due to too much activity (especially when the Reapers and the Reapettes would show up). The game was designed around a wrapping screen which means you walk from one side to the other side which takes some getting used to as well and was needed for strategy. It also features one of the all-time catchy tunes in gaming history…just try to get it out of your head.

Kid Icarus was always kind of paired with Metroid because both featured the revolutionary password aspect to continue your game (Kid Icarus even featured a very Metroid looking enemy Komayto which is implied even in the instructions to be the tie between the two games). Like Metroid, there was a password to get the ultimate ending which was fun if you just wanted to fly. I still find Kid Icarus to be one of the more compelling Nintendo games (and most underdeveloped over time)…where else can you find yourself turned into an eggplant by the Eggplant Wizard? Kid Icarus was followed by the Gameboy sequel Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters in 1991 (plus, Kid Icarus makes a fun little cameo in The Super Mario Bros. Movie).

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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