With my NES more than capable of playing any US games I can get my hands on I thought it best to start including broader searches on the likes of EBay. A forumite from Rllmuk came to my rescue and offered to sell a couple of decent US games for a decent price so I found a copy of Kid Icarus and Zelda winging their way through my letterbox. I will say I didn’t know much about Kid Icarus and most of what I did hear was high praise with many fans of the game still screaming for a sequel to do this day.
The label of the game is a basic pixellated in game character type design, something which all of the early NES games tend to have. Which is a shame as a lot of these games would really benefit from a proper artwork treatment. Having no manual I had to rely on a download for the game instructions but luckily it was quite basic when it came to weapons and controls. The whole story seems to be roughly based on ancient Greek legends but I haven’t a clue if any of its accurate with the aim of the game being to find three sacred treasures (Mirror Shield, Arrow of Light, and Wings of Pegasus) then use them to rescue Palutena the Goddess of light from Medusa (some woman in her late 40’s having a bad hair day and turning all the hairdressers to stone).
The game itself seems quite simple though my initial impressions are more being annoyed than actually having fun. The whole thing seems totally unforgiving and way too hard in places especially with the instant death floor that follows Kid Icarus (or Pit as he’s called). But then there does seem to be a very good game hiding beneath it all and despite the numerous deaths, swearing at the screen and threatening to throw the NES out of a window I couldn’t help but be drawn back.
It’s this “just one more go” mentality that really makes the game shine and despite its flaws once you begin to ascend from the pit (the games equivalent of hell that Nintendo don’t seem to want to name properly) everything changes. Instead of scrolling upwards everything goes to the right and you actually get chance to flap Pit’s wings and fly around causing havoc. Although it has a short fire range I had quite a lot fun bouncing around the levels firing Pit’s bow and arrows. It’s immensely satisfying to plant several arrows into a row of enemies as you rush about.
Originally this was a Famicom Disk System release so came with the opportunity to save at the end of each stage. Being such an early stage of the NES’s life they didn’t seem to have the technical know how to install a battery backup save to the cart so you are reduced to inputting mile long codes, something that really gets on my nerves as I always think to myself that surely they could have come up with a better system than this. Ho hum.
After this came a Gameboy sequel but that sadly seems to be the end of the Kid Icarus series. Maybe one day those patient fans will get a sequel but I wouldn’t keep your hopes up.