3D Classics: Kid Icarus Review

3DCKI3D Classics: Kid Icarus (Available exclusively on Nintendo eShop)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Arika
Release Date: April 19th, 2012
Download Size: 303 Blocks

I tried the classic Kid Icarus once it was released on the Wii’s virtual console a few years ago. I never could get what all the fuss was about this franchise. It seemed like a classic 80’s game, one that didn’t make much sense and that required tons of dedication just to get by the first level. So I quickly moved it aside and went on to other things, thinking this was one game that didn’t age quite so well. That was some time ago, and recently I opted to give Kid Icarus another chance by downloading the 3D remake. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong, as usual.

This is what the original game looked like on the NES.
This is what the original game looked like on the NES.

Once you take a few minutes to understand how the game works, you can clearly see why so many loved it back in the day. It’s a solid action-platformer with light RPG elements. Without access to a manual or a copy of Nintendo Power, you might be a bit confused once you start and get discouraged. Don’t! The goal of the game is to take your time, kill as many enemies as you can and collect the hearts they drop. These can then be turned in to buy items that are mandatory in order to survive. Perform well enough and gods will even appear in certain rooms and reward you with an upgraded bow. Scores aren’t just for show and tell here, you actually gain health upgrades depending on how you performed. The levels also vary as you progress. In the beginning, you have to climb while killing off tons of different foes, but eventually you have side-scrolling levels, and even a shmup level.

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The best part of Kid Icarus in my opinion are the dungeons. They are basically giant mazes in which you slowly need to explore room by room. There are some items that can ease your exploration a bit, but for the most part you rely on trial and error. Each dungeon ends with a good old-fashioned boss fight, and most end up as being memorable. While the game has a reputation as being extremely difficult, I find that a bit unfair. It’s challenging for sure, but in a good way as it never gives you an unfair fight. Simply take your time and it becomes clear that everything in the game is manageable, and that death is more often than not your own fault.

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Now the 3D classics version is a great port of the original. Just compare the screens above and you can see right away the graphical improvements. The 3D effects are also quite nice. Like the Japanese version, passwords are now a thing of the past replaced by three separate save files. This was one of my biggest gripe with the original as who has time to write down these codes all the time. The controls have also been tweaked, if you select the new control scheme.  Now you can play with a auto-fire mechanic instead of having to press the action button a million times, and holding the A button will slow Pit’s decent.  These are minor alterations, but make a huge impact on the overall experience.  When all is said is done, there is a reason Kid Icarus is a classic, and there’s no better way to experience it than with this upgrade. Try it out!

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Final Score: 8.0/10

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