Kid Icarus, NES/Famicom

Developed by Nintendo R&D1 (with assistance from Tose Co. Ltd.), and first released for the Famicom Disk System by Nintendo in 1986, Kid Icarus is a cult classic scrolling platform game that is known for its high level of difficulty. The original Japanese title for the game is “Hikari Shinwa: Palthena no Kagami“. An NES cartridge version, with a different ending, an English language title screen and staff credits, was released in 1987.

You play a young boy called Pit (in Western releases) and must make your way through four increasingly challenging worlds, the first three of which have four sub-levels. On the fourth sub-level on each world there’s a boss hidden within a connected maze of rooms (inside a fortress) that you need to beat. The first world features vertically-scrolling levels that wrap around horizontally (which is unusual), and the second and third worlds scroll horizontally. The fourth and final world is again horizontally scrolling, and repeats until you kill enough enemies, after which the final boss appears for a showdown.

Enemies move along platforms and some will float through the air in formation, and contact with any of these will reduce Pit’s health, which is shown as a small bar underneath a heart counter. Hearts that you collect from defeated enemies can be used to buy items from shops, which can sometimes be found along the way. Other rooms – accessed through doors found on some levels – lead to training sessions, bonus pickups, a hot spring that will restore Pit’s health, or ‘God’s Chamber’ that will increase Pit’s shot range – depending on how many enemies he’s defeated and how much damage he’s taken.

Pit’s primary weapon is his bow, which fires arrows at enemies, but he can also collect and use breakable hammers to smash stone statues. Doing so will release flying Centurions that will help Pit during boss battles. Pit can also collect useful upgrades by completing endurance training, although the items awarded only work if his health is above a certain level.

Kid Icarus is a simple but extremely challenging scrolling platform game, with more depth than might appear on the surface. The game’s difficulty means that it won’t appeal to everyone, but those who’ve been able to learn the game’s intricacies like it a lot.

A sequel, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, was released for the Game Boy in 1991, and a third entry in the series, Kid Icarus: Uprising, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012.

More: Kid Icarus on Wikipedia
More: Kid Icarus speedrun on YouTube

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