Saturday 30 August 2014

Kid Icarus (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1986

Kid Icarus was part of Nintendo's adventure series and was released only a few months after the first Metroid game.

The majority of the game takes place in vertical scrolling levels where you need to jump across tricky platforms, take out enemies with your unlimited supply of arrows and attempt to reach the exit at the top. Doing so is no easy task as enemies move much quicker than you and will overwhelm in numbers. The game doesn't ease you in so be prepared to fail over and over again before you start to make any kind of progress. There are plenty of items to help you in your quest though (including crystal shields and flame arrows) which you can obtain by playing survival mini-games or by buying them with the hearts you obtain from killing enemies. Later stages introduce horizontal levels, fortress labyrinths and even a side scrolling shooter. Unfortunately, the variety in Kid Icarus is ruined by its severe difficulty as it destroys what could be an amazing gaming experience. There's a fundamentally great game here but it's marred by poor AI decisions and occasionally unresponsive controls. Normally, the more I play a game I can start to predict enemy patterns and avoid racking up too much damage. However, there's a big difference between a hard game and a cheap game, and for me, Kid Icarus falls into the latter. Enemies will frequently appear from nowhere to hit you and take away your already limited supply of life. The whole experience was just stressful to me and at no point did I ever feel like I was actually having fun. The sound in Kid Icarus gets a lot of praise in the gaming community but to be honest I found it to be really bland. The same boring songs play over and over and despite the ending music I didn't find anything noteworthy in the BGM or sound effects.

Overall, I was disappointed with Kid Icarus. I really wanted to like it and gave it multiple chances; however, the game is just far too brutal and would have benefited from different skill settings (like Mega Man 2) to make it more friendly to newcomers and hardcore gamers alike.

Random trivia: Considering that Kid Icarus' story is rooted in Greek mythology, it contains a very strange and out-of-place item. If you're running low on currency, some of the game's treasure rooms feature credit cards that allow you to purchase items on the black market using credit!

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