With the recent release of Kid Icarus: Uprising, there is a decent amount of nostalgia and interest for the humble beginnings of the series. Nintendo understandably wanted to capitalize on this interest, so they put the original NES Kid Icarus game in the 3D Classics blender and included the result as a pre-order bonus at select retailers in North America. The game was available as a separate purchase only at GameStop, but is now available to download from anywhere via the eShop.
The game remains virtually unchanged from its original North American form, save for a few minor changes and one big one. Gone are the boring all-black backgrounds in every level. In their place are new colored environments to hide behind the actual level platforms. Of course, this all appears in 3D, which provides a neat effect. The new dungeon backgrounds are an excellent addition and fit in seamlessly. However, most of the regular level backgrounds look out of place. But anything is better than nothingness, and they help enhance the 3D effect. The minor changes include replacing the classic password system with three save slots (similar to the original Legend of Zelda) and a tweaked control scheme for those that felt the original was too punishing.
Speaking of the difficulty, it remains as challenging as ever. When I played the original all those years ago, I never made it past the first level. As in 1-1. Apparently my skills have improved since then, as I was able to finally move on and complete the game. Granted, there was a healthy amount of swearing involved, but I felt it was a good, balanced challenge, and none of my deaths felt cheap. Each of the first three levels in a world are pretty similar before things move into dungeon mode and a boss battle. The levels can seem to drag at points, but they usually end right when you are ready for them to. The scattering of rooms containing shops, a mini-game, and enemy trials to earn hearts or powerups are a nice addition that keeps things fresh. As for the dungeons, again, think the original Legend of Zelda for structure on these levels, with side-scrolling platforming replacing top-down adventuring. It’s a nice change of pace to see these levels. Seeing the legendary Eggplant Wizard of Captain N fame, who only lurks in these corridors, not so much. Once you reach the final world, things are dramatically changed up as you prepare for your final battle with Medusa. The music is classic Nintendo chip-tune goodness. With only a couple songs playing on an endless loop, things could get annoying quickly. Thankfully, these are stellar tunes that you’ll find yourself humming to yourself after you stop playing.
It was fun to take a trip back in time and see all the enemies and items referenced in Kid Icarus: Uprising. This is a game franchise that was mostly forgotten, and it was smart of Nintendo to release this updated version alongside the newest franchise entry for gamers like me that never experienced it the first time around. While the game may be short, the incentive of five increasingly better endings and a local high score list can keep gamers coming back. If you were unable to grab this as a pre-order, I highly recommend dropping the $6 to play this forgotten gem.