First Impressions: Kid Icarus is back and flying onto Nintendo's 3DS
If you grew up with the NES like I did then there is a good chance that you have fond memories of Kid Icarus. Time may have dulled the painful memories of the game's merciless difficulty, but Pit's quest against Medusa still gets fanboys excited. Gamers have been clamoring for a sequel for years and at this year's E3, Nintendo announced the game that fills that desire. As an early software title for Nintendo's new 3DS handheld game system, Kid Icarus: Uprising already has high expectations to meet.
In honor of the start of the new school year I am going to put on my teacher's hat and give you all a little history lesson. The original Kid Icarus released on the NES in 1987 and, by combining elements of Zelda, Mario and Metroid, carved a place for itself in gaming history. There is no denying that it was a difficult game but that hasn't stopped it from earning a space on Game Informer's Top 200 Games of All Time
list (#189), and IGN's Top NES Games
list (#20). A Game Boy sequel was released in 1991 but other than that the main character, Pit, has not starred in another game, only making guest appearances in the Super Smash Brothers series. The original Kid Icarus was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console in 2007 but that didn't do anything but whet the appetite for a true rebirth of the franchise.
That rebirth comes in the form of Kid Icarus: Uprising. This new Kid Icarus game is doing for Pit what Super Mario 64 did for Mario, what The Ocarina of Time did for Link and what Metroid Prime did for Samus. It is taking the character away from its two-dimensional roots and planting him firmly in the third dimension, only this time, with the help of Nintendo's new hand-held system, in the truest sense of the phrase. The game is promising both ground-based and aerial combat with the latter coming in five-minute doses courtesy of the goddess Palutena.
Now, Kid Icarus: Uprising will probably sell well on name recognition alone. Nintendo isn't like that though. They aren't known to just turn out a game with a familiar (and beloved) name just to make a few bucks. So that leaves the question of what will make Kid Icarus: Uprising stand out above the pack. I'd say that that was addressed best by the game's director, Masahiro Sakurai, in an interview with Techland's Evan Narcisse back in June
? "the project actually began with an original game idea, and the match seem to be a good one for the mythology and the character Kid Icarus. So it just so happened that the game idea and the franchise matched in the project then start it from there." I like the idea that Uprising is not being forced into existence just to carry the Kid Icarus name. I like that the game's launch trailer looks gorgeous. I like that Kid Icarus is coming back.