REVIEW: Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters

12 Mar

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters People often draw a similarity between Kid Icarus and Metroid, with Kid Icarus’s actual Metroid enemies, and the fact that some of its gameplay is very similar, possibly due to Yoshio Sakamoto working on both. But Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, makes even more connection. It’s the black-and-white Game Boy sequel to the original NES game, and has just been released for the 3DS’s Virtual Console. It was made in Japan by Nintendo, but never released there until now. The gameplay is pretty much identical to its predecessor’s,  seeing you going vertically at first, then side scrolling, then flying, and you can now backtrack down the screen, a feature missing from the original. Also it is now on a much smaller screen, so the graphics are cramped, not too dissimilar to Metroid II: Return of Samus. In fact, the game runs on the same engine as Metroid II!

The sprites are big, with Pit taking up about a fifth of the screen’s height. Having such a small play area means better graphics, but it doesn’t come without its setbacks. Even though the screen can be scrolled in some stages, it’s annoying that you can’t see a Reaper just four blocks above you, so by the time you’ve jumped and spotted him, he’s seen you. When he sends the Reapettes, they bounce around only the small area of the screen. Not even the boss battles fit onto a single screen either, and they carry on for ages, and are a bit, yawn, uninspiring.

Most enemies are back, like Shemums, Reapers and Eggplant Wizards, though some are missing or changed, including Monoeyes, which have been replaced by Cyclops Skulls, and Medusa, who is nowhere to be seen, has been replaced by Orcos, an archdemon. But the story in a second, I’ll continue with the enemies. One weird new enemy is Pythagoras. Yes, Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician! He stands in place throwing, uh, triangles at you. In the longplay by cubex55 below, he can be seen at 1 hour 18 minutes (if you’re wondering about anything, find it in the video). The Eggplant Wizards aren’t as punishing as the original’s were- they shrink you down to half the size when you are transformed into an eggplant, so you can dodge enemies and fit under gaps on your way to the hospital. In fact, the whole game’s easier in a sense. I cleared the first level in one attempt, unlike the first NES stage. But don’t worry, it’s not too easy. The NES game was just so hard! But, it let you use an infinite number of lives, with no real Game Overs, and in Myths and Monsters you only get 3, until you lose and must restart the area, with some items missing.

The music is 8-bit awesomeness with added Greek bits (I think). I really like the Underworld music; it’s so cool! Check it out in the video too.

For the game’s backstory, (don’t worry, no spoilers!) Palutena, ruler of Angel Land, has a dream, and a soothsayer interprets it as an sign that Orcos is coming (which he is). So the Sacred Treasures are assigned guardians by Palutena, and as part of Pit’s training so that he can defeat Orcos Pit must travel and retrieve the Sacred Treasures from the guardians, and then in the end battle Orcos. It’s a good (but a little backwards) story for a great game.

There are parts I much prefer from the NES game, like the graphics and screen size, and parts I think are improved on in the Game Boy one, like the added tap A to float to the ground, and the easier difficulty level. If you liked Kid Icarus, and you want more of the same, with just small tweaks and all-new levels this is for you. And if you can’t wait for Uprising, give this a try if you can’t get the original, or its 3D Classics counterpart.

A final similarity between Kid Icarus and Metroid: Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters was released 1991, the same year as Metroid II. When I looked in the new Virtual Console manual, up the top it was referred to as Kid Icarus II. Was there a bigger connection between this and Metroid II? Or this and Metroid? Who knows. TinyNinja scores Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters for VC

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