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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

The original Kid Icarus for the NES gets a lot more credit than it deserves. It was made at the same time as Metroid, so people remember it as being better than it actually was. Kid Icarus was frustratingly hard, and one mistimed jump could destroy all your progress.

It's funny: During the making of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, they included a few music tracks from Kid Icarus. The two main tracks that they used were the only two that people remembered: the music from the opening level and the music you hear when you disturb a Reaper, also something you hear on the first level. That's kind of telling, isn't it?
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters for the Game Boy is a far, far superior game to the original Kid Icarus. There are fewer enemies than the NES version, so you don't get mobbed like you do in the NES game. There's also no insta-death, meaning that a mistimed or misplaced jump won't instantly erase all the progress you've made in a level.

There are tons of secrets to find, too. If you collect hammers you can  destroy statues that give you health or bang open entrances to new secret rooms by destroying blocks. Some secret rooms have health-regenerating springs, while others may give you a place to use your hearts (Kid Icarus' currency) to buy new items.

I have only a few complaints with Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. First of all, it's a little grind-tastic. If you speed through the levels without killing anything, you won't get any of the special bonuses, like stronger arrows or increased health. You also won't have enough hearts to buy any of the good equipment. If you want to get the good stuff, you'll have to sit in the middle of a level for a while to kill enemies. It artificially pads the length of the game, but if you grind away at an enemy type for about five minutes, you're usually fine.

The collision detection can be a little imprecise, but it errs on the side of caution. There will be times where your sprite will pass through a platform you're jumping at, only to find yourself standing on it a split second later. There will also be some times where you'll think you've been hit by something, but the game doesn't register the hit or the damage. At least it's not the other way around.

Finally, the final boss is incredibly difficult. I'm sure there's a pattern he follows, but every time I fight him, the pattern is, "Please don't kill me, oh, great, you killed me." One of these days I'll have to read an FAQ about it.

If you have a 3DS and a passing interest in Kid Icarus games, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is well worth your time. It's not the best game in the world, but it's a definite improvement over the original Kid Icarus and a lot of fun.

Final Rating: B