Breathing Life into a Classic
Pit from the Kid Icarus series hasn’t had his own video game in over nineteen years. His last official appearance was on the original Gameboy in 1991, and before that the original Nintendo title he’s known for was Kid Icarus in 1987. And remembering exactly when Kid Icarus came out back then makes me feel old.
But after Pit became resoundingly popular via his beat ’em up powers in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii, subtle wishes for a remake were put out into the universe. And when Nintendo first showcased the game in its 3DS pavilion at E3 this year, the appearance of Kid Icarus: Uprising quickly turned into one of the standout titles for the new handheld console as a whole.
I saw the original trailer for Kid Icarus: Uprising on the Nintendo 3DS this year, and I must say it looks quite impressive. The trailer showcases Pit’s ability to fly for short segments and enormous bosses that just wouldn’t have made sense in the original version. The 3D is a welcome addition, and it doesn’t feel as though the game has been tacked together to try to garner interest in the new handheld console. Instead it feels as though the game needed an extra dimension to come into existence. But that’s based on a trailer in 3D and not getting to dive into the gameplay with my own hands.
The idea behind Kid Icarus is that the Goddess of Light has bestowed Pit with the ability to fly for short periods of time. This allows him to access areas a normal hero couldn’t, while not giving him full reign of his powers of exploration. Medusa aims to bring her minions to the world, and it is against the beasts she brings into existence that Pit must battle. With the added depth provided by the intriguing screen of the 3DS, it’s sure to be interesting.
With directional aiming and epic ground battles, the game looks to hold a variety of gameplay styles that should keep the title fresh throughout. The original Kid Icarus titles on NES and Gameboy were simple two-dimensional platformers that utilized jumping and shooting arrows. With the N64 getting a decent number of 2D to 3D jumps, it’ll be interesting to see how this one fares. As everyone knows, it’s possible to create a new classic along the lines of Super Mario 64 or completely break a formerly great series a la Castlevania 64. The 3DS is a fresh testing ground for this kind of jump, so it’ll be interesting to see how different classics make the transition.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is in development by Masahiro Sakurai and his development team at Project Sora, the creators of Super Smash Bros. and Kirby. And those titles alone definitely add clout to the power of this game, with or without its added dimension. Since it isn’t a remake, Kid Icarus: Uprising is entering untested waters and only the critical and community reaction can truly gauge if it is successful. It’s going to need finesse of control and an intriguing story, because the wow-factor of the 3D effect can only carry the game for so long. But from what I saw in-person in the trailer, I want so much more.
Kid Icarus: Uprising is scheduled to release in Spring 2011, which should make it roughly a Nintendo 3DS launch title. I’m going to go poke around in my closet now because I think I still have a copy of Kid Icarus on Gameboy lying around, and I’m feeling wistful. The question is, without a DS of my own, do I still have a clunky old grey Gameboy keeping it company that can actually run the thing?