REVIEW: Kid Icarus (NES)
There are bad games, and then there is Kid Icarus. Normally whenever a horrible game pops up on RFSHQ it’s created by some unknown one “hit” wonder company that tanked shortly after their dreams were crushed by their own lack of programming finesse. The game on the cutting block today, to my surprise, is a title created by Nintendo itself, hailed as the game company of all game companies. However regardless of what mindless Nintendo fans say, Kid Icarus stands as a testament to the claim that it is impossible to make a perfect run and produce hit after hit. Sloppy controls, unforgiving difficulty, annoying music, and poor collision detection make this title one of the worst that Nintendo has ever produced. The storyline of the game is basic. You play the role of Pit, a young angel who is battling his way out of the Underworld against the evil goddess Medusa. Armed with only a bow and the ability to jump and walk like a hammered seven year old, Pit begins his quest at what I assume is the bottom of Hell to work his way up. Your mission is clear cut and there are items along the way to help you out; the problem is that most of these items don’t do a damn thing and are extremely overpriced at the various “shops” located around the levels.
The first thing you are going to encounter in Kid Icarus are the controls, which are essentially nonexistent. Trying to get Pit to keep in control is nearly impossible. If you are moving when you jump, Pit will take an extra step when he lands and more than likely fall off the screen and die. Yes, if you fall to the bottom of the screen you are dead. You don’t fall down to the beginning of the level or to a platform off screen, no, you die. Hell literally crumbles away beneath you as you fire your arrows of light directly into the groin of Satan himself. This would not be too much of a problem if the game actually had what we like to call “platforms”. Some screens actually have a floor you can walk on, but most of your journey will be spent jumping from block to block trying to keep Pit from falling all while snakes rain from platforms not on the screen yet and flying one eyed monsters with noclip enabled charge at you. The icing on the cake though is when you try to jump a gap and hit your head on the roof above you. Your character loses any form of inertia he had going for him and falls straight fucking down.
The enemies in this game are insane and over the top. Most of them come in groups of four but they are completely unpredictable and appear at random. You can move through the level twice at the same speed and encounter five times as many enemies compared to your first run. Most of them die in one hit but since your arrows only shoot about an inch in front of you most of your combat will be in close quarters. Snakes run rampant in Hell and cover the platforms in a veil of wriggling purple scales and googly eyes, octopi and other tentacle creatures fly through walls from the top and bottom of the screen, and the Grim Reaper even shows up and goes completely apeshit when he sees you. When he does, miniature Grim Reapers fly down and start to pester the shit out of you. Because of this, at one point in time there were so many enemies on the screen at once that the game literally slowed down to a crawl and Pit of course got his ass handed to him. There are also fire enemies that show up at random right underneath your feet and fire bullets that of course go through walls, so you need to constantly move or else something is going to kick your ass. At one point you will encounter spiky plants that run along the walls that supposedly hurt you, but damage is done at random. Sometimes you can walk directly into a plant and it won’t do anything, but other times you can clip it with your foot and you’re dead, and best of all you can’t shoot the damn things.
Your health meter is noted by a small red block that I have yet to figure out how to increase. You die in about five hits which come incredibly fast thanks to the never ending stream of snakes, tentacle monsters, and other phallic objects. There are doorways that are placed in each level that can take you to one of many kinds of rooms and get you away from enemies. Most of them are traps and take you into a room where faces come out and beat the shit out of you, but some of them also take you to worthless shops that sell overpriced items that you obviously can’t afford unless you spend an hour killing snakes. When you kill enemies they drop hearts, but these hearts don’t refill your health, they are money. Yes, you pay for worthless items with hearts just like another shitty game I reviewed in 2004. Some doorways also take you to “bonus rounds” which consist of a bunch of “?” jars that cost five hearts to shoot. You shoot as many as you want until you hit the Grim Reaper jar, which costs you the game. The minigame plays just like something out of The Price is Right, and sadly is the highlight of Kid Icarus. And to top it all off, one room contains Jesus Christ himself. Depending on how pissed off he is at Mel Gibson he will either give you an item or pelt you with bricks and then give you an item.
Perhaps I’m in the wrong here for calling out Kid Icarus as one of the worst, if not the worst, games I have ever played but the only kind of people who could possibly enjoy this game are the ones who shove salt coated nails into their balls for sexual pleasure and get off to suicide videos because playing this game is just sheer immeasurable pain. For some reason, and I don’t know why, this title has made it into several “Top 100 Games of All Time” articles in various magazines; but wait, let’s back this up a bit. Kid Icarus is in Nintendo Power’s Top 200 games (Issue 199). NINTENDO POWER. Strictly Nintendo, and of course they’re going to put their own games into their own “best games ever” list, so they are out of the picture. In 2003, IGN.com gave Kid Icarus slot #83 in their Top 100 but anyone willing to wade through IGN’s five thousand ads within ads within ads doesn’t have a very educated opinion anyways so we can throw IGN out as well. This just leaves the cesspool of Nintendo fanboys throwing 10/10’s out on GameFAQs, and frankly, fuck them and their mob mentality. Kid Icarus is a piece of shit game and rightfully deserves a #1 on all “worst games ever” lists. Rot in Hell, Pit.
Dracophile’s Final Words:
Graphics: You will encounter brown rocks, purple bricks, red lava, blue pillars, orange monsters, yellow sand, and white arrows. The colors of the rainbow will vomit in your face like a bulimic eating Skittles while riding the Tilt-O-Whirl.
Controls: Take the physics of driving on ice with flat tires and combine it with an 8-bit angel jumping around like a lunatic.
Music: Picture some music from Metroid on the NES. Now increase the pitch and add in some more buzzing and maybe a couple of beeps. There you go, and sorry for the migraine.
Replay Value: An uninspired and bland environment won’t keep you interested for long. You’ll play with a Slinky or Rubik’s Cube longer than Kid Icarus.
Overall: Kid Icarus is a less-than-bad game and giving it a zero out of ten just won’t do it justice. It truly is a chunk of coal in a pile of gem stones and its true pain can only truly be experienced by playing it yourself.