(3DS eShop)

Game Review

3D Classics: Kid Icarus Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Pit of class

Kid Icarus was always a bit of a weird game. Originally released alongside Metroid and using an almost identical game engine, it was quickly overshadowed by the popularity of Metroid's giant game world full of areas to explore and, save for a (more entertaining) Game Boy sequel, the series was never heard from again until Pit suddenly appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Although Metroid started off as the more popular game after its release, it's clear today that Kid Icarus has aged a lot better. A giant world to explore was cool at the time, but with all the refinements similar games have had since — such as, most importantly, an in-game map to prevent getting lost — the original Metroid has aged rather poorly in comparison.

3D Classics: Kid Icarus is currently only available in Europe to users who entered a Mario 3DS giveaway; it is not available to purchase separately, but will be released to the wider population later this year.

Perhaps the game's most unique feature is that it has four different kinds of gameplay. It starts off as a vertical scroller for three stages, leading you to think that that might be all it is, but you then enter a fortress in which you must find and defeat a boss. Metroid comparisons are inevitable, but these fortresses aren't that big and are generally a lot less confusing, plus you have access to a map. The middle of the game changes things up again, and is actually a horizontal sidescroller instead of vertical, while the very last stage does something else entirely.

This game would've been compelling enough, but there's also plenty to find and do around the levels. During your journey you'll come across special rooms, such as a spa that restores health, one of two different stores, a challenge room where you must endure a seemingly endless flurry of flying tiles to receive a power-up. You can also acquire hammers, which will allow you to smash soldiers imprisoned in stone in the fortresses, causing them to assist you in battle against bosses. They die quite quickly, however, and usually end up being useless.

Aside from the frequent change of gameplay styles, Kid Icarus also often mixes things up with new area designs. Most levels have their own unique tiles, or at the very least use a different palette, while every individual world has its own unique set of enemies. There's even one enemy type towards the end of the game that looks like a Metroid.

Now, if you're rather knowledgeable about old Nintendo games, you might have been aware that, when Kid Icarus was originally released on the Famicom Disk System in Japan (rather than the standard Famicom) it was one of the first games to feature the ability to save your game, with three slots available, which was also the case for the FDS version of Metroid. When the game was brought over to the West, however, Nintendo could not find a way to fit the saving ability on the cartridge (with cartridges allowing for less data than disks) and as such, had the save feature replaced with a password system. They would later figure out how to keep the ability to save for The Legend of Zelda, among others.

This being Nintendo, it should be no surprise that the 3D Classics version of Kid Icarus has been based on the original Japanese release. The password system you're probably more familiar with has been removed, and the three save files originally present have been reinstated. There's also an added high score table, adding a bit of replay incentive, though it's rather easy to simply farm for points in the game.

One curious thing about the original Kid Icarus was that its backgrounds were completely black. That wouldn't work so well with 3D effects, so Nintendo and Arika created some backdrops specifically for this version. They're a bit of a mixed bag, really — the indoors backgrounds go perfectly well with their surroundings, but most of the outside ones look a bit out of place, with much more detailed spritework than the foreground, which survives completely unchanged from the original game. But they at least do what they were intended for perfectly: the 3D effect sticks out well and works nicely.

The music, quite obviously, has not been changed at all, but we have to point out that, for some reason, the game's volume seems to be a lot louder than other 3DS games. We actually recommend not playing on max volume, as it can become painful to the ears.


Kid Icarus was always a lot of fun, but for some reason it never really reached huge levels of popularity like its cousin Metroid. This 3D Classics version is almost identical, but small additions and tweaks like the new backgrounds, 3D effect, high score table and save files ensure that it's worth a look even for those who already played the original to death. Now, about that Game Boy sequel on the 3DS Virtual Console...

From the web

User Comments (85)



NintyMan said:

Good review! I like that they put in a scoreboard and save files this time, and the backgrounds actually look very nice. As far as the music, I'm glad that it's a little bit louder, because who wouldn't like this game's catchy music to be a little on the contained side?

All in all, this will be my favorite 3D Classic. I hope it comes out in the U.S. very soon.



JayArr said:

Always loved this game. I can't wait to take a trip down nostalgia lane in 3D.......and w/o a notebook for scribbling passwords.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Only made it to level 1-3 yet the way i'd describe it so far would be Metroid meets Ice Climbers meets the shopping of 2D Zelda games.
But yeah, it's easier to find your way than in the original Metroid so i enjoy it a lot more. And yes, the outside background looks a bit out of place but as you said it's needed for 3D. Though the backgrounds in the rooms are indeed incredible 8 bit goodness.
And damn it's hard. Or i just chose to buy the wrong items so i maybe should start from scratch again.



Corbs said:

Always loved this game. I still remember buying it because every store was sold out of Metroid at the time. Turned out to be quite a good game.



James said:

@Rockmirth (and anyone else who asks):

We do not have any information about when it'll be out in North America or for the rest of Europe. When we do, we'll update you!



Spoony_Tech said:

Yeah I would like to know when Nintendo is going to release this as well. Its obviously done so why just make it exclusive to a select few! Start making your money Nintendo.



Weskerb said:

Excellant review by @drake as usual, but once again he neglects to mention just how frustratingly difficult the game is. I guess we should be grateful that you don't complain that it's a little too easy



NintyMan said:

I just realized that this review missed something. There's a different button layout that allows Pit to shoot arrows faster. I also remember that the 3D effect makes tricky jumps from the original easier.



LordJumpMad said:

Nintendo are really trying to bring back Pit from the dead.
Hopely he won't end up like F-Zero

1990 - 2004
No longer showing their moves



theJOE said:

I'm still waiting for the code. so far all i have is an email saying that i will get the code



grumblebuzzz said:

This game was always just a little too hard to be fun to me. I was hoping for a VC release, that way there would be a suspend feature.



Mowzle said:

I don't recall getting an email saying I would get a code sent, though I was told on the website at the time of game registration that I qualified to download the free game, and would be informed nearer the time. Not always consistent are they? Never mind, I'm sure things will happen eventually.



mushroomer said:

when to USA? I remember I loved it and beat it.. I also remember the last level being a entirely different engine from the main game where the sprite was actually larger than normal because it became a side scrolling shooter. and you gotta beat medusa.. also remember topless statues in the background .. anybody else remember that?



TingLz said:

I remember being stuck in the first dungeon for so long that I got most of the upgrades by the second world

@mushroomer: Like James said, they don't know



Cero said:

I played it entirely twice, on "original" and "custom" modes, but every time the game ends, it don't let you continue like we used to do. It's really like the japanese version, once you end, you can't replay with your old goods :/
It's a shame



Blaze said:

If only my code had came from Club Nintendo. And if only they'd respond to my Customer services messages rather than ignoring them as usual.



Geonjaha said:

@22 Exactly. Email saying I'd get the code on the 5th. Here's me on the end of the 9th still waiting.



Grackler said:

I got the code e-mail....and it was missing the code! I'm not the only one either, there were several others with the same blank code entry commenting on the ONM story about Kid Icarus' release. No reply from Nintendo yet, so I'm hoping they're working on fixing it...



Scissors said:

WE Americuhns R always getting screwed over by U Eurp Pee Hens, we deserver free 3D Kid Icarus Too, I died for your sins.



Ren said:

too loud or just at a normal level in comparison? As much as I love my 3DS the speakers are the only big dissapointment. Everything is so low I just turn it all the way down after all. even with with headphones I have earbuds shoved all the way into my brain, and it's always just peeps at full volume, and my hearing is just fine. Be nice if some potential future redesign included a tiny bit better amplifier.



WaveBoy said:

Those New backgrounds look so out of place...They don't even look 8-bit.

And Ren i'm with ya dude. The 3DS's speakers(headphone volume that is) is incredibly weak....It's nice to see that the 3D classics boast higher volume, can't say the same for reail releases and 3DS VC titles. Pretty dissapointing, because ya...The sound is just important as the visuals, and 3DS games don't have the volume to creat an immersive and awe worthy experience.



bonesy91 said:

Here's hoping we will get it in the states before the release of the amazing looking Uprising.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Not to sound too cynical but i was pleasantly surprised that i got the code on January 5th.
Also so far i'd wish this allowed for restore saves like the GB VC games too.

@NintyFan (12.): You're right, i forgot that it doesn't only allow you to jump-shoot easier. Haven't tried it yet though since i want to beat it in its original difficulty first.



Azaris said:

i heard this version is much easier then the nes version so i gotta ask how much easier?



FonistofCruxis said:

I look forward to eventually picking this up, it sounds like they put more effort into it than the 3D classics version of Kirby's adventure.



Drake said:

@billy-beauts: Maybe I'm just too good, but I honestly don't consider anything past the first two or so levels challenging, unlike most games it actually gets easier the further you get.



Punny said:

I have a feeling that this is the best version of Kid Icarus available. Come to NA soon, Pit!



Kyloctopus said:

This game is overated. This review makes Metroid look like dirt, and I truely don't know if that was your intention. I have this game for Wii and it seems to have the same flaws as 3D Classics Kirby's Adventure yet that got a 6. You also forgot to mention it's hair ripping difficulty, if it has changed or not.



Doma said:

Got the code fine last week. I'm ok with it so far, about up to the 5-6th level (not playing often), i never really bothered getting past the first 2 levels before.
The movement controls is the only problem for me, the circle pad is so crappy to use for a game like this.. forces me to use the stupidly placed d-pad. I don't care about the new backgrounds or 3d much.

I hope NoE continues to use these offers though, cause i know i wont be getting them otherwise. Ancient GB/NES games should be priced more appropriately or free like this imo.



Henmii said:

Nice review! So this version has added backgrounds? And it has save-files, like the japanese original? That's nice to hear!

I had already downloaded it last week, but I have yet to play it! Anyway, nice present from Nintendo!



TheChosen said:

So does this one have microphone support? In the original Japanese version you could use the second controllers microphone to try to haggle down the prices when shopping.



Kid_A said:

One of my personal faves
Mixed feelings about the thought of new backgrounds. I always thought the solid black background of the vertical/dungeon levels gave the game a really distinct atmosphere.

Agreed. It starts off seemingly impossible, but it quickly becomes a breeze. Which is brilliant, of course, because it makes you actually feel like you're an underdog growing stronger, overcoming the odds and eventually just obliterating everything in your path.



NintyMan said:

@Kid_A: That's right. In the story, Pit starts off as just a simple angel with a bow, but as he journeys through Angel Land, he gets stronger and stronger until he's a full-blown warrior at the final faceoff with Medusa.



mantez said:

I am so looking forward to this game and was very disappointed when Australia was left out of the promotion and can't wait for Nintendo to release it here.



Link977 said:

Heh, I'll see how hard this actually is, whenever my dad is playing he's usually frustrated XD



Knuckles said:

In Nintendo Power issue, January/February Kid Icarus Uprising interview with sakura(sorry if i misspelled) a side column said a 3d classic kid icarus was coming to the states in early 2012. Hope that helps eases some of my fellow americans pains



ChaosX1022 said:

@Ren There is something wrong with your 3DS. My GF and mine are super loud so you should send yours in brah.



LittleIrves said:

@TheChosen: That would be sweet. Am remembering vaguely about Famicom's 2nd controller having a mic... Love those weird little hidden surprises, like blowing the dandelion fluff in 3D Land



Dizzard said:

Downloaded this today, I wasn't sure how it was going to be....but it was better than expected.

I think I prefer this game to the free snes metroid game we got.



Moonhillwat said:

So no date set for the North American release yet? Damnit. I wanted to practice this version before I did an LP of the rom on my compy on time for Valentine's Day. ;_;



Philip_J_Reed said:

I have this game for Wii and it seems to have the same flaws as 3D Classics Kirby's Adventure yet that got a 6.

It did? Where? We gave it an 8, same as this.



Sam_Loser2 said:

I've been saving two 3ds pin #'s JUST IN CASE the offer comes to America. Highly doubt it, but holding onto false hopes is my forte.



gazamataz said:

i am rubbish at this game yet it is the only game i'm playing a the minute.i have'nt touched mario kart 7 or tales of the abyss since engaging in this.once there is a save function on the nes ambassider games i'm sure i'll enjoy them as much.



XyVoX said:

Anyone know roughly when these codes are coming, im still waiting



Chuie said:

oomg i need it cause i never played it but on emulator but i played the sequel not the orginal



sirmarcelot said:

hope it's a nice price for us on south america. always wanted to replay kid icarus and i could use that cool looking background.



SkywardLink98 said:

Wow, this makes Uprising seem like a steal. A $7.00+ game for free? Sounds like a good deal to me.



Sam_Loser2 said:

Is there a way to save in a fortress? Without the usual VC suspend-your-game-any-freakin'-time-you-want it seems you have to beat the fortresses in one sitting.



alvieao said:

Just got this game today via download code with Kid Icarus: Uprising. It’s pretty challenging at first, but things gets easier the more you progress through the game. While not as popular as Metroid, I like playing Kid Icarus more than the former. Pretty much everything is the same as the NES original, but with new backgrounds, high scores and save files. While some of those added backgrounds look odd, they’re still neat as they suit the 3D effect well. Nevertheless, Nintendo and Arika did a great job with 3D Classics: Kid Icarus. It’s a good deal!



ueI said:

Looks like I missed my chance to get this for free. When can I pay for it?



theblackdragon said:

@uel: if you're in North America, it's available for purchase at GameStop (you buy the code and then redeem it in the eShop). :3



ueI said:

Is that so? I'll probably pick it up next week then. Since I've never played Kid Icarus, I might as well start with the best version.



UnseatingKDawg said:

I've never played the original NES version, neither the Wii Virtual Console version. However, after trying this one, I can definitely say this is one of the best, and most difficult games I've ever played. Not that being difficult is a bad thing; the difficulty is one of the greatest aspects of the game, since it's due to proper programming and design. The only time a game isn't fun when it's high in difficulty is when the cause is due to glitches and other problems. As for the sound, I did take notice. It seems the 3D Classics genre as a whole has louder volume; I have this title as well as Kirby's Adventure, Excitebike, and Xevious, and all of them are on the loud side. I am curious as to why this happens.



kyuubikid213 said:

I was a day late in getting the 3D Classics Kid Icarus for my GameStop PreOrder, but I don't mind. I got plenty of freebies from Nintendo lately...
Legend of Zelda Four Swords Anniversary Edition
20 Ambassador Titles
Pokedex 3D
(free-ish) 4 Club Nintendo Rewards

That's 27 free games. Missing out on one is fine by me.







BLUlink said:

Yusss. Just release of myths and monsters, and my 3DS will have them all!!! > MWAHAHAHA!



Travino said:

Amazing review!

To be completely honest, I had never really heard of Kid Icarus until Uprising came out. Once I got it, all through playing it there were so many references I didn't catch onto. So, I did my research and played the NES version on an emulator, and now I'm tempted to buy it on the eShop. It looks glorious!



SonicTheBluBlur said:

@LordJumpMad F-Zero and Audiosurf are the two games I'd like to see on 3DS. Just imagine how AWESOME F-Zero would be in 3D with a first-person view option. As with Audiosurf, just think how much easier the game would be if you could better judge how close the power-ups and cars would be. Also, it could have a Circle Pad Pro option so you could play the same way you would with an Xbox 360 controller, but still it would be enough for the Y and A buttons to be an alternative if you decide to use the Plus Control Pad. The 3DS already has an MP3 player function, so why shouldn't there be eShop games that can use your music? Plus seeing the scenery around the highway in 3D would be AWESOME too. Oh well.
Please stop with the piracy talk — TBD

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...