When the original Kid Icarus hit the NES, many gamers weren't sure exactly what to think of it. For starters the game's protagonist was a cute little winged angel (at least we thought so) who ran around shooting tiny arrows at mythological enemies. Of course it didn't help matters that the game was released around the same time Nintendo's mega-hit Metroid made its debut on the console. Needless to say, Kid Icarus was somewhat lost in the shuffle, but those who were lucky enough to pick up the game can tell you just how great it was, not to mention brutally difficult.
Nintendo obviously sensed the game needed a second chance and decided to develop a Game Boy sequel, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. The end result is a much more enjoyable title that fixes many of the complaints gamers had with the original release.
There are essentially four areas in the game, although the fourth and final area is just a very long level with a lengthy boss fight at the end of it. The first three areas are broken down into four individual levels. These levels can be rather tricky in design and it can be tough to find your way through them at times, and of course the constant barrage of enemies doesn't help matters much. Thankfully, now the game's available on 3DS Virtual Console you can use Restore Points to help you bypass tough areas, which takes some of the edge off the frustration, though it's still by no means an easy game.
The two main complaints of the original NES release were the extremely high difficulty and the inability to fall down into the bottom of the screen without losing a life. Thankfully, the developer addressed both issues with this sequel and it makes for a much more well-rounded gameplay experience. It's certainly still very challenging, but the ability to drop down and scroll all around each level is a blessing and gives the game a much more open feel to it, with the controls' responsiveness taking a sharp increase too.
Kid Icarus for the NES was fairly solid for an 8-bit release, but the GB version kicks it up a notch, with plenty of detail and variety in the environments. Each new area has its own unique look and feel, and the bosses in the game are amazing in their design and detail, and are so impressive that you'll catch yourself really looking forward to your next boss encounter. The soundtrack is equally impressive, another example of what can be accomplished with the Game Boy's limited sound hardware when developers take the time to get it right.
If you're a fan of the original Kid Icarus you owe it to yourself to pick up the sequel. Not only does it capture the same magic found in the NES release, but it also builds on many of the great gameplay ideas featured in the original. The difficulty has been toned down to make it a bit more accessible, but there's still plenty of challenge to be found and a fairly lengthy adventure . Highlighted by some fantastic boss fights, Kid Icarus: Of Myths & Monsters is a great prelude to Kid Icarus: Uprising.