Kid Icarus 3D Classics Review: Catching Lightning in a Broken Bottle

The 3D enhanced version of the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System’s Kid Icarus is still an old-school romp, but one huge technical gaff nearly ruins the fun.

After a few minutes, it becomes too difficult to “see” how great this game actually is, or was.

Not taking up the entire 3DS screen (a border outlines a part of the screen, like many other 3D classics on the system), Kid Icarus is definitely a sore-eyed sight. Sure, the 3D elements work well and the game shines in this mode, but everything is just downright small. This isn’t the first time this has happened on the 3DS. It’s understandable when the Virtual Console ports feature lackluster visuals- those are straight up replicas of the originals.

This game was supposed to be enhanced for the 3DS. Aside from the added 3D, that’s just not the case here.

It’s common sense that nearly three-decade-old 2D sprites won’t exactly translate well to a handheld. Even a Game Boy game the likes of “Kirby’s Adventure” looks decent in 3D on the system, but that’s because it was made specifically for a handheld, too. But when you’re playing with an NES game, you have to make some extra adjustments. With the viewing radius even smaller than what the 3DS system can provide, it becomes too hard to get into the action.

And there’s plenty of action here. Arguably one of the first stealth action games ever created, Kid Icarus is all about speed, deception and skill. The 3DS control scheme makes controlling Pit as easy as it should be, but expect to get frustrated. Every level features a long jump that will stump you the first few times. Between that and the hordes of different enemies, this title still has some staying power.

A relic of the ’80s, Kid Icarus is downright difficult. Many gamers will get frustrated and quit before they finish the first level. Those that are able to traverse the harsh environments and the perpetual onslaught of mythical beasts will be rewarded. Not with any extended gameplay experience- once you finish this one, it’s pretty much over. But you will be left with the feeling that you “did” it. This is the type of game that puts a notch on your belt, some hair on your gaming chin. You can’t call yourself hardcore unless you’ve finished it.

So even with the minuscule character models, it still plays the way it should. For that and its equally tiny price point, the 3D Classics edition of Pit’s first adventure is still a memorable one.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 9735 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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