Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Based on: Having a second chance to make a good first impression.
Article by RedHedgehog | June 29, 2009
Kid Icarus and Metroid are forever linked by a shared producer, Gumpei Yokoi, and a common game engine, so one could logically conclude that the inspiration to bring one to Game Boy was soon followed by a plan to follow with the other . But while Metroid received a true sequel, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is more of a remake.
The decision to remake one while giving the other a sequel probably lay in the differences between the originals. Metroid introduced revolutionary new gameplay ideas while Kid Icarus added more subtle innovations to the platformer genre. Few games had attempted to duplicate Metroid's open-world gameplay (in which new equipment allowed access to new areas), and those that did featured significant flaws. Thus in Metroid's sequel, the designers wanted to change around quite a few things in an attempt to get the formula right. Meanwhile, plenty of other games improved on Kid Icarus's design. Taking cues from the likes of Mega Man, Nintendo R&D1 set out to make the ultimate version of Kid Icarus. They succeeded admirably.
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters fixes almost all the flaws of its predecessor. No longer do you die when falling just because the screen has scrolled. Now, the screen can scroll back downwards to reveal the platforms that should be there. The control scheme is much more in line with the platforming norm, without skidding or momentum or floaty jumps, unless you want to slow your descent by flapping your wings in mid-air. The levels have been re-designed, both to fix the difficulty and to account for the different dimensions of the Game Boy screen. The game is less frustrating overall. The last level is no longer a cakewalk, but a unique auto-scrolling experience with a new final boss battle that feels suitably epic.
The only sequel-like elements in Of Myths and Monsters are the improved uses of doors and hammers. There are more rooms to be found in the doors scattered throughout the levels, and you can find items that let you re-enter the rooms after leaving. Hammers are now useful in all levels to smash statues and reveal health-restoring items, or to discover secret doors in the walls of levels.
The original Kid Icarus is a divisive game. It was a creative platformer that offered fresh ideas, yet it also had many flaws that made it frustrating. Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters offers the same ideas as the original game along with four more years of knowledge in game design. Given that Nintendo hasn't seen fit to produce another Kid Icarus game since, at least we have the game boy iteration to serve as the platonic ideal of Kid Icarus until such a time might come.