"Someone help me shoot down the guy who made me unable to fly!"
"Will Pit be able to restore Palutena's light and return it to Angel Land?
Only you can answer that question."
—Digital instruction manual for 3D Classics: Kid Icarus
A series of platformer/shooter games made by Nintendo, known by the titleHikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagaminote Myth of Light: The Mirror of Palutena) in Japan. They take place in Angel Land, though largely influenced by Greek mythology, in which a Goddess named Palutena (either a mistransliteration of "Parthena", or a portmanteau of Pallas-Athena) rules the heavenly Skyworld and Medusa rules the Underworld. Medusa invades Skyworld and kidnaps Palutena which leaves her Kid Hero bodyguard, the erstwhile angel Pit (artistically based on the putti and Cupid), to escape from the Underworld, gather up the three sacred relics, and defeat Medusa and her legions of demons, a few of which were inspired by Greek/Roman mythology, and... life-energy sucking aliens called Komaytos, which aren't even trying to hide the fact that they're based on Metroids (the game was designed by Metroid creator Gunpei Yokoi, used the same engine, most of the development was done by Toru Osawa who also worked on Metroid and, in international releases of the first game (except the 3D ClassicsUpdated Re-release, which has a save feature worldwide), similar password systems are used for resuming games).It was followed by a sequel for the Game Boy (Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters) in which Pit had to train himself to use the sacred relics once more to defeat an invading army of demons lead by Orcos. The character also starred as a member of the Five-Man Band of Captain N: The Game Master. After that, the series dropped completely off the radar for over ten years, despite a small but regular desire for a sequel pretty much since the days of the SNES. Then Pit was included in Super Smash Bros.. Brawl, complete with a radical makeover, and the crowd went wild.A new title, called Kid Icarus: Uprising, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in March 2012. Put all tropes about that game on its own page.Now has Fanfic Recs and Awesome Music pages in progress.
This series provides examples of:
Always Chaotic Evil: The Underworld monsters. Only one's been introduced, but presumably those who dwell in the Evil land too.
Bag of Spilling:The second game feels more like a prequel in this regard. Pit has no strength levels, health extension or times from the NES game and is told he is not ready to use the three sacred treasures even though he can use them for free in the first.
Not an animal, but Pit can be turned into a eggplant in all three of the games (though in Kid Icarus: Uprising it wears off without the need for a hospital). In the bad ending he is turned into a monster.
In the first game, Medusa was turned into a hideous monster by Palutena as punishment for her evil deeds.
There is also the harp item which turns enemies into hammers. They will change back if you don't grab them quickly enough.
Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: The Angel Feather in the first game. If you fall down with at least one in your inventory, Pit will slowly fly back up. You have to land him on a platform after the Feather's effect wears off, or else he'll actually die.
Broken Angel: In the ending of Of Myths and Monsters, Pit's wings fall/rip off in front of a overly happy-lookingsun, presumably leaving Pit to plummet to his death. No wonder it's called Kid Icarus.
The Cameo: As a nod to its sister game, one of the enemies that shows up in the first game is the Komayto, short for "Little Metroid."note In Japanese, it's spelled as "Kometo": short for "ko metoroido." Pit has been making cameos for severalgames.
Cain and Abel: Palutena and Medusa have this type of relationship. It's not hard to guess which one is the evil one. It's subverted in that Palutena did not kill her herself, she only turned her into a monster and banished her. The angel Pit finished the job.
Death Throws: In both Kid Icarus and Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. The latter's one can be considered as a particular case of Uncanny Valley, if only because how Off Model Pit looks while he's facing the player when killed, not to mention his soul separates from his body, which proceeds to fall down the screen while his soul ascends to the heavens.
Dem Bones: The Overworld fortress guardian in Of Myth And Monsters.
Difficulty By Region: The American version made a few changes to the last level of the original game: the screen scrolls automatically rather than based on the player's movement, you no longer have to hold the Jump button to fly, you can fly through the bricks and pillars, and enemy patterns have been changed. These differences make the American version a little easier.
Dreaming of Things to Come: Palutena having a dream about her palace's destruction is what kicks off the Of Myths And Monsters plot.
Drop the Hammer: Pit can collect hammers to use in the fortress. Hammers deal a good deal of damage to enemies but the main usage is using them to free stone Centurions. Who are mostly useless. Hammers were much more useful in the sequel.
Emergency Weapon: Due to a loss in the form's mobility, Of Myth And Monsters lets Pit use hammers to defend himself if struck with the egg plant curse. This does not remove any need to get to a nurse to complete the fortress but makes the trip bearable.
Good Is Not Nice: Palutena seems to like to turn people into monsters as punishment. She also gives the sacred treasures to monsters in the Game Boy game, because she knows they will fight Pit when he tries to reclaim them.
Gorgeous Gorgon: Medusa was originally as beautiful as Palutena, but Palutena turned her into a hideous Gorgon. However, it looks like her spell is wearing off somewhat. It's implied the form◊ seen at the end of the original Kid Icarus was actually her goddess form, as it resembles Palulena.◊
Great Escape: The first world is technically Pit escaping from his imprisonment in the Underworld to go kick Medusa's ass. No wonder it was hard.
Grimy Water: Don claims the lakes in the game boy game are poisoned.
Happy Ending: The good ending of the first game shows Pit growing in size and getting kissed by Palutena.
Healing Spring: Hot springs heal you, Of Myths and Monsters however is not above sticking tower-enemies in them.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Pit wears a helmet in the last level of the first game, even though it wasn't one of the mentioned treasures he collected. The Silver Armor comes with a helmet in Of Myth And Monsters.
Hijacked by Jesus: The games are themed after Greek mythology, but the Underworld, Overworld, and Skyworld that make up the setting are collectively referred to as "Angel Land", and Pit is an angel. Overworld even has graves with crosses on them in the first game.
A putto is not out of place in a Greek Mythology world, and while putti in Greek myth were much different from angels, that did not stop Italian artists from treating them like angels during the renascence period, meaning the hijack predates Kid Icarus.
That Medusa is a goddess (in the classical tales she was the only Gorgon not to be immortal) may refer to Hellinism highjacking Berber culture. Some historians argue Medusa was an aspect Athena in Libya before Greeks scribes got their hands on her.
Hit Points: The fortress guardians in the first game have counters for how many hits they need to take.
Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: In both games, every door outside of the fortress remains shut once you've entered and exited it but the gameboy game lets you buy one time use keys, which can reopen any door and once you've used every door in a level you can use Palutena's key to open them all back up. Even after making Palutena's key available you still have to destroy the level with hammers to reveal where it is hidden.
In truth, the final level runs as long as it takes for you to accumulate enough points in the level to continue on to the battle with Medusa. If you don't have enough points, the stage will loop back from the start. It shouldn't take more than two trips through the level, though, unless you're not killing anything.
For some, the last dungeon (3-4) might be a brain-wreckingly difficult.
Its difficulty is alleviated in the 3D Classics-port, which seems to be mainly based on the Japanese version, and thus has a save-feature (comparable to The Legend of Zelda), meaning you can just reload your savestate on the latest level reached. Additionally, you can choose between two control modes, "CUSTOM" and "ORIGINAL". ORIGINAL has Pit maneuver like in his NES-title; CUSTOM, on the other hand, gives him much smoother run- and jump-physics, a faster shooting-frequency, being able to jump while aiming up, and being able to slow his descent like in Of Myths and Monsters. Believe it or not, this makes the game much more accessible and manageable.
No Arc in Archery: Though it's justified, since Pit's arrows are made of light. (At least as part of the Three Sacred Treasures, and in the newer games he shows up in.)
Non-Indicative Name: The title. There's no one named Icarus, despite what they say onCaptain N. The second game names Palutena's guard the "Icarus Army" of which Pit is a member, making it a little less jarring, though the Japanese had to wait until the early 2010s to be able to play that game, when it got a Virtual Console, since only international releases were made, with the Japanese receiving the North American version (fortunately for them, English classes are mandatory there, and the game isn't very plot-heavy).
Lampshaded many years later in Uprising, where in one of the tutorial videos, Pit wonders just who this "Icarus" guy is, and when he'll get to meet him. Palutena tells him not to worry about it.
Surprisingly it has a relation to the Icarus from Mythology. Icarus was a human who attempted to fly with wings made of wax, and died because he flew near the sun which melted the wax. Pit can't fly. That's... the only relation you can get.
Progressively Prettier: In the manual and Japanese advert, and even in the final battle, Medusa is depicted as a giant, overweight cyclops monster, even so big that she takes up a whole wall in the final stage. Once defeated, however, she returns to being the same size as Palutena, and kinda cute.
Red Shirt Army: The Centurions. Turned into stone by Medusa, you spend half your time in the dungeons saving them with Hammers(?!) only to have them drop like flies when they attempt to fight the bosses, who aren't that tough anyway.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: Infamously so. The first levels are teeth-gnashingly difficult, not only because you have no power-ups, but since you're climbing upward, the Bottomless Pit is effectively chasing you. (Uprising has a nod to this, with Pit having very unpleasant memories of dying repeatedly there.) The second world is side-scrolling and quite a bit easier. The third spikes the difficulty with another upward climb, and the final level (where you have One-Hit Polykill laser arrows) is so easy it's practically a Cut Scene. In addition, each fortress is an exercise in eggplant-induced masochism, but the fortress bosses are pushovers.
Segmented Serpent: The Fire Serpent in Of Myth And Monsters, guardian of the Skyworld fortress. The head is different from the other parts and is the only part that can be damaged.
Shout-Out: Several enemies are named after deities and beasts from Greek mythology, though many of these names have been slightly altered (or, more likely, bungled in the translation). Also look out for creatures resemblingGoombas (Shulm) and Metroids(Komayto = Ko-meto = baby Metroid). Finally, one monster is called Mick and takes the form of an oversized mouth with its tongue sticking out, and the worm-like Eeleye which emerges from the Collin soldiers/suits of armour is called Phil in Japan. Thus, Phil Collins.
The items Pit needs to collect on his quest are called the Three Sacred Treasures (there's four of them; the Light Arrows and Wings of Pegasus are in both games, but the Mirror Shield was replaced by the Silver Armor in Of Myths and Monsters, though it seems some kind of armor was part of the original set anyway) While they're not theThree Sacred Treasures, the naming convention for the set of items was probably intentional.
Smooch of Victory: The American version took out the bad ending where Pit is turned into a specknose and replaced it with a perfect ending where Palutena kisses Pit in addition to turning him into an adult.
Spikes of Doom: Usually in the form of thorns or briars, they are more liberally scattered through Of Myth And Monsters.
Video Game Flight: The angel feather in the second game lets you fly freely for a brief time. The wings of Pegasus let you fly indefinitely but in the first game you are limited by a scrolling screen, the second game only limits you to what can't be broken with your hammers.
Wings Do Nothing: In the first game, this trope is in effect until you get a powerup. In the Game Boy game, they can slow his descent and Pit is again able to obtain a powerup that allows flight. As a trade off, Pit can no longer move while crouching in the Game boy game.