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Video Game: Kid Icarus
"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 title Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagaminote  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 Classics Updated 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.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The sticky talons wear sunglasses.
    • You can acquire a credit cardnote .
  • And I Must Scream: Collin, an enemy in the game, is a soldier of Palutena that had his body taken over by Medusa, and monsters pop out of his body!
  • And Then Pit Was A Monster: In the bad ending of the first game. Oddly, it's Palutena that does it to him. Maybe this is really supposed to be the joke ending? It likely is — that ending is actually considered the hardest to achieve in the game, since getting that ending means you have to be playing a Minimalist Run, and a minimal equipped Pit is a wimpy Pit, and the original game isn't exactly easy. Still, who can say? Only Palutena knows for sure...
  • 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.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • 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.
  • Bandit Mook: The invincible Pluton would steal one of Pit's special weapons and could not be destroyed. Even worse; there was a flying variation. Sticky talons too, but they are destructible.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Mostly played straight.
  • Big Good: Palutena.
  • Body Horror: Getting turned into an ambulatory eggplant? Oh, that's creepy. Particularly if you can't get to the hospital.
  • 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-looking sun, 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  Pit has been making cameos for several games.
  • 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.
  • Completely Different Title: Known by the much less misleading title Hikari Shinwa: Parutena no Kagami (Light Myth: Palutena's Mirror) in Japan. The Centurions are known as Ikaros in Japan, meaning that the Western title may refer to Pit being a young Centurion.
  • Covers Always Lie: Despite the manual artwork of Medusa as an overweight woman, she is actually a Gorgeous Gorgon version of Medusa cursed into a hideous cyclops head.
  • Damsel in Distress: Palutena in the original game. Apparently, being a goddess does not make one immune to this trope.
  • Dark Is Evil: The residents of the Underworld are Always Chaotic Evil, and Medusa is the Goddess of Darkness.
  • 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.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Considering what Kid Icarus shares its engine with, it is not surprising.
  • 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.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: Especially in the vertically scrolling levels.
  • 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.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: In the Famicom version, to get the bad ending where Pit turns into a monster, you'll have to do a Minimalist Run.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Grim Reaper enemies are very hated for it.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Palutena.
  • Fanservice Pack: Palutena and Medusa.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Has a mix between this and Greek/Roman gods.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: While it's probably not actually supposed to be heaven, Skyworld certainly looks the part.
  • Four Is Death: Most enemies appear in groups of four, most notably the Reapettes. The centurions come in waves of three and they fight alongside Pit, making four.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The NES manual has a depiction of a fully nude (nipples and everything) Syren.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: The Big Toes that fall from the sky in the Game Boy game are a little smaller than most examples. Also, Orcos shows one of the usual size.
  • God of Evil: Medusa.
  • God of Good: Palutena.
  • 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.
  • I Got Bigger: The good ending of the first game.
  • 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.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Plutons.
  • Invisible Bowstring: The game features a curious example: Pit's bows do have strings, but only when he is shooting an arrow. They strangely disappear when not in use.
  • Kill All Humans: Medusa's goal.
  • Kill the God: Pit killed Medusa in the first game.
  • Large And In Charge: Medusa is larger then any other enemy in the game. Orcos from the Game Boy sequel seems to be a subversion, but eventually goes to "truly titanic" size!
  • Level 1 Music Represents: The Underworld theme is the most iconic music of the series. Though given the time you'll spend there it's not too suprising.
  • Light Is Good: Palutena, in direct contrast to Medusa, is the Goddess of Light.
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: Pit. (Actually it's the Underworld, but trope still applies.)
  • Make My Monster Grow: Orcos impressively goes up to Godzilla size. See for yourself!
  • Marathon Level: The final stage in the original game.
    • 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.
  • Medusa: The Big Bad of the first game.
  • Minotaur: The Underworld fortress guardian in of Myth And Monsters. Few players got by him. Those that did tended to be annoyed to learn he was an early bird boss.
  • Multiple Endings: The ending you get in the first Kid Icarus is affected by the number of hearts, weapons, hit point upgrades and strength upgrades you've collected.
    • The first Kid Icarus is a rare example that PUNISHES speedrunning: You get the bad ending if you fail to max out any of the four categories.
  • Nintendo Hard: Like difficulty curves? Then you'll love the new "difficulty cliff"! It starts out extremely difficult, but out of nowhere it becomes easy. World 1 is the hardest in the game. It is Hell, after all.
    • 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 on Captain 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.
  • Off Model: While Pit's sprites in Of Myths and Monsters generally look better than in his NES-debut, his crouching, aiming up, and Death Throws-sprites look pretty weird, the latter being quite the bit of Uncanny Valley.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Pit resembles Cupid and the putti of the Renaissance art.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Hewdraw is little more than a sea serpent. In Uprising he becomes a flying hydra.
  • Pit, Did You Just Punch Out Medusa?: The three sacred treasures are needed to even reach her though, so it is not so surprising.
  • Praetorian Guard: Rare example of this trope not belonging to the Big Bad. Palutena has one in the form of the Icarus Army. Pit, the goddess' most loyal servant, is their leader.
  • 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.
  • Rapid Aging: Pit grew rapidly from child to adult in the good ending of the first game. Few people ever got to the ending, much less saw the good one, so they just assume his older appearance was part of Brawl's redesign. In reality, if the good ending is canon, they made him younger.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Palutena.
  • Ratchet Scrolling: One of the main sources of difficulty in the first game.
  • 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.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Medusa, the God of Evil Big Bad, has snakes growing in her hair.
  • Sacred Bow and Arrows: Pit is able to use the holy Light Arrows, once wielded by the goddess Palutena.
  • Scenery Porn: The 3D Classics-rerelease of the first game has some really nice-looking backgrounds.
  • 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 resembling Goombas (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 the Three Sacred Treasures, the naming convention for the set of items was probably intentional.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Spike traps in the fortresses, sometimes going in four directions.
  • 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.
  • Sticky Fingers: Sticky Talons in the Game Boy game.
  • Taken for Granite: The Centurions in the first game by Medusa. Palutena in the Game Boy game by Orcos.
  • This Was Her True Form: Upon the defeat of monster Medusa, Medusa's humanoid form (but still green-skinned) comes out of monster Medusa's eyeball and dies.
    • Then inverted in Uprising, as her one-eyed, cyclops-faced form is revealed to be her true form in the game according to her idol. She has to use magic to cover up her cursed form.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: In the original NES game, the final level is a Horizontal Scrolling Shooter.
  • 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.
  • Widget Series: Probably the strangest rendition of Greek Mythology ever conceived.
  • Winged Humanoid: Pit obviously. Also the Syren.
  • 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.
    • The Kobils and Shemums can't fly either.
  • Woman in White: Palutena, further cementing her status as the Goddess of Light.
  • Wrap Around: In the NES game, not in Of Myths and Monsters because the Game Boy's resolution, the screen scrolls horizontally.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Palutena (green; also a case of Curtains Match the Window), and Pit goes through different hair colors at different power levels in the NES game and blue is the strongest.

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alternative title(s): Kid Icarus
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