Handheld Chronicles #5-Kid Icarus Of Myths and Monsters

Imagine a world where all the things you love are accessible in a way that is pleasing to you, and not only available via stupid contest or online shopping rates.

Here's lookin' at you, kid.
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

Not only that but these awesome things are available in portable, fun to play ways, long before corporations and sponsors of monetary profit from your childhood memories got a hold of things..

God do I hate you and your stupid, stupid face.
God do I hate you and your stupid, stupid face.

Today we journey back to a time when those two words Kid Icarus actually meant something and weren’t tainted by modern interpretation, you know, like when cellphones were the size of a brick and not an amoeba, men were men, and, yeah I got nothing. Kid Icarus on the Gameboy, get hyped! Shut up, Michaeal Bay, you keep your explosions out of my intro, bub!

Hey, that's my line!
Hey, that’s my line!

Nobody asked you, Hugh Jackman.

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Sound: 8
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about many good handheld games, regardless of which handheld the title is on, would be the ability to create compelling soundtracks that have depth, complexity, and the ability to keep the gamer going through the game regardless of the difficulty, and whether you’re playing a Kid Icarus title on the Gameboy or the NES, the soundtrack, while too cute and cuddly in certain moments, plods right along with you as you make your way through, increasing with a sense of urgency mixed with tense moments that all together create a well rounded soundtrack despite how limited the hardware in comparison to the consoles of the time. While the early levels may have music that some can find annoying, it is a nice contrast to the more serious tone of later levels, including the ominous boss music. The sound effects in this Gameboy title are also well done, bringing the same NES sounds to its little brother, but also using some other sound effects no present in the console original. Kid Icarus games are memorable because they don’t beat you over the head with any aspect of the game, it’s just enough to keep you coming back, and the soundtrack is no different.

Graphics: 7
While not a slouch by any means on the Gameboy, with bosses that look awesome (even the final one that takes up the entire screen!) where the game excels in bosses it suffers in a lack of variety within levels, as so many of them (especially the dungeons) look too much alike, which makes an already difficult game that much more so because boredom can claim novice players easily. While the enemies look great, at times the grainy, plain graphics of the Gameboy (see no color!) can make them almost forgettable in some aspects, with gamers only concerned about NES Icarus enemies of popularity and not any of the support players. I just feel had developers paid ample attention to the level design as they did with the bosses the game would be far more well rounded in relation to graphics. It’s as if the motto was “Come for the bosses, stay for the rest of the bland stuff” and is that really a good impression to be sending to gamers? I’m not sure, because truly do we eat Lays potato chips because they’re made of potatoes and taste good, or because they taste like something that should NEVER be on a potato chip?

Wrong. It's just wrong.
Wrong. It’s just wrong.

Gameplay: 6
Now don’t get me wrong, Kid Icarus Of Myth and Monsters is a solid port of the original NES Kid Icarus on the Gameboy, but nothing changes the fact that this game is HARD, like if the Gameboy wasn’t a brick and I wasn’t afraid of hurting someone with it I’d throw it HARD. It isn’t that the mechanics of the game are hard, as anyone who has played Kid Icarus or games like it can understand the controls just fine, and it isn’t even some of the more frustrating enemies or bosses. The problem, or at least something that is often overlooked in the game are the little things that if overlooked can not only stagger your progress in the game, but downright bring it to a screeching halt, and this would be the purchase or discovery of necessary items when it comes to defeating certain bosses, including the final boss. What I’ve come to find is that this isn’t a Mega Man game, you can’t improvise if you don’t have a certain weapon, you either better have it, or be forced to start the whole game over. I’m sure there may be certain gamers/masochists out there who say they can get through the game on little weapon upgrades or power ups (that’s another thing, reaching a level of points can increase your life as well as earn you more final weapons, but being a horrible player, like me, earns you squat) but those people are just looney toons, and not in a cool, let’s hang with Michael Jordan looney toon.

You stay out of this, Dan Akroyd.
You stay out of this, Dan Akroyd.

While many, including myself, have fond memories of Kid Icarus, as well as feel it really hasn’t transitioned well into modern gaming, I do feel this is another solid entry in the highly limited series of the franchise. That being said, I would strongly suggest using an online walkthrough or even an LP on YouTube when playing this title for the first time, even if you’re no stranger to the Kid Icarus style presented in the game. Despite feeling that this is a solid title on the Gameboy, I feel the replay value is extremely low because once you play through it once, you’ll be putting it down for a time to play far easier titles in your Gameboy collection. However, it is one you’ll definitely come back to, if only a few times each year. One has to wonder what the story of Pit and company would be in the present day gaming world had Nintendo decided to do future titles after this one, say a SNES, N64, or even Gamecube game featuring our winged hero? In the end, Kid Icarus Of Myth and Monsters is average at best, but the bittersweet memories of Pit will be calling to you like a siren song, even if after a while it starts sounding like a One Direction or Justin Beiber song you wish your local radio station would stop playing.

Next time on Handheld Chronicles we take a look at our ol’ pal Kirby’s first dance on the Gameboy with Kirby’s Dream Land. Until then, just because it’s portable doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome!

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