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Top 10 Things I, Kris Wright, Would Like To See In "Kid Icarus: Uprising" [top ten]
I've never made much of a splash over here at Negative World, but some of you guys may remember me from my days in the IGN Wii Lobby many years ago. Back then, I developed a bit of a reputation as a fan of the original Kid Icarus game. Without going too much into detail, back when I was growing up, Kid Icarus was for me what The Legend of Zelda was for a lot of the rest of you. I'm one of those rare guys who actually put a lot of time into the original game and I've been waiting patiently for a sequel for a very long time. Even started work on my own, if you can believe it.

So, with "Kid Icarus: Uprising" on the way, I thought I might go over the top 10 things I'd like to see in the new game.

Now, I'm going to leave out the obvious stuff everybody wants. It should go without saying that I want the game to control well, be impressive graphically, show the polish that Nintendo is known for, etc. Those should be taken for granted. Here, I'm going to be looking at less obvious things, from the heart of a lifelong fan of Kid Icarus.

(I should also mention that I know next to nothing about Uprising. I've seen last year's E3 trailer and a few screenshots. There are things I love and things I'm iffy about, but I'm by no means up to date on my information. So if I start talking about something that's already confirmed to be in or not in the game, then hey, that's news to me.)

Here I go...
Posted: 05/02/11, 01:44:06  - Edited by 
 on: 05/02/11, 09:35:51
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10.) No Unnecessary Extra Modes (Except One)
On That Other Forum, I read a comment by some poor soul who thought Uprising needed to have a multiplayer mode to be successful. To me, that's just entirely unnecessary and not something I want Project Sora wasting their time on. A sequel to Kid Icarus has been a long time coming and now is not the time to be screwing around with some ridiculous 8 player Deathmatch mode. We know Sakurai has a special talent for loading a game with features, but that's really not necessary for the first Kid Icarus game in 20 years. All I want is a great Kid Icarus game. Nothing else is necessary. I want nothing to divide the development team's attention.

Though having said that, I have one mode I'd love to see: Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. Wouldn't it be great if players could unlock the seldom-played Kid Icarus sequel from the original Gameboy? It's a well-designed, fun little game and I'd love to see it get a second life as a reward in Uprising. Let people play it, Nintendo. It'd be a good move for the Kid Icarus franchise.

9.) Cameos By Other Long Lost Nintendo Properties
Little Mac might have beat him to it by a few years, but is there any doubt that Pit is the current poster child for all those ancient Nintendo properties that deserve to come out of retirement? As such, I think it would be a lot of fun to see a few cameos by long lost Nintendo characters who are still waiting around for their own sequels.

Who? Well, the Ice Climbers for a start. Considering they have a lot in common with Pit - vertical platforming gameplay, R&D1 pedigree, light-heartedness, something to do with eggplants, etc. - it really wouldn't be too much of a mismatch to have them in there.

I'd be delighted to see walk-on cameos from R&D1 characters like Bubbles, Professor Hector, Stanley the Bugman, or any of the other old NES characters who've never appeared in a game since the 80s. Sora shouldn't just shoehorn them in, of course, but if there are places where their appearances might feel natural (in a crowd in a town, maybe?) I say go for it. Make it not only an occasion to celebrate Kid Icarus, but to celebrate all the second tier Nintendo franchises from the early days of the NES.
8.) The Right Story (And Not Too Much)
It won't bother me if Uprising is a bit more story driven than usual for a Nintendo property. Kid Icarus could work as a cinematic style game - a style Nintendo could use in their roster. So I'd love for Uprising to be built around a good, solid story. But, considering this is a handheld system and something of a retro-throwback, let's not get too bogged down with it. Make us care about the characters, yes, but only after you've made us care about the gameplay.
7.) Some Inside Reference To The Long Wait
The trailer sort of did this already, but I'd love to see something in the game that acknowledges the ridiculous wait we've gone through for this game.

In my own fake sequel, I had Kid Icarus sleeping in the depths of Hades for 20 years. I don't expect Uprising to have something that drastic, but some meta-reference to the wait would be appreciated. It feels like a celebration that a new Kid Icarus game is coming out at all. The game should delight in acknowledging it.
6.) Minor Characters Return
At this point I know Pit, Palutena, Medusa and the Eggplant Wizard will return in some form or other. But how about Crow? Orcos? What role will the Centurions play?

These are really obscure characters and the Kid Icarus series could certainly continue successfully without them. Speaking as a fan, though, I think it'd be great to see these characters back. (Maybe it's because I worry that this might be the only Kid Icarus game for a while, so want to see them in all their 3D glory while I have the chance. Not sure.)
5.) Pit, The Heroic Mute
I think most of you would agree that it is no longer particularly special to have a character in a video game who talks. We're long past the days of Sinistar. Voice acting in games is no longer considered a novelty. In most games released today, it's essential.

Nowadays, I feel even more strongly that a game character only needs a voice when it is absolutely necessary for characterization. With Pit, I don't believe it is. He's a product of the earliest NES days. Pit was associated with Link and Mario back before they had their own cartoon shows, spinoffs and breakfast cereals. And, just like those characters, Pit doesn't have to say a lot to be a great character. In fact, I'll argue that it would be more special to underline that history by carrying on the Nintendo heroic mute tradition with Pit. It sends the message that this is a character from the Golden Age of Gaming. This is a character that shares part of his identity with some of the greatest game characters of all time. Very few modern game characters have that pedigree. And there's just something special about these Nintendo mutes. Why wreck that?

Also, just personally, I don't want Pit to come off like some goofy, Sonic-snarking a**hole. I'd much rather project the personality I've always imagined him to have onto the new game, not have Sakurai reveal it to be something else entirely.
4.) The Mythos Treated With Respect
Angel Land is a weird ****ing place. I won't argue with that. But, to me, that's part of the appeal of the series.

So far, Sora seems to be treating the series mythology with respect. They're not getting rid of some of the more oddball ideas, like the Eggplant Wizards, and they're updating the mythos with care. I like that. I'm happy that I can see Medusa pop up in that trailer, even though there are people who argued she was somehow too much of a lightweight to be the villain (not THIS Medusa, partner. You're thinking of some Medusa from some other game.)

But I hope it continues even more deeply in Uprising. I hope the basic story ideas from the original game stay intact. Not just characters like Medusa and Palutena, but I hope we see, for instance, the Three Sacred Treasures. I hope Pit's role as Palutena's champion is more or less the same. I hope I get to run around in pools of healing water and train with Zeus and try to avoid the irritating God of Poverty. And I hope all of this is done without Sora feeling the need to send it up and make jokes out of it.

Let me also say, I'm glad they didn't dork around with the name "Kid Icarus". Back in the days of the 'Cube, when the Nintendo bashers used the word "mature" instead of "hardcore" and "kiddie" instead of "casual", there seemed to be a movement to drop the word Kid from the title. You know, as if having the word "Kid" in the title was poison to all self-respecting mature gamers. I thought that was ludicrous, but I heard it relatively frequently. These same people wanted to make Pit some kind of generic badass rather than the character we see in all those NES booklet drawings. I'm just glad they didn't get their way.

(Okay, so the original game wasn't called Kid Icarus in Japan. Fine. That doesn't mean it isn't an awesome and memorable title. I'm really happy that Nintendo is keeping it. There was a time when great fighters used to put the name "Kid" in front of their nickname, to show that they were youthful and exuberant. Kid Dynamite. Kid Galahad. Kid Icarus. Works for me.)
3.) Hip Tanaka's Soundtrack Tastefully Orchestrated
Oh my God, does Kid Icarus have great music! So many classic, gorgeous tunes. If you haven't heard them - or haven't heard them in a while - have a listen here:

Title Theme

Personally, I think the title theme to Kid Icarus is the single greatest theme tune from the NES days. Or, at the very least, second only to the Mario theme. Listen to the arpeggios that start at the 0:57 mark. Is that not the most beautiful sound that ever came out of an NES?

Underworld Theme

Everyone knows the Underworld theme. I thought Brawl kind of screwed it up, to be honest, making it big and brassy where it should be more about martial determination.

Castle Theme

The castle music from the fortress stages is nice and exotic in flavor. There's a wonderful OC remix of this floating around that really emphasizes the unsettling nature of the tune.

El Skyworld!

Sigh. Skyworld. One of the more playful tunes from the era. A little goofy, but I still like it.

Overworld Theme

The Overworld theme really has a great adventuring, travelling feel. Mixes a little of Waxies Dargle in there, too. Brawl had a fine version of this one, which is also included in this video.

Some Gameboy Noise

While the Gameboy sequel certainly didn't have music in the same league as the NES game, it had its moments. I particularly like the syncopation here.

I'd love to hear perfect, orchestrated versions of these tunes, along with new music in this vein. Kid Icarus is well known for its soundtrack and I hope Sora carries on that legacy. One of the things I'm most looking forward to is hearing these tunes.
2.) A Sense of Humor
I said I want Sora to respect the mythos of Kid Icarus. I believe that whole-heartedly. But part of doing that is recognizing that this game series always had a sense of humor about it, too. Just the fact that the lead character can get turned into an eggplant with legs - that's possibly the single weirdest thing in NES history. And it's meant to be weird. It's meant to be funny.

At the end of Myths and Monsters, Pit flies too close to the sun and his wings fall off. Is that canon? Who cares? It's just there to be funny. I remember falling all over myself the first time I ever saw a reaper start freaking out when it spot me. And then nearly wet myself laughing at the little Reapettes. Just the fact that they're called Reapettes, like they're the Reaper's backup singers. The fact that there were Metroids in the game, or that there were little thugs who'd rob you. Or that you could threaten the shop dealer with the second controller. Or when you die it doesn't say "Game Over" Pit shouts "I'm Finished!" And don't get me started on the Specknoses!

This is a game that never took itself too seriously. And I know it may sound ironic coming from the guy who wrote The Fall of Kid Icarus, but I think it'd be a shame if the game lost some of its quirkiness. Oh, make the threats real. There should be scope and a real sense of danger in the game. But, like with the great Mario games, where Bowser is likely to have a big neon sign that says "Bowser" on top of his castle, don't sacrifice the funny factor just to give the game an epic scope. This is Nintendo, damnit.
1.) Hard-As-Hell Platforming
It all comes back to this, though. The hallmark of Kid Icarus is the extremely punishing vertical platforming in some of the levels. The 3DS might not be the best system to go vertical, but at the very least, this should primarily be a platformer. It should be a hard game, a few levels in difficulty above your average Mario game. Make it dense with enemies and a challenge for people who can cakewalk Galaxy.

And that justifies having another AAA platformer series on the Nintendo roster in 2011. In a way, Kid Icarus is like Ninja Gaiden in the sense that part of the appeal is the difficulty. Okay, the original Kid Icarus is not all that hard by today's standards, but many of us remember playing it as kids and being blistered by it. If you fall, you're going back to the beginning of the level, compadre. It's unforgiving like that.

I want this mystique back. I want people to say "I beat Kid Icarus: Uprising" and have it mean something. You gotta have good reflexes and a quick mind to beat this game. You gotta know your platform gaming and play close, close attention to what's going on as you play. You gotta take the opportunities to power up. I want to see levels absolutely swarming with snakes, Monoeyes and Reapers.

It took me over a decade to beat this game. I would adore seeing the gauntlet thrown down again.

I want to fight this game all the way to victory. Make it so, Sakurai.

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Posted: 05/02/11, 01:44:06  - Edited by 
 on: 05/02/11, 09:35:51
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Ha! Pretty cool top ten. I really wish Kid Icarus had won the retro game club poll, but there's always next time.

I don't have a top ten of my own, but here are some comments:

10. With the Virtual Handheld service on the way, you can forgot about an unlockable Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. They will be selling it to us for at least $3. But hey, in the end the result is still that more people get to play it, right?

9. What is it with the Japanese and eggplants? They're in Kid Icarus, Ice Climbers, Adventure Island... and always evil. What the hell?

5. The trailer made me very, very afraid that Pit will indeed be spewing one-liners left and right.
Posted: 05/02/11, 02:18:12
Guillaume said:
5. The trailer made me very, very afraid that Pit will indeed be spewing one-liners left and right.

Yeah, and that's just not how I imagined Pit. If anything, I see him as a kind of military mind. Loyal. Determined. That sort of thing. Certainly not a wise-cracker.
Posted: 05/02/11, 02:26:50
Hmm, I think you must have edited your post while I was fixing the pic that stretched the page. Should be fine now.
Posted: 05/02/11, 03:01:25
Awesome thread, I've never played Kid Icarus (but I will soon, Retro Game Club willing...) so it's cool to see what a passionate fan wants out of the new game.

Yeah, I just want a complete, unique game. Multiplayer will not happen, I'm sure. But as long as it doesn't hinder development otherwise, I wouldn't mind seeing a couple minigames or arena challenge modes rounding out the package. As for presentation, I'm sure it'll have great tunes and a decent story, but I'm worried the Star Fox style chat will get old fast. It takes just the right pinch of cheese to pull it off, and I get the feeling Sakurai's going to go overboard and make it kind of ridiculous.

I don't expect it to set the world on fire, but I'm sure the game will be a solid Nintendo effort in the end.
Posted: 05/02/11, 03:29:41
well hello

i feel you! when it first came out kid Kid Icarus was SO HARD for me. I don't think I got far at all whatsoever. i didn't like the physics of the game (unlike the italian plumber). still, I loved loved loved the game even if I never passed the first or second level. I remember the articles you made for the sequel and I wish Nintendo would hire you to work on the next title... but oh well.. we'll just have to see and wait. I also don't like characters that talk (metroid other m yuck... kid icarus trailer yuck...). It's weird they realized that Link should be mute but decided to give a voice to pit. I really need to spend mroe time with the NES outing... maybe i'll start being more excited for the 3DS title... although I still don't have a 3DS :o

(I warned everyone months before release... 3d is already passe' now... the 3DS will face a LOT of struggle)
Posted: 05/02/11, 04:58:54
The one game I felt was truly Nintendo Hard (NES gen) this generation of console was From Software's Demon's Souls... DKCR is close for Wii but more challenging than truly hard. I'd love to see Kid Icarus done Nintendo Hard as long as they play test the hell out of it to make sure its fun, encourages you to continue playing and gratifying when you advance.

Nice write-up
Posted: 05/02/11, 05:14:00  - Edited by 
 on: 05/02/11, 05:14:36
Nice list! I like Kid Icarus a lot and I'm very excited about Uprising.

I do think, from the gameplay videos I've seen so far, that I like the dialogue in the game quite a bit so far. Pit isn't really a Sonic-like wisecracker, from what I can ascertain; he seems more youthful and somewhat naive, like a young Fox McCloud. In fact, if anyone's the snarky one, Palutena's got a bit of a dry with about her, and the dialogue I've seen in the demos is actually one of the more charming things about the game.

Small correction though--while Brawl had a stage called Skyworld, its remixed music was actually from one of the other worlds.
Posted: 05/02/11, 05:36:22
By the way, I don't think you'll get your #1 wish...the game resembles Star Fox more than it does any platformer...a shame, I would agree, but I think it'll be a pretty cool take on the action/shooter genre anyway.
Posted: 05/02/11, 05:39:22
Nice top 10, I agree with pretty much everything.

I'm very wary of this game though, it looks way to Sin and Punishment for my taste. I'd much rather have a 2-D platformer ala New Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Country Returns, but you can't get everything you want can you!
Posted: 05/02/11, 05:52:19
Rack 'em up like Wii Bowling! I'm responding to ever'body! :)

@nate38 Yeah, it looks like Space Harrier or something. Now, I personally like Space Harrier and I don't think it's a total mismatch for Kid Icarus. But I'm a little annoyed that, after all these years, they're just using the characters rather than really giving us a new Kid Icarus game. But... I'm keeping an open mind. I want to like this game and I trust Sakurai to not give us something bad. Cautiously optimistic, I'll say.

@Fabz Fabz, you superstar you! So great to see you man! I'm just doing drive-bys around the Lobby and Negative World right now. Not sure if I'll make it permanent, but I'm definitely having fun. It's great to see you. We'll have to catch up one of these days.

You make a good point about the 3DS. I think the 3D effect is cool, but I'm just not sure it's going to make the experience exponentially better. I love my DS Lite, but Uprising is the main reason I'm planning to get a 3DS at some point. I just can't imagine skipping out on that title. So really, for me, there's no choice.

@vids Yeah, I'd be happy if at least a portion of this game is pure unadulterated Nintendo Hard. They don't make 'em like that anymore. And that's exactly why Kid Icarus could fill a niche for players like us.

@TriforceBun Oops, you're right. I got confused by the title on the YouTube video I was linking to. It sounded a little mismatched but I didn't stop to think about it and I got it wrong. I've gone ahead and changed it in the original article. Thanks. Well-spotted.

@deathly_hallows What I hope is that Uprising succeeds on its own terms and that fuels excitement for a proper action platformer sequel on Project Cafe. Then again, you're right that you can't always get what you want. Especially if you're a Kid Icarus fan! We'll see.
Posted: 05/02/11, 09:42:20  - Edited by 
 on: 05/02/11, 09:45:04
Spectacular list!

#4 has to be my #1. I love Greek Mythology and the fun atmosphere they brought with the first game. I really hope for a great, detailed story. If they make it cheesy it will be okay only IF they don't take it seriously. Serious cheese smells horrible.
Posted: 05/02/11, 18:08:08
Hi kriswright, glad to see you on negative world!

Great list! I don't have much to add to what's been said already. I'm not as devoted to the Kid Icarus franchise as you, good sir, but I truly hope this game meets the expectations of the fans who have been waiting these long years for a true revival. Which is why fulfilling # 7 would be pretty cool.

I never had the chance to play the NES classic back when I had my NES in the late 80s, but I bought it as soon as it came out on Wii VC. I did beat it and really enjoyed it.

I can definitely agree with # 3. That NES music just soothes the soul. The original soundtrack definitely makes its rounds on my music playlist (I have the import CD, Famicom 20th Anniversary Original Sound Tracks Vol. 1).
Posted: 05/02/11, 18:22:08
Great list, and I'm very much looking forward to this new game, too. As said above, I don't think we'll get the Gameboy sequel as an unlockable. Not when Nintendo can sell it to us on the eShop.

Can't wait to see what Sakurai is coming up with. All the games he has directed have been stuffed with content and are fun to play. Let's hope his 3DS debut is as stellar as his track record!
Posted: 05/02/11, 18:27:46
Nice list!

I'll address the points from the top:

10) Sakurai does have a way with multiplayer modes. Kid Icarus doesn't need it, but if he throws one in, I bet that it would be fun. I'm sure there will be plenty of extra content and unlockables, though. It's just Sakurai's way. That web of unlockables. No chance for Of Myths and Monsters, though, as long as the handheld VC still exists.

8) Story... Maybe he'll get the FFVII dude again? There is some dramatic depth and angst to be mined from the whole sun-melting-wings thing, but Sakurai has said that he wants to hew closer to the light-hearted spirit of the NES game, which is fine.

5) Bark like a dog! Unlike Link, I never felt that Pit was an avatar of the player, so I don't think he needs to be mute. And I don't mind Pit's voice in Uprising. It's just the stuff that the voice says... Kind of cheesy, but whatever. It could be gloriously cheesy, like SF64. So cheesy that it gets good again. (Funny picture!)

3) Kid Icarus does have great music. I especially enjoy the main theme. It's beautiful, and oddly similar to Metroid 1 in some ways. I'm sure Sakurai will ring that nostalgia bell pretty hard. Hopefully, the new tracks can stand up.

1) I think the game should be challenging, but I doubt that it will have much platforming. Especially the vertical platforming of the original. The 3DS just isn't the right system for that, what with the widescreen display, the lack of easy camera control... This seems to be an action take on the Kid Icarus brand. Which is fine, as long as your expectations are in check. I don't think that this game will play like Kid Icarus AT ALL. For that reason, I'd love a new 2D version, as well. Super Kid Icarus, if you will.

I do think that the Prime formula might be interesting if applied to Kid Icarus. Especially the vertical platforming. I thought that stuff was handled brilliantly in Prime. I only wish it were a bigger part of the gameplay.
Posted: 05/02/11, 19:20:21
Anand said:

5) Bark like a dog! Unlike Link, I never felt that Pit was an avatar of the player, so I don't think he needs to be mute. And I don't mind Pit's voice in Uprising. It's just the stuff that the voice says... Kind of cheesy, but whatever. It could be gloriously cheesy, like SF64. So cheesy that it gets good again. (Funny picture!)

I never considered that but THAT COULD BE AWESOME!

Might we have our next Do A Barrel Roll?!?!

Posted: 05/02/11, 19:28:12

@Abdooooo Yeah, that's why I hope they don't make it cheesy at all. I mean, a character like the Eggplant Wizard, by nature, has to be funny. But I feel they can include a silly idea like that without making the whole game silly.

@roykoopa64 Great to see you too, Roy. :) That album looks really awesome, man. Is the Famicom version different from the NES version? I don't remember the difference in the sound tech in the two systems, but the clips I've seen on YouTube make the Famicom version seem a little woofier, if that makes sense. Not sure if that's just crappy encoding on the video, though.

Sounds great either way, though.

@GameDadGrant I really hope so, too. I do trust him to make a great game. And even though I've said I don't want it stuffed with extra modes, I do think he's a guy who delivers when it comes to expanded content. So if there IS going to be a bunch of extras, at least we have the King of Extras in charge.

@Anand Yeah, I don't know. If I were in charge of the game, I'd definitely go the mute direction with Pit, but I can see what you mean about him maybe being less of an avatar character than some others from the era. Mostly, I just think there are a hundred way to get Pit's personality wrong, so I think it'd work better without that being an issue at all.

Love your idea about Super Kid Icarus. Man, what I wouldn't give to play that game.

@-JKR- Haha. I hope not. Cheese isn't usually considered a virtue. Starfox could take it because voice acting was brand new and there was no skepticism around the series. I'm not sure Kid Icarus could take the punch, to be honest.
Posted: 05/03/11, 23:31:42  - Edited by 
 on: 05/03/11, 23:32:33
I don't know enough about the series to comment too much, but I'm all behind #2. I remember how drooley a lot of people were getting over the supposed mature, serious ICARUS, but there are already like 100 versions of that out there. Games that really use humour can grab me, and Eggplant Wizards are hilarious (and possibly tasty... I love me some eggplant.)
Posted: 05/03/11, 23:43:45
kriswright said:
@roykoopa64 Great to see you too, Roy. :) That album looks really awesome, man. Is the Famicom version different from the NES version? I don't remember the difference in the sound tech in the two systems, but the clips I've seen on YouTube make the Famicom version seem a little woofier, if that makes sense. Not sure if that's just crappy encoding on the video, though.

Sounds great either way, though.

I always assumed Famicom and NES were the same hardware. If you browse the NES wikipedia page and look at the section "Regional Differences," I don't think the sound quality would have been different either way.

The interesting thing about this CD, though, is apparently there are sound differences between Famicom and Famicom Disk System songs, since they are listed separately on the CD with a noteable difference in quality.
Posted: 05/03/11, 23:58:29  - Edited by 
 on: 05/03/11, 23:58:49
Yeah, Zero, I never really understood the people who wanted a Kid Icarus that was all dark and serious. I assume it's just because, you know, teenagers generally like darkity dark bulls*** and don't recognize that a lot of that stuff is just as juvenile and contrived as stuff that's aimed specifically at kids.

Remember this image?

I don't know what that is, but it's darn sure not Kid Icarus.

EDIT:@roykoopa64Ah, of course. That would explain it. Kid Icarus was released for the disk system in Japan. Maybe they had a straight Password Pack version like ours as well. Not sure about that.
Posted: 05/04/11, 00:01:20  - Edited by 
 on: 05/04/11, 00:03:55
Yeah, didn't the Disk System have advanced audio capabilities, or something? That seems kind of far-fetched, but I remember hearing something about how the Japanese versions of the DS games had slightly different audio. Is that true for Zelda, though?

The Disk System seems like it was a pretty successful add-on, in Japan. I'm glad that I didn't have to buy one, but...

I wonder how many advantages it had. Just ROM size and storage?
Posted: 05/04/11, 17:42:56
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