Kid Icarus (game)

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Kid Icarus
光神話 パルテナの鏡
Hikari Shinwa: Palthena no Kagami
Publisher: Nintendo

Nintendo R&D1

Console: Family Computer Disk System, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console
Genre: Action, Platforming
Release: Famicom/NES:
JP December 19, 1986
NA July 1987
EU February 15, 1987


JP August 10, 2004

Wii Virtual Console:

JP January 23, 2007
NA February 12, 2007
PAL February 23, 2007

Nintendo Switch NES Online Service:

JP March 19, 2019
NA March 19, 2019
Ratings: ACB: G
PEGI: 7+
Predecessor: N/A
Successor: Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
StrategyWiki guide for Kid Icarus

Kid Icarus, known in Japan as Light Mythology: Palutena's Mirror (光神話 パルテナの鏡 Hikari Shinwa Parutena no Kagami), is a video game released for the Famicom in 1986, and the NES in 1987. It features Pit, the main protagonist of the series. Kid Icarus had two successors, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, and Kid Icarus: Uprising. Kid Icarus re-released on multiple Nintendo consoles and also has a 3DS remake, 3D Classics: Kid Icarus. Much like Metroid, the game features saving through the use of passwords. It was directed by Satoru Okada.

Kid Icarus was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in 2007, and for the Nintendo Switch's NES Online Service in 2019.[1]


From the game's instruction manual:

Let us go back to the distant past to an age when the Gods and Man lived together in harmony. There once was a kingdom called "Angel Land." This kingdom was ruled by two beautiful goddesses, Palutena who administered light and Medusa who ruled darkness. Palutena lived in the Palace in the Sky and administered light so that man could live in happiness. And bathed in this light man grew food and lived in peace. However, Medusa the goddess of darkness was different. Medusa hated mankind. She took great pleasure in drying up the crops that man took great pains to grow and in turning people into stone statues. In her anger Palutena changed Medusa into an ugly monster and banished her to the deep, dark Underworld. For being changed into this ugly monster and forced to live in the Underworld, Medusa promised to take over the Palace in the Sky where Palutena lived. So great was Medusa's anger that she joined forces with the monsters and evil spirits of the Underworld and Medusa'a[sic] soon began to surpass Palutena's army in strength. Soon a war between Palutena and Medusa began. Medusa led a surprise attack on Palutena's army which could barely fend off the attack.

Palutena's army suffered major losses and was heavily defeated in the battle. What's more, Medusa's army took the Three Sacred Treasures - the Mirror Shield, the Arrow of Light, and the Wings of Pegasus - away from them. Almost all of the warriors in Palutena's army were turned into stone statues and Palutena herself was imprisoned deep in the Palace in the Sky. The peaceful realm of Angel Land came to be inhabited by foul and terrible monsters and was turned into a land of darkness ruled by the wicked Medusa. Locked in the depths in the Palace in the Sky, Palutena's strength was drained to its last. As a last resort, she sought the help of the angel youth Pit who was being held prisoner locked in a deep dungeon in the Underworld. Armed with a bow and arrow brought to him through Palutena's magical strength, Pit attempted an escape from the Underworld. The guard at this time was low in number as Medusa's army had advanced to the Palace in the Sky. Pit succeeded in his escape and set out on his long adventure to rescue Palutena. Yet to defeat Medusa he had to get the Three Sacred Treasures.

Will Pit be able to restore Palutena's light and return it to Angel Land? Only you can answer that question.


Kid Icarus is a side-scrolling platformer, though the last stage undergoes a genre shift and becomes a side-scrolling shooter, with a small looping twist.

Pit's arrows have only a short range and he has a jump height of about three times his height; despite having wings, he cannot fly naturally. He can crouch to avoid enemies and even move while crouching at the same speed. However, there are many platforms, such as ice and clouds, that Pit will fall through should he crouch while standing on them. Being damaged will result in a small amount of knockback and very brief invulnerability (even less so when standing on a damage tile, such as lava). Pit can walk behind certain objects, such as pillars and plants, but this won't protect him from being damaged by an enemy.

Pit starts off with one block of health that contains 7 Hit Points. He can earn more blocks, each of which contain 8 additional HP, upon reaching certain score values:

  • Level 2: 20,000
  • Level 3: 50,000
  • Level 4: 100,000
  • Level 5: 200,000

All weapons require Pit to be at a certain "experience level" in order for them to activate, and have full health for that bar, so a high score is a must. The first weapon (after being obtained) activates when Pit reaches two bars, the second weapon requires three, and the third weapon needs a total of four full health bars to activate. Once activated, a weapon stays active even if Pit should fall below the required health level needed to activate it.

Pit's mission will take him through four worlds, each with four stages culminating in an intimidating Fortress. Here, Pit must defeat the guardian and obtain the Sacred Treasure. In the last area, Pit must fly through the remaining forces of Medusa. After defeating Medusa, Pit will restart the game at level 1-1; however, his score, weapons, hearts, level, strength, and Credit Card debt all remain intact, making the next playthrough much easier (especially since the Sacred Chamber in 1-1 will now likely grant Pit a strength upgrade if he's not already at 5). However, any password for 1-1 will override Pit's status and restart the game as though it were a new one. Therefore, players should proceed to 1-2 before acquiring the password.

The game also has five different endings, depending on how well the player did throughout the game. In the NES version, the "worst" ending has Pit rewarded only a helmet, while in the "best" ending, he becomes an adult and receives a kiss from Palutena. In the Famicom version, Pit is turned into a Specknose for the "worst" ending, and becomes a grownup in the "best" ending, but does not receive a kiss from Palutena.

Worlds and levels

Palace in the Sky


Pit's quest will allow him to explore many chambers. Once Pit leaves a room it's forever sealed, with the exception of Fortress rooms. They include:


Pit has a variety of items at his disposal. Some are earned in Sacred Training Chambers, others discovered in Treasure Chambers, others must be bought with Hearts in a variety of Stores.

Regular items

Fortress items

Fortress items disappear when Pit leaves the Fortress that they were found in.

Recovery items


The three weapons.

Pit's weapons do not necessarily activate when obtained; they require him to reach a certain level of health before they'll activate automatically (which in turn requires him to increase his level; see the Gameplay section above). Pit must reach 15 HP to activate the first weapon he picks up. The second weapon requires 23 Hit Points, the third demands 31.


Pit will encounter a vast variety of monsters in his quest, including Fortress guardians protecting the Sacred Casket.




Palace in the Sky

All Areas

Differences between the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom Disk System versions

  • Due to the FDS's advanced soundfont, most of the music and sound effects are more enhanced compared to the NES version.
  • There is a file select and naming system similar to that of The Legend of Zelda.
  • Medusa isn't seen in humanoid form after her defeat in the FDS version; the eye simply vanishes, and Pit walks into the opening.
  • The worst ending in the FDS version features Pit being turned into a Specknose for taking too long to rescue Palutena instead of being turned into a farmer. Likewise, the best ending in the NES version (where Pit becomes a full-grown angel and receives a kiss from Palutena) is removed. In its place is the second-best ending from the NES version, where Pit simply becomes a full-grown angel.
  • There are no credits in the FDS version, and the background for the ending is stark-black instead of a temple setting.
    • On a related note, the ending in the FDS version is a static screen, whereas the NES version's ending is fully animated.
  • The haggling system is altered; someone must shout into the microphone on the Famicom's second controller, instead of pressing A and B on the NES's second controller.



The universe of Kid Icarus borrows heavily from Greco-Roman mythology, as is evidenced by the items, monsters, and characters within. The story itself is (very) loosely based on the legend of Perseus, a human youth who made the dangerous boast of being able to kill Medusa. Aided by Athena, and a few fetch-quests to obtain powerful magic items later (Mirror Shield included), he finally slew her.

The appellation "Icarus" is from a story of a separate youth, the titular son of the famous inventor and genius Daedalus. While kept prisoner, Daedalus created a set of human-sized wings, crafted from wooden straps with bird feathers stuck to the frame by wax. Icarus borrowed the wing frame and flew high into the sky, over the seas. Though Daedalus warned his son not to fly too high to the sun, Icarus disobeyed him and kept flying higher. The intense heat from the sun melted the wax binding the feathers to the frame and Icarus fell, dashing himself upon the ocean and dying instantly.


Kid Icarus was released in the same month as Metroid in North America and functions on the same game engine. Kid Icarus even includes an enemy from Metroid, a Komayto which is said to have come from another planet.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario is seen playing Kid Icarus on an NES console in his bedroom. As Pit, he fights multiple Specknoses in an Enemy Lair before dying to one. The Kid Icarus game cartridge also appears in the film's end credits. On the film's promotional website, music from the Famicom version of the game can be heard if Queens is clicked on in the map.[2]

External Links


Kid Icarus series
Main Series Kid IcarusKid Icarus: Of Myths and MonstersKid Icarus: Uprising
Remakes 3D Classics: Kid Icarus
Related Games Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii USuper Smash Bros. Ultimate
Related Media Captain N: The Game MasterKid Icarus 3D Anime
Key People Toru OsawaYoshio SakamotoMasahiro SakuraiHirokazu TanakaGunpei Yokoi