The Kid Icarus (Japanaese: 光神話 パルテナの鏡 Hikari Shinwa: Palutena no Kagami, lit. Light Mythology: Palutena's Mirror) series is an action/platforming franchise of video games published by Nintendo.
The original Kid Icarus was released in Japan on the Famicom Disk System in 1986 and in North America and Europe on the Nintendo Entertainment System the following year. Kid Icarus is a platforming title that was developed by much of the same team behind the earlier NES title Metroid, which Kid Icarus borrows several elements from, including engine and the Metroid enemy (though the latter appears as a creature known as "Komayto", a corruption of the Japanese "Kometoroido", meaning "Little Metroid"). The game, based around Greek mythology, is set in Angel Land, where the player controls an angel named Pit, who dutifully serves the Goddess of Light, Palutena. Pit battles the Gorgon Medusa and the forces of the Underworld. The game received generally mixed reviews, but has gained a considerable cult following over the years, partly due to it's harsh difficulty and somewhat quirky characters and enemies such as the Eggplant Wizard. In 1989, Pit (under the name of "Kid Icarus") joined the cast of the Saturday morning cartoon show Captain N: The Game Master, appearing alongside the likes of Mega Man and Simon Belmont.
In 1991 a second game was released on the Game Boy, Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. The game continued the 2D playstyle of it's predecessor and was generally well received. Oddly, despite being developed there, the game was not originally released in Japan, and only eventually saw release in the region as a downloadable title on the Nintendo 3DS eShop in 2012. This would be the last Kid Icarus game for 21 years, though Pit would continue to make several cameo appearances in games such as Tetris, Kirby Super Star, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and the WarioWare series before finally appearing as a playable character in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii. In this game, Pit received a visual upgrade and was given a plethora of new moves and abilities.
After Pit's return to mainstream media with his appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series, interest in the Kid Icarus series grew, and in 2010 a third game was announced alongside the Nintendo 3DS handheld, though later interviews would reveal that this title originally began development as another entry in the Star Fox series. This game, directed by Kirby and Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai, would eventually release in 2012 under the name of Kid Icarus: Uprising. Further updating Pit's appearance from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kid Icarus: Uprising served as a direct sequel to the original NES title, and fleshed out the game's universe with a plethora of new characters such as the Goddess of Nature, Viridi, and the true Lord of the Underworld, Hades. The game pushed the Kid Icarus series into a 3D world, moving from being a platformer title to an on-rail shooter and action beat 'em up where levels would be split between flying and on-foot sections. Uprising was positively reviewed by critics, receiving an 83 out of 100 on Metacritic.
In the 21 year-gap between the release of Of Myths and Monsters and Uprising, the Kid Icarus series was not completely forgotten. While Pit continued to make sporadic cameo appearances in a number of titles, there was a period of time where a revival of the series was in development for the Wii. This project, named "Icarus", was being developed by Factor 5, the developers of the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron games released for the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube, and was a grittier sequel to the original titles, featuring an adult Pit, utilizing a version of the engine this team used to create the PlayStation 3 title Lair. Due to creative differences between Nintendo and Factor 5, as well as the redistribution of resources within the former, the game was cancelled.
- Kid Icarus (1986) - Nintendo Entertainment System
- Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (1991) - Game Boy
- Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012) - Nintendo 3DS
- Icarus (cancelled) - Wii