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Far away in peaceful Angel Land lived a young angel warrior named Pit, who has been given the task of defeating the monstrous Medusa, who wishes to destroy Angel Land and all of the people, and she has started by kidnapping Palutena, the Princess of Angel Land.

Young Pit must rescue the Princess and restore peace to Angel Land. He will travel from the deep caverns of the Underworld to Medusa's palace in the sky on his journey, and deadly monsters will attack him every step of the way. But he has the power of the Gods on his side! A powerful bow and arrows, Water of Life, and Angel Feathers will assist Pit on his quest to destroy Medusa and save the princess!

Kid Icarus is a platform game where the player goes through several vertically outlaid levels, shooting enemies with his bow on the way and collecting hearts they leave behind. Pit's bow can shoot both forward and upwards. As Pit continues upwards, more and more of the level ends up beyond the bottom of the screen and if Pit falls down out of the screen, he dies.

The levels contain doors which lead to chambers of various types - some chambers are filled with enemies, some are treasuries which allow Pit to obtain a power-up, some are stores where Pit can buy stuff, some will replenish his health, in some Pit will be able to take a test in hopes of getting a powerful weapon, and finally some chambers give Pit a chance of receiving a strength upgrade, therefore increasing the amount of damage his attacks deal.

Pit earns experience as he defeats enemies, and he gains levels from this experience. The more levels Pit has, the more maximum health he has.

Hearts taken from enemies are used in shops to buy various items and power-ups. Items include a protective shield which harms enemies, a more powerful bow, a mallet which allows you to smash the poor Palutena's warriors turned to stone who will later help you to fight a boss, a torch to see yourself in dark areas and others.


Kid Icarus NES Crosses in a Nintendo game!
Kid Icarus NES Fortunately, I have found the hospital, and the nurse is kind enough to cure my horrible condition...
Kid Icarus NES If these thieves catches you, they steal one of your special weapons.
Kid Icarus NES The game management screen (Famicom Disk System)

Promo Images

Kid Icarus Screenshot
Kid Icarus Screenshot
Kid Icarus Other The backside of the flier displays the many friends and enemies of Kid Icarus.
Kid Icarus Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "光神話 パルテナの鏡" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Paltena no Kagami" -- Japanese title
  • "Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story" -- In-game title
  • "3D Classics: Kid Icarus" -- Nintendo 3DS title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Nintendo's Forgotten Cult Stepchild. Guy Chapman (1997) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
The Kid Rocks! wade hampton (9) 4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars
I Flew Too Close To The Sun On Wings Of Pastrami MasterMegid (902) 4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

Critic Reviews / Mar 10, 2008 91 out of 100 91
NES Player 2001 4.5 out of 5 90
NES Center 2000 8.5 out of 10 85
SwankWorld 2004 8 out of 10 80
TigerChainsaw Apr 08, 2020 7.1 out of 10 71
Retro Game Age Mar 12, 2012 7 out of 10 70
Power Play 1987 7 out of 10 70 Feb 05, 2018 7 out of 10 70
Retroguiden Jul 04, 2010 6 out of 10 60
HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) Jul 15, 2013 4 out of 10 40


Topic # Posts Last Post
So When Do We Get A Sequel? 8 Guy Chapman (1997)
Jun 04, 2007


1001 Video Games

The NES version of Kid Icarus appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Pit appears as a playable character in the Wii game Super Smash Bros.: Brawl.

Famicom Disk System version

In Japan, the second Famicom controller had a built-in microphone. It wasn't used in many games, but in the Japanese Kid Icarus version, shopkeepers sometimes gave players discount when they talked into it.


On page 38 of the U.S. Kid Icarus instruction manual (page 45 of the Japanese manual), the Syren enemy has bare breasts. It is perhaps the first (and only) female Nintendo character to sport breasts with nipples.


The Nintendo DS game Electroplankton includes sound effects and the dungeon theme music from Kid Icarus.


The name "Icarus" comes from the myth about a boy who made wings out of feathers and wax and flew too close to the sun. "Medusa" was one of the three gorgon sisters whose looks could turn a man to stone. The boss "Pandora" is named after the woman in "Pandora's Box", who opened the box and unleashed all the evils upon mankind. The first boss is a two-headed dog that guards the Underworld Fortress, sort of like the Cerberus that guarded the entrance to Hades. The Syren is named after the sirens that would sing and lure sailors to their doom. The Uranos and Pluton enemies are named after Roman gods, Uranus and Pluto. Finally, Zeus is the main "god" of Greek myth.

Whoever translated the Japanese game and manual into English obviously didn't know anything about Greek mythology --- "Parthena" (Greek "Virgin") is written as "Palutena" (page 42), and the serpent "Hydra" is written as "Hewdraw" (page 35). We can be glad they didn't write "Medusa" as "Mehdewsah".

References to other games

It seems that Samus Aran wasn't the only one who had to face Metroids in her adventures. Called the "Komayto", a floating creature that looks and moves exactly like a Metroid, is described as "A mysterious floating creature. Nobody knows where it came from. One theory has it that it came from a planet other than the Earth. It's a nasty jellyfish monster."

Title translation

The original Japanese release of Kid Icarus for the Famicom Disk System was titled "Hikari Shinwa: Partena no Kagami", which roughly translates to "Light Mythology: Partena's Mirror".

TV Cartoon

Pit (or Kid Icarus) made his first and regular animated appearance in the Saturday morning TV cartoon "Captain N: The Game Master". The series also featured his enemy, the Eggplant Wizard.

Wii Virtual Console version

For the Wii Virtual Console version of "Kid Icarus", the passwords that worked on the original NES version have been removed and disabled.


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