Kid Icarus redesign project

Mar.30.2016 - More art at bottom.

May.14-15.2012 - Rewrote some of the foreword and trivia. Added a section at the bottom about my first impressions of the new 3DS game. Did some rough pencil art.

Jul.22.2009 - Changed scale of humans (chibi). Scaled up images.

Oct.24.2007 - Page Created.

Always a work in progress.

Foreword

I still remember when Kid Icarus came out, along with Zelda and Metroid. Although Kid Icarus was rather linear, it still had a great atmosphere rivaling the two sister games. I always wanted to take that world and inject it into a more open exploration type of game, but that's what I want to do with all games.

I painted the enemies seen on this page in 2007, but in 2009 I edited the proportions of the humanoid characters to fit my chibi scale (about 3.5 heads). I've added some brief thoughts on the new 2012 3DS game at the bottom. In 2016 I saw the older stuff and didn't like it much, so I drew some new things (bottom).

In order to get a grasp of the atmosphere of the Kid Icarus I must first immerse myself in it. Drawing all of the stuff usually works. Kid Icarus has maybe the best looking NES manual, and the sprites look pretty good too, so I don't want to move too far away from that.

Designs (2007-2009)

Monsters

I'm trying to anthro things up a bit here, kind of how the turtles from SMB1 became more human in SMW, walking on their hind legs, freeing up the arms for gesture and tool use. My examples of this are Shulm ('shroom) and Daphne (flower). I always thought that the eye of the Kobil looked like a nose... so I deviated from the cyclop theme there, even though the nice instruction booklet illustrations used the eye approach. Generally I go with the look of the sprite since that's what everyone been seeing so much of. I'm not sure about the relative scale of things yet. I could probably extrapolate these designs into neat Light-Medium-Heavy types to provide more coverage. Fore example, the Kobils came in blue and red, so there could be a larger red elite Kobil. The larger enemies could also be less cute, and meet with the more mature humaniod character designs better. It appears adult humans might be 4 tiles high, whilst Pit is only 3.

intermidiates Right: Examples of intermediate designs, interpolations, extrapolations... whatever. The color scheme used by the tougher version of the enemy could be used. Sizes could span from Cute, Mature up to Boss. So far I have drawn most of the Kid Icarus sprites at a cute scale ('Super deformed' or 'Chibi').

Kid Icarus characters

Characters (and more monsters)

I'm not sure what scale to settle for yet. I suppose I could go for a larger head size (more super deformed). Collins is the big armour. There's Ell-eyes (fillings?) coming out of a hatch in his chest. The Collin used to be a soldier of Parthena's so I have to align the design with the petrified archer. The Siren has 'steel claws' so I made it into a cyborg'ish female rather than a bird-woman.

Kid Icarus characters

Story

I decided to rewrite the original story from another perspective to give it some nuances. This is just a mock-up, I'm not much of a writer I'm afraid.

Inspired by:
Star Trek - TOS - Who mourns for Adonais
Prometheus and the whole fire deal.

Somewhere, in ancient times, there was a realm called Angel Land where gods and man lived together - a relationship not without problems. The most powerful goddess, Parthena, governed Angel Land and its laws. By some, she was perceived to have a disparaging attitude towards man and the demigods.

Several of the demigods openly opposed Parthena on some issues concerning the responsibility and self governance of man. It was decided that whomever would win in battle against Parthena could get his or her (or its) will though.

battle

Parthena felt that since she was superior, she had nothing to lose with this agreement. It would give her inferiors a sense of having influence. Indeed, Parthena always won the disputes, inflating her self righteous attitude further.

Until one day...

A mere mortal, Medusa, entered into a dispute with Parthena after having been caught constructing a forge. Generally, mortals would never consider standing up against a god, but Medusa was very temperamental, and challenged Parthena on the issue.

The demigods, who had almost given up defying Parthena, were amused by the ingenuity of Medusa. They secretly infused the ores in Medusa's forge with magical properties.

Parthena, expecting to crush Medusa like a bug, was caught off guard by Medusa’s wits, luck and magical equipment.

Parthena, humiliated by her defeat, accused the demigods of cheating, and declared the settlement to be invalid. Parthena then turned Medusa into a monster and blamed her of having caused many of the troubles in Angel Land. The demigods who had helped Medusa were also made into monsters.

Many mortals, not having witnessed the battle, accepted Parthena’s story, and drove the monstrous Medusa into the underworld.

The underworld is a chaotic place with many kinds of monsters of varying character. In this place of misfits and outcasts, Medusa managed to find sympathy. She gave warring factions a common goal, and mounted an attack against Parthena’s castle in the sky. The forces of Medusa were numerically superior and ultimately defeated Parthena. Refusing to fold to Medusa’s demands, Parthena was imprisoned.

Medusa’s time in the sun was to be short. The population of Angel Land saw both good and bad things coming from Medusa’s revolution. New markets and goods had emerged, but there was also black markets. While some monsters could live in cooperation with man, others were constantly causing trouble.

Medusa was soon defeated in a stealth attack by the commander of Parthena’s personal bodyguard. The genie was out of the bottle however. Parthena was not powerful enough to take on all the monsters, and now there were even mortals who openly opposed her. As time passed by, Parthena grew acceptant of the situation, doing her best to make Angel Land a good place for everyone to live in, Gods, Demigods, Man and Monsters alike. A statue of Medusa in her human form was eventually erected in the capital.

To Do List

Information bits

Names and stuff

Really, Kid Icarus is a horrible name. It's like "Let's slap 'Kid' on something greek... something with wings! I know.. this dude Icarus had wings.. let's call it Kid Icarus!".

The hero's name is not Icarus, but Pit, or Pitto, probably derived from Pythian.

The Japanese name is something along the lines Myth of Light: Parthena's Mirror.

Palutena or Parutena is probably a reference to Parthena or Parthenon, greek for Virgin.

Kometo probably means Baby Metroid. It's named Komeyto in the English manual. Is it an alien which arrived with a comet?

Shulm (Castle mushroom) might be a Gomba.

The Siren has bare breasts, both the sprite and image from the manual.

When you die, the first 4 notes are from the famous wedding melody.

Kid Icarus sported one of the best looking instruction booklets ever. It was littered with nicely drawn color illustrations... which I of course made feeble attempts to copy as a kid.

More speculation

Apparently the regeneration bath is yellow like frying oil, and when you're an eggplant and duck in the bath it's some sort of joke about frying eggplants...? One of the developers added the eggplant wizard as a joke (in celebration for getting a bonus), and no one protested to it stayed in.

The Big-Mouth enemy is called Mick, after Mick Jagger, perhaps?

There's an enemy called Collins, which apperently is filled with flying worms that come out of its body. These might be called Fillings in the japanese manual. Filling Collins was a group or something Phil Collins had going...?

In the Japanese version, you had to tap the button to fly on the last schmup level, but this feature was removed in the US and EU version. I think this is why the last battle against Medusa is so horrible broken (You can just hover at a safe spot).

In the Japanese version, there's no credit roll, because the developers had been working overtime to get the game out before xmas. The NA/EU ending is more polished, but apparently the people who worked the hardest on the game were still not properly credited...? Also, in the Japanese version, Pit turns into one of those noses if he was played poorly.

There's an eye, nose and mouth enemy. Apparently the nose enemy was a privy joke (about the musician's nose).

Pit and Parthena are actually rather evil. First, the 'good' Parthena transforms Medusa into Monster Medusa and banishes her into the underworld (Because Medusa was harassing people). Medusa now successfully unites the forces of the underworld and retaliates. Whilst Medusa strictly doesn't kill anyone with her petrification trick, Pit actually kills thousands of creatures on his rampage to save Parthena. In the Greek mythology, Medusa was not really treated fairly either...

Interesting interview.

Kid Icarus Uprising impressions

So, it's 2012, and the 3DS game is out. I've only watched a Let's Play since I don't have a 3DS, but here are my impressions:

Gameplay: The game has two main game modes, third person platforming (attack-dodge-jump) and Space Harrier tunnel shooting. I'm not a fan of either due to difficulties in judging positional relationships, but perhaps the 3D screen does help out a little. The game is very flashy and confusing visually and I suppose one has to play it to really understand what's going on. I think I'd be rather annoyed by some of the herding and handholding that I've seen in the game. There's quite a bit of padding (recycling), which the game struggles to explain.

Visuals: The enemy designs are a bit hit and miss. Some of the enemies look surprisingly faithful to the original game (and a bit similar to my drawings here), but there's some disparity with the detailed shounen style Pit and the large plush animal feel of the enemies. I guess they scaled the enemies up quite a bit to make them read at a distance. I think I understand where they wanted to go with the design of the "tech faction" (as I'll call them to avoid spoilers) but I felt both the music and enemy designs for that part felt a bit... disjointed altogether. Ref: GBA manual, NES manual, Uprising art. The vehicle designs were perhaps fun nods to the Von Däniken/Hezekiel lore, but they seemed... thrown in.

The environments look nice, but lacks much of the architecture and texture seen in the NES game.

Story: I found myself pleasantly surprised by the story! Without spoiling too much, it can say that it the character dialog is fun and the English voice acting is good. The writing has nice epic elements (in the traditional sense of the word), surprises, and moral complexity. I don't mind the lighthearted tone, but the 4th wall breaking felt a bit cheap at times.

If I weren't so disinterested in the actual gameplay, I'd almost consider getting it. I say almost, because MML3 was cancelled and I don't want to get a 3DS just for one game.

2012 thoughts on this project

Story idea: Aside from some minor upsets and playful squabbles between the gods, Angel Land was at peace for some time. One day some sort of ancient artefact was unwittingly activated, snatching Palutena away to the Angel Land equivalent to the "Phantom Zone" (of Superman) - a realm for dead or banned gods. Here, Palutena finds herself in the company Medusa, Hades, old and forgotten ancient gods, and a creepy little harmless man. When a plan to rescue Palutena misfires, some of the bad guys escape as well.

Angel Land was (again) facing destruction at the hands of these malicious entities, when the creepy harmless man reveals his true form as the powerful god Cronus. He promptly eats all of the other gods, causes a little devastation and finally takes a nap. This leaves the lesser entities free to rise to power, resulting in great turmoil.

Fragments of god powers and artefacts are central to the conflict. Augmented monsters from the underworld are wreaking havoc. A young woman, a witness and survivor of Cronus' devastation, is set upon a path of ascendancy.

Plot twist: Our heroine was actually killed by Cronus. When Cronus ate the gods he missed a few fragments, and one of these were Medusa's slithery soul. With only moments to spare before evaporating (or whatever), it found the dead body of the "heroine". Medusa now has to regain her powers (from fragments?) while seeming innocent. This puts conversations in a new light when replaying the game.

Kid Icarus pencil character designs

Game thoughts: I don't like to feel that I'm exhausting a game, or are going towards some kind of ultimate state which someone else have figured out (a perfect build or whatever). It makes everything earlier in the game is devalued, and when I arrive at the ultimate state it's just anticlimactic anyways. In theory there could be some sort of apples and oranges form of ultimate states, but it's pretty hard to pull off.

While it's nice to have continuity from game session to game session, building something up (like a character/equipment), it tends to make me feel small as a player when looking or thinking about how well other players (further ahead) are doing... players with more time than me. I can't help it, and I don't have a lot of time to play games nowadays.

So, I think I'd actually prefer to see some sort of run-through mechanic where each game is a new, somewhat short and random experience. You're forced to adapt to the equipment that you get, be it apples or... lemons. The journey would be more interesting than the destination. I do think it's nice to have a goal, but I don't want it to devalue the journey.

Sure, losing a character when the game ends isn't fun either, but on the other hand less has been invested into a quick run-through kind of character. Perhaps a little tombstone log of sorts could be saved, enhancing the memories of the character.

This system could work with a linear game like Kid Icarus. The main story could be interlaced with random mini stories, like the Skeleton King or Butcher in Diablo. If the player isn't spammed with random item drops, there could force some interesting adaptation choices.

Well, those were my thoughts on that.

2016

Kid Icarus pencil character designs

Thinking about Metroid. The original shafts could be integrated into a network without really changing much. Something as simple as Metroid with Kid Icarus quirks could be quite fun. Kid Icarus has some RPG elements to it that... I guess have been seen in the Castlevania games to some degree.

I think the Uprising designs are a bit too wacky and random but I've tried assimilating the designs. As per my previous story, the monsters could be using powerful artefacts and even mechanical technology to evolve.

Most of my older designs (2007) look like polished turds so I'll be replacing them. I like my old Siren though.

Kid Icarus mockup

I think the vertical shafts need to have edge-wrapping, but Metroid type doors could lead to horizontal shafts. I based the design of the doors off the Medusa encounter. Just playing around here. Maybe I'll use Famicube restrictions instead of NES ones.

Kid Icarus mockup

Spicing up the merchant room.


Byline: Art by Niklas Jansson, 2007-2009-2012-2016. Kid Icarus is (c) Nintendo.