Kid Icarus (universe)
The Kid Icarus universe (パルテナの鏡, Mirror of Palutena) refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's Kid Icarus games, which were originally a pair of cult-classic action/platformer games for NES and Game Boy. A twenty-one-year hiatus for the series ensued, and it only ended once Masahiro Sakurai developed and released a third game for the 3DS after debuting a heavy stylistic redesign for the series and its star, the young angel knight Pit, in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
During the "golden age" of the Famicom/NES in the late 1980s, one of the original titles and IPs released alongside titles such as Metroid and The Legend of Zelda was Kid Icarus, an action platformer that aimed to blend several genres. The game's development process was stressed by time constraints, and the game was released on NES on July 1987 to mixed critical reception, which focused criticism on its frustratingly high difficulty and some odd design choices; despite all this, the game has long since been regarded as a cult classic for the console, and some of its characters had been featured on the American cartoon Captain N: The Game Master alongside other video game characters popularized by the NES. Following this, a sequel for the Game Boy, Kid Icarus: Of Myth and Monsters, was co-developed between Nintendo and Tose Co., Ltd. and released on November 1991. Reception was decidedly more favorable for the sequel, citing significant improvements to the gameplay all around, though the game never reached the level of public attention that the original had. In an odd twist, Of Myths and Monsters was, for literally two decades, one of few first-party Nintendo games that were not published in Japan.
For fifteen years following the 1991 release of the second game, the Kid Icarus "franchise" made no return appearances in any format, and the two-game series had seemed to have forever been left behind in a state where it would represent nothing more than a curious piece of history from the Nintendo timeline. But then, in 2006, Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai began an ambitious series revival for Kid Icarus, first by announcing through a trailer the inclusion of the main character, Pit, as a new playable fighter in his then-highly-anticipated Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Sakurai had previously brought another obscure NES title from the era, Ice Climber, back into the public limelight by including its player-characters as playable fighters in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee, but for Brawl, Sakurai debuted a radical, anime-style redesign for Pit, as well as a more detailed reimagining of Pit's in-game homeworld.
As Sakurai later noted, the redesigned Pit's appearance in Brawl greatly influenced his decision to jump-start the series's revival with a new installment. Following Brawl's release in 2008, Sakurai was asked by then-Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to direct a new game for the then-unknown Nintendo 3DS system to show off its capabilities, giving him the choice to revitalize a dormant property for the title. He ultimately chose Kid Icarus for this series reboot, being inspired by Pit’s story of an angel that could not fly. Following this decision, he directed and wrote the scenario for Kid Icarus: Uprising, a high-budget title that features on-rails-shooter segments in the air that are separate from third-person-shooter segments on the ground.
Uprising’s overall presentation makes full use of the character designs introduced in Brawl, complete with fully voiced character dialogue and copious amounts of story-driven cutscenes, but also with a far more whimsical tone to the story and dialogue itself. The game was released on March 2012 to glowing reviews, however Sakurai has yet to confirm interest in a sequel. Nonetheless, the now-familiar modern design for Pit is considered standard for the franchise, and has made a return appearance in Brawl's sequel, Super Smash Bros. 4. Meanwhile, Of Myths and Monsters was released in Japan for the first time in the country's history on the 3DS Virtual Console, a month before the release of Uprising.
The Kid Icarus games themselves are set on a multi-plane Grecian fantasy world called Angel Land, where a plane hanging above the mortal Overworld is the light realm of Skyworld, ruled over by the Goddess of Light, Palutena. In the original game, the goddess of the hellish plane of the Underworld, Medusa, wages war against Palutena and the human world, and Palutena sends her loyal warrior, the young angel knight Pit (note that the name "Kid Icarus" is not the main character's name itself, but more of a comedic descriptor of how he is essentially a child equivalent to the Greek myth of the winged man Icarus), on a quest to defeat Medusa by gathering three sacred combat treasures. In Of Myths and Monsters, Pit similarly battles a demon named Orcos. Many years later in Uprising, Pit must battle Medusa and her minions again, but ends up thrust into a much stranger, multi-sided conflict involving a greatly-expanded cast of literally colorful allies and enemies, several of which are drawn from other figures and monsters in Greek mythology. Pit's fights take him through human cities under siege, temples and caverns in the Underworld, Palutena's residence in the Skyworld, and even outer space.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
There are a large number of trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee that depict classic Nintendo games from the past, and a trophy depicting a 3D rendition of the classic-style Pit is no exception. Other than that, however, there is no additional representation of the Kid Icarus franchise in the game.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Kid Icarus is introduced as a primary universe in the Super Smash Bros. series in the third installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), Pit shares the fourth column with fellow Famicom/NES-originated characters Ice Climbers, R.O.B., and Samus.
Between Brawl and SSB4, Smash director Masahiro Sakurai revived the long dormant Kid Icarus franchise with Kid Icarus: Uprising. This 3DS title greatly expanded the Kid Icarus universe with a wealth of new characters, storylines, enemies, and weapons. A lot of the new material from Uprising was introduced into SSB4, such as music, stages, and trophies. In addition to the return of Pit, Skyworld, and most Kid Icarus content from Brawl, two new playable characters, five items, two Assist Trophies, two new stages, and a wealth of other new content is in SSB4.
Main article: Items
While there were no Kid Icarus items in Brawl, five are introduced in SSB4. Additionally, a new item called the Drill bears a strong resemblances to the Drill Arm from Kid Icarus: Uprising. However, it is considered part of the Super Smash Bros. universe in-game.
Smash Tour items
Main article: Enemies
Enemies that appear in both Smash Run in the 3DS version and Smash Tour in the Wii U version.
Enemies exclusive to the 3DS version. They appear in Smash Run. More Smash Run enemies come from the Kid Icarus series than any other universe, with nineteen total.
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Kid Icarus series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from the Kid Icarus series with no alterations.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Kid Icarus series)
This is a list of the known trophies from the Kid Icarus series.
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Main article: Trophy Box
Main article: Masterpieces
The franchise returns mostly untouched and still based on their Kid Icarus: Uprising iterations.
All Kid Icarus stages from previous titles return.
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Kid Icarus series)
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash games.
Tracks directly sourced from the Kid Icarus games.
Main article: List of spirits (Kid Icarus series)
The kanji aruji "主" denotes a Master Spirit.
Similarities to Super Smash Bros. in Kid Icarus: Uprising
In a similar way to how many fundamental gameplay elements in the Smash Bros. series are inspired by the Kirby series, there are several elements in Kid Icarus: Uprising that are clearly inspired by those in the Smash Bros. series. This is often attributed to Masahiro Sakurai being the lead designer for both games. Some examples include: