After years of heaping attention on Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Samus Aran and even that fat blob Kirby, Nintendo is finally turning the spotlight back on Pit, the spunky angelic protagonist who wowed players of the original Nintendo system in 1986 in Kid Icarus, the beloved platforming adventure that never gained the same acclaim as other Nintendo tales.
Pit is back to battle the underworld in Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo, for the Nintendo 3DS, $39.99). This time, he's doing it in three dimensions while being aided by Palutena, the cheeky Goddess of Light he saved at the end of the first game. That mostly means blasting baddies with various weapons while soaring through the sky and scurrying on the ground.
Pit can only fly for five minutes at a time, so most Uprising levels begin in the air before moving to land. The aerial levels are especially wondrous when viewed on the Nintendo 3DS' glasses-free 3-D screen.
Uprising totally falls apart when Pit's feet hit the ground. The wonky controls require players to move Pit with the analog stick and control the camera and Pit's aim with the stylus. (Lefties either have to deal with using their nondominant hand or purchase the extra Circle Pad Pro analog stick and snap it onto the back of their Nintendo 3DS.)
With such a limiting way to see what's happening, Pit is often ambushed off-screen by the game's garish enemies shooting him with lasers or poison or whatever. Angels must be immune to whiplash because the only way to overcome the control scheme is to continually tilt the poor little cherub around the graphically dull landscape.
There are enough twists in the game's main plot to keep players engaged as they battle zany mythology-inspired creatures that wouldn't last one minute in a God of War game.
While this fast-paced 3-D adventure is certainly a hearty reintroduction of Pit, unless you already own Nintendo's latest hand-held gadget or have been anxiously awaiting Pit's return for the past 20 years, there are fundamentally too many flaws with the game's handling to make Uprising worth sacrificing any money to buy a 3DS.
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Photo: NEW FROM NINTENDO: Kid Icarus: Uprising