I’ve been revisiting Kid Icarus for various reasons over the past day (mostly involving preparing for its incipient sequel), and I’m boggled by just how backward its sense of difficult seems to be by contemporary standards. All the challenge is front-loaded: The game begins as one of the most vicious, unrelenting acts of brutality ever programmed and steadily becomes easier and easier as you power-up. By the end of it, they’re throwing dudes at you who steal your stuff or turn you into fruit because it’s the only way to pose any sort of challenge. The last stage is as toothless as the first stage is brutal. It’s kind of crazy.
Are there any games these days that use a similar difficulty curve, or is this something that’s been stamped out as developers come to realize that maybe starting off by discouraging players isn’t necessarily the best way to win fans?