Japanese arcade flyer of Sky Kid.
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Famicom/NES, Epoch Super Cassette Vision, Virtual Console|
|Genre(s)||Horizontal scrolling shooter|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, and cocktail|
|Arcade system||Namco Pac-Land|
|CPU||1x Motorola M6809 @ 1.536 MHz,
1x Hitachi HD63701 @ 1.536 MHz
|Sound||1x Namco WSG @ 1.536 MHz|
|Display||Horizontal orientation, Raster, 288 x 224 resolution|
Sky Kid (スカイキッド Sukai Kiddo) is a horizontal scrolling shooter arcade game that was released by Namco in 1985. It runs on Namco Pac-Land hardware but with a video system like that used in Dragon Buster. It is also the first game from Namco to allow two players to play simultaneously. The game was later released on the Famicom (brought to the American NES by Sunsoft), and both this version for the Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and the original arcade version for the Wii were later released on Nintendo's Virtual Console service.
A sequel named Sky Kid Deluxe was released in 1986. It introduced several new enemies and missions, was the first game to run on Namco's then-new Namco System 86 hardware, and was also the first game from the company that used a Yamaha YM2151 FM sound chip.
Sky Kid is a two-dimensional scrolling shooter game. The players take control of the Sky Kids, "Red Baron" and "Blue Max", which are references to Manfred von Richthofen, the famous World War I flying ace, and the prestigious order Pour le Mérite informally known as Blue Max. The Sky Kids fly around in biplanes and are assigned specific targets during the missions. These missions involve bombing specific targets. The "A" button is used to control the plane's machine gun and the "B" button is used to perform a loop. A number of obstacles face the players in each level. First, their biplane is not equipped with a bomb to complete their mission and must be picked up en route to the target. Second, there are both ground and air units that attempt to keep the Sky Kids from accomplishing their mission. Last, the Sky Kids may have to navigate through some very inhospitable terrain or navigate around cities in order to get to the target. The targets which the Sky Kids must bomb will either be fortress complexes, or ships. As the players advance further up in the 21 missions, multiple targets will begin to appear in the course of one mission. Players receive points for destroying air and ground targets, and receive additional points at the end of the mission for how many of these types of targets are destroyed. In addition, players get points based on how much of the target is destroyed - but only total destruction warrants an end-of-mission bonus.
Occasionally, performing a loop over a billboard will reveal one of four hidden Namco characters: Pac-Man, Inky, the Special Flag from Rally-X (which, like the Galaxian flagship, has appeared in several other Namco games) or Pooka from Dig Dug.
If the player performs a loop in front of the three dancing girls which appear at the end of each mission, the girls will send out hearts representing kisses. If the player should shoot the girls, or hearts, they will turn into pink powder puffs and waving dogs respectively.
After Namco ended its partnerships with both Midway and Atari, they started to release games in the United States. Releases such as Grobda (1984) and Dig Dug II (1985) were some of the games that Namco released. Since the Video Game Crash of 1983 had claimed quite a few arcade companies, Namco managed to fill the gap. Sky Kid was a game that didn't enjoy great success in the United States. The game, however, did show that Namco was on the right track as far as the games they had released went.[original research?] Featuring cartoon-like graphics and different types of missions, Sky Kid would form the basis for several other Namco games that are based on the same type of gameplay, such as Ordyne (1988) and Pistol Daimyo no Bōken (1990).
Other appearances in media
- Namco's Ace Combat series has repeatedly included references to Sky Kid. Some people and places in the series have been named after the game or its characters, and the Sky Kid aircraft have appeared as emblems on other aircraft. Ace Combat Infinity went so far as to render fully playable 3D models of four aircraft from the arcade game.
- The PlayStation Portable versions of Ridge Racer, Ridge Racer 2, and Ridge Racer 6 all feature a Sky Kid-themed Fiera car (manufactured by the fictitious "Kamata" - and a parody of the Pontiac Fiero).
- The song "Taiko March" in the game Taiko Drum Master includes excerpts of music from several Namco games, including Sky Kid.
- Sky Kid has recently been resurrected as a comic strip, which is part of the ShiftyLook series of Internet comic strips that feature artwork done by Udon Entertainment. The strip focuses on the exploits of the game's two protagonists, Red Baron and Blue Max.
- Blue Max, known as "Sky Kid", also appears as a recurring character in the ShiftyLook animated series Mappy. Sky Kid is a good-natured, but unhelpful and stupid employee of Nyamco who speaks with a Southern accent, and often unintentionally gets on Mappy and Dig Dug's nerves.
- A medley of various tracks from Sky Kid appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The Red Baron appears as Pac-Man's taunt, "Namco Roulette".