Just as we last observed one morally gray antihero, we’re looking to the heavens for another this month. And since we all have the Super Smash Bros. series on the brain at the moment, let’s put the spotlight on another one of its veterans.
However, let’s first put the spotlight on everyone I toured ancient Greece with:
- Oakland or Kao, a friend who kindly scoured through the 279th issue of Nintendo Power for me.
- Wolfman, another good friend who offered edits and suggestions.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as per a series tradition, gave all of its fighter multiple palette swaps to choose from. One of Pit’s decked him out in “fallen angel colors,” predating the black-winged angel’s formal debut by four years. And, indeed, that dark-hued coloration would evolve into one of the most prolific Kid Icarus characters once the series emerged from dormancy.
Dark Pit’s History
Kid Icarus: Uprising, the first Nintendo 3DS game publicly unveiled, became Dark Pit’s proper introduction, with an early trailer affirming Pit would square off against his own dark doppelgänger. Masahiro Sakurai stressed in an interview with Nintendo Power, however, that Dark Pit “isn’t really a different individual from Pit,” he’s simply Pit’s reflection, another part of him. The goddess Pandora was the architect behind Dark Pit’s creation, creating him by baiting Pit into breaking the Mirror of Truth, which can create copies of whatever it sees. His imperfect duplicate quickly revolts against the deity, joining Pit’s efforts in taking her down. After divekicking Pit and absorbing Pandora’s lingering powers, Dark Pit flies off. The pair of angels butt heads throughout Uprising, with Pit’s opposite operating as the marquee foe in the very next chapter. Palutena also dubs him Pittoo, a nickname Dark Pit’s blatantly displeased with.
Nevertheless, Dark Pit’s innate connection to Pit linked his well-being to his namesake’s. It’s also why, in Sakurai’s words, “Pit has the instinct to save Dark Pit, even at the risk of his own life.” Ultimately, the copy grew into a reliable, if aloof, ally in Pit’s battles. Dark Pit himself became playable in lieu of Pit in Chapter 22, reciprocating Pit’s earlier act of selflessness. Additionally, Dark Pit represented the latter team in the “Light vs. Dark” multiplayer mode, again serving as the foil to his rival.
Shortly after Sakurai wrapped up Uprising, he was thrust back into Smash, helming its fourth and fifth installments. Palutena joined the festivities, with Dark Pit curiously cameoing in her trailer and poster. Although there was debate and speculation amongst the community over what role he’d have, the infamous ESRB leak confirmed he was a newcomer, bringing Pittoo’s career full circle.
Sitting alongside fellow clones Dr. Mario and Lucina, all three were initially planned as alternate costumes, getting promoted later during development. Consequently, Dark Pit’s moveset is nearly identical to his base’s; their most pronounced difference is Pittoo’s utilization of the Dark Pit Staff since Sakurai and his team felt it would be “very strange” for him to harness Pit’s Three Sacred Treasures. One of the designers also modeled the Electroshock Arm by happenstance, further inspiring Sakurai to separate the Pits. Interestingly, Dark Pit’s Palutena’s Guidance continues Kid Icarus’s story after the events of Uprising, expositing that the antihero had aligned himself with Viridi.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U also coincided with the launch of Nintendo’s amiibo toy line. Said figurines offer bonuses in select games, with Dark Pit’s bequeathing cosmetics stylized after him in Yoshi’s Woolly World and Super Mario Maker.
So, what’re my thoughts on Pittoo?
Kid Icarus: Uprising was blessed with a rich cast, but if you asked me who my favorite was, Dark Pit would not be my answer. He’s not a bad choice, however! I do like the guy, and I felt his presence benefited the game.
Shadowy counterparts are a tired concept, one Nintendo’s employed numerous times dating back to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in 1987. However, unlike his spiritual forbears, Dark Pit had much more of an actual personality; he was well-aware of and deeply insecure about how his entire being was owed to Pit. From quickly pledging his independence to claiming it’s Pit who’s somehow emulating him, Pittoo loathed his identity and tried his hardest to distance himself from it, even if he seldom indulged himself in jovial antics alongside his compeer.
Nevertheless, Dark Pit’s third-party perspective did periodically provide a counterpoint to Pit’s more trusting, wholesome demeanor; Dark Pit questioning Pit over his devotion to Palutena likely challenged the white-winged angel in a manner he never had been before, and Dark Pit confronting the gods for their selfishness was similarly an observation only he could make. Dark Pit certainly wasn’t an “insignificant nothing” as Viridi put it, but a character with agency and an actual, unique perspective.
As for Smash Bros., I welcome clones as the bonuses they are and I therefore respect Pittoo’s inclusion as a fighter. I know a fair amount of people who were disappointed – and, in a few cases, outright offended – by it, however. Clone fighters have endured as a divisive fixture within the Smash fandom, with Dark Pit bearing some of the most acidic venom in the series’ history. Even if he’s nigh indistinguishable from his twin, I still appreciate how Dark Pit exhibited a few of his personal touches, elements he would not have had Sakurai opted to relegate him as a mere costume swap. However, I would eagerly welcome any further differentiations between the two angels in the upcoming Switch entry, assuming Pittoo makes it back. Uprising’s still-untapped material, such as the Lightning Chariot or massive array of diverse weapons, could easily facilitate that.
He’s one of the more controversial fighters to be admitted into Smash, yet I’m rooting for Pittoo’s return. As I once mentioned, every fighter in Smash has a fanbase, so I’d never champion the removal or demotion of any veteran. And when we finally get a new Kid Icarus game, I’d likewise happily greet Dark Pit in it.
Congratulations, Dark Pit! You’re the better half!
So, the Kid Icarus crew had a happy ending at the end of Uprising, but our next subject wasn’t so lucky. I hope you’re brave-hearted…
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