Saturday 11 July 2015

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars (Master System review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1988

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars is a platform game that was first released in the Arcades in 1986.

It consists of seven levels and you must recover 12 Miracle Balls from the evil Ziggarat. The game shares many similarities with the Adventure Island series as a metre constantly depletes while you try to reach the level exit; if the metre runs out you lose a life. Making contact with an enemy or projectiles decreases it further but it can be topped up by collecting the SC items. Other items include the Jump Star which temporarily makes you jump higher and the Cloud Shot which allows you to fire at enemies. Each level is unique and they're a lot of fun to play. I especially love the Water World with its swimming mechanics and the Machine World for mixing in some variety with its travelators and moving platforms. There's a wide range of enemies throughout although some don't fit into the Alex Kidd universe, especially the rolling baby heads! At the end of each level is a boss; you have to reach the exit without touching it otherwise it will throw you back to the start of the screen and you'll lose precious seconds. I was disappointed in these as they don't have much imagination and come across as bland. To see the true ending you have to beat the game twice and the second time through is more difficult with new enemies. There's unlimited continues though and you start back on the same level. The graphics are good with lots of colour and decent size sprites but there is some flicker and the occasional slowdown. The music is awesome, as are the voice samples, but every time Alex takes a hit he performs the most annoying scream I've ever heard!

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars isn't as bad as some people claim but I'll admit it is a very jarring follow-up to Alex Kidd in Miracle World. While it's very different to its predecessor if you take it at face value it's still a really fun game and one that deserves more attention from platform fans.

Random trivia: The Arcade version has a co-op mode where the second player controls a female character called Stella.

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