Friday 13 November 2015

Alex Kidd in Miracle World (Master System review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1986

Alex Kidd in Miracle World is an action-platformer and the very first game in the fabled series.

There's 11 locations and your mission is to stop Janken the Great from taking over the city of Radactian. Initially you're only armed with a punch but along the way you'll find money around the levels or in breakable boxes; this can then be used in the Shop to buy power-ups like Bracelets that shoot projectiles and Capsules that form a barrier around you. These make the game a lot more enjoyable and it's satisfying when you get through a challenging area with greater ease. The controls take a bit of getting used to mainly because the jump and punch buttons are reversed. Alex is also quite slippery as his momentum carries him forward after a jump. There's tons of variety and you'll journey through underwater areas, caves, as well as castles. The latter are some of the most entertaining levels as you need to avoid traps and spikes, work out puzzles and rescue your friends. There's also sections where you use vehicles such as a Bike to plough through blocks, a Helicopter to fly or a Speedboat to collect money while shooting enemies. It's all really well done and doesn't feel tacked on. The great thing about the last two is that if you hit an enemy you don't die; instead you fall underwater and take on a completely different stage which is great for replayability. There are a few fun bosses (such as the floating head and a charging bull) where you need to learn their patterns and attack at the right moment. However, some require you to beat them at Rock, Paper, Scissors to advance; these are ridiculous as you need luck rather than skill! The music is catchy though and will stick in your head for days!

Alex Kidd in Miracle World is a charming action-platformer with deceptively deep gameplay. While it perhaps isn't as refined as Super Mario Bros. (1985, NES) it does have more variety in its locales and weapons which will keep you interested for repeated play-throughs.

Random trivia: Alex Kidd appeared in four other Master System games; BMX Trial (1987), High-Tech World (1987), The Lost Stars (1988) and Shinobi World (1990).

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