My first ever console was the Sega Master System II, so I am very familiar with Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Booting up the console without a game in the slot would load up the “built-in” game. It took my brothers and I years to beat, every time inching further and further and learning new tricks every time.
When I heard about the remake, I was simply stunned, as it was something I’d never expected to happen. It released om 1987, it wasn’t until the early 90’s that I managed to get my hands on it. The game was difficult, not only did you require pixel precision in the platforming, but it also had limited lives, lack of a save feature, a randomised element and a controller that induced cramps.
As a whole, the remake is spot on, adding in lovely animations throughout. The same character momentum is present and it is a pain in the back side! The visuals have a light pixelised style to maintain some of the originals retro feel. If only you could compare the game with the old visuals, wait, you can. Pressing R2 at any point you can switch between the old visuals and music.
The sound is recreated and upgraded from the midi soundtrack. The main tune is matched faithfully as well as the Jan Ken Pon (rock, paper, scissors) matches.
You play as Alex Kidd, a martial artist who now has to defeat the villain Janken the Great who has kidnapped Prince Egle and his fiancee Princess Lora. Alex must save Radaxian city and the kingdom by defeating Janken’s henchmen in a mixture of rock, paper, scissor matches and basic combat. There are additional story elements too with NPC’s to talk to in the stages.
Your main and only real attack is the punch and other than this you can jump. There is a ring that gives you a fire projectile as well as a few other power ups to aide you in defeating the enemies.
There are classic levels, but also some new areas too. I found myself continually asking “was that in the original” and switching to the retro mode always pinged the nostalgia and made it easier to recall if it was new or not.
Stages vary between land, sea and even air. All playing very differently. I found that many of the things I found difficult as a child were incredibly easy. However there were loads of the same tricky parts that still frustrated me. The infamous jump in the Blackwoods Forest reminded me how challenging this game can be.
Starting with only 3 lives they quickly dwindle and if you lose all 3 you start right back at the start of the level. Luckily not at the start of the game as it did back in the day. Respawns are friendly too, starting you from a few feet away from where you died. Somehow it still doesn’t make it easier and doesn’t stop you from getting annoyed with it. The momentum of the character will send you falling off edges long into the game, even after you get used to it. Grazing against enemies by even a single pixel means instant death, so mentally prepare yourself for that.
Something that plagued the original is still present and is a key part of the game. The Janken matches or the rock, paper, scissors matches. There is no way you can predict them and the first few times you will likely lose. This prolongs the game and takes away from the skill needed in the platforming. I did managed to figure out a trick towards the end for most of the henchmen, but the early ones you will just have to memorise their first 2 throws and counter them perfectly the next time.
The nostalgia for this game is through the roof, and if you ever played the original I would highly recommend trying it. It is only £24.99 but includes a few extra modes and even options for infinite lives if you want to remove some of the frustrations.
- Replay Value