Alex Kidd In Miracle World was released in 1986, long before Sonic showed up and rocked the SEGA scene. The success of the game happened in an almost natural and instantaneous way, and for a time, Alex became SEGA’s unofficial mascot.
In some countries, the game was even hardcoded onto the SEGA Master System consoles. In my case, I had a Master System II with Alex Kidd built-in, and the game was the sole responsible for many many hours in front of the TV. And now, almost 35 years later, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX, a remake of the classic title, was released. But was the long wait worth it?
Story and Gameplay
Alex, a kind of half monkey-half human, discovers that the villain Janken has defeated the Thunder King, kidnapped the prince, and turned the kingdom’s people into stone. What a catastrophe! Alex decides to go on a rescue mission and defeat the baddies along the way to bring his kingdom back to normal.
As expected for a 2D platformer focused on children, the story is light-hearted and just enough to keep the game going. Remember that video games in the 80s were essentially designed for kids? Yep!
However, the game became famous for its boss battles of Jan-ken-pon (rock, paper, and scissors). It was somewhat challenging to remember all the bosses’ sequences of rock, papers, and scissors to beat the game. Losing any of those battles meant starting over the whole level and, ultimately, the entire game. That is because the original Alex Kidd had no save-game system at all. So, if you lost all available lives: game over. Yes, a Soulslike-like game existed much before people could ever imagine something similar!
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is a somewhat regular 2D platform game in which you have to finish levels by overcoming obstacles and several enemies. Alex’s primary skill is a punch capable of destroying foes and breaking rocks to access new paths, collect items such as money, and get to the finishing line. Also, you can use money to buy other items in the markets between levels, including vehicles such as motorcycles and helicopters. These vehicles were a groundbreaking addition to the game. It offered a nice variety of gameplay in a time of simple game mechanics and few features. That was amazing!
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The Merge Games development team chose to add some options to avoid frustration due to the excessive game over screen people used to face back in the days. One of them is to enable unlimited lives, so you don’t need to repeatedly go back to the first level. On the other hand, doing so prevents you from completing some achievements/trophies – choose carefully.
I personally liked this option because it makes the game more accessible to a broader audience. And when talking about new possibilities, the game also offers a boss challenging mode called Boss Rush. You can jump right to the boss battles on that game mode and face the oldies (but goldies) Gooseka, Chokkina, Parplin, and Janken directly. This mode is terrific for both training, fun, online live streaming, and personal challenges.
Although we have new game modes and options to make Alex Kidd easier, the devs opted to keep the original mechanics. It makes the game terribly hard, but with that, you can taste a bit of how Alex Kidd was indeed a classic. However, although this can be good from a nostalgic perspective, there is nothing more to it. I wish we could have had more new features on the gameplay mechanics or something to boost the replay factor. Don’t get me wrong, I love replaying those old games, but if you don’t change much of the mechanics, a 35-year-old game is still a product of its time, no matter how beautiful the graphics and sound are.
Visuals, sounds, and more
Alex Kidd In Miracle World DX’s graphics and soundtrack are the game’s flagship! The title managed to develop an authentic personality and aesthetics to match with those of the protagonist. The devs gave a modern identity to a once 8bit pixelated world, where players had to use a lot of imagination to picture its characters and visuals. It all happened thanks to a detailed and excessively animated graphics revamp.
To make it all even better and play with our nostalgic love for older games, you have a feature to take you back directly to the 8-bit era design – real-time, no loadings. You just hit a button, and you turn your console/PC into the classic SEGA’s Master System. It’s really cool to see how each environment, character, background, and challenge has been remade, and, most importantly, what the music in the original game was like.
On the soundtrack side, it is essential to point out that the songs were made from scratch. After all, the sound was also a considerable limitation in the 80s. There is nothing to be criticized here, quite the contrary. The sound design team managed to translate the essence of the old polyphonic music of the 80s into high-quality songs with a lot of soul! I can say that the soundtrack is the best aspect of Alex Kidd in Miracle Word DX and one of the best works I’ve seen in recent years for this game genre.
Is Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX worth it?
Well, I personally loved the game, its visuals, audio, etc.. Still, mainly because it was the first video game I’ve ever had – so it hit right into my heart. The game does a good job delivering the old Alex Kidd in Miracle World adventure, and that is it. The title is a one-way re-visit ride and nothing more. I wish Alex Kidd could have provided something bigger and better that could do justice for SEGA’s former mascot. If you are an Alex Kidd fan or like to experience the classic games made before your time, I’d say this game is for you. However, if you are not either, I suggest you wait for a discount, sure to arrive in the near future. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is available for PC, Playstation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series.