Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

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Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Cover art
Developer(s) Sega
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Yoshio Yoshida
Series Alex Kidd
Shinobi
Platform(s) Master System, Virtual Console
Release date(s) Master System
  • NA 1990
  • EU August 1990
Virtual Console
  • NA February 1, 2010
  • PAL December 11, 2009
Genre(s) Platform, hack and slash
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Sega Master System cartridge

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is a side-scrolling action game produced by Sega that was originally released for the Master System in 1990 and later re-released for the Wii Virtual Console in 2009. Although developed in Japan, it was released exclusively for the overseas market (North America, Europe and Brazil), with the American version being produced in limited quantities. The game stars Alex Kidd in a parody version of Sega's ninja-themed action game Shinobi, where Alex Kidd fights against caricatures of many of the enemies from Shinobi. It is the final video game to star the Alex Kidd character.

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World '​s cartridge label is normally the regular red with black grid design, however a much rarer blue label version exists and is considered to be somewhat of a collector's item to Master System game collectors.

Gameplay[edit]

Despite being part of the Alex Kidd series, the game mechanics of Shinobi World are different from Alex Kidd in Miracle World and are much closer to the Master System version of Shinobi. Alex Kidd's basic attack is a sword slice, which can be used not only to destroy enemies, but also to open treasure chests. Inside such chests, the player can obtain items such as more health, throwing darts, a powered-up sword, extra lives, and a magic ball that will temporarily turn Alex Kidd into an invincible tornado. The throwing darts and powered-up sword will both replace the Alex's default sword until the player completes the stage or defeats a boss. Other actions that Alex Kidd can perform include a wall-to-wall jump and the ability to turn into a flying fireball after spinning around a street post, a rope or a horizontal bar.

Alex starts off each round with three hit points, but can fill out his health gauge to a maximum of six hit points. When the player has full health, all the treasure chests carrying hearts will carry extra lives in their place. When the player defeats a boss with full health, he will gain a "Perfect Bonus" after completing the round. There's also a "Secret Bonus" if the player completes an entire round without getting hit or losing life at any point.

Plot[edit]

The game's title screen.

An evil being known as Hanzo the Dark Ninja escapes after 10,000 years of confinement and kidnaps Alex Kidd's new girlfriend from planet Shinobi. After the kidnapping, Alex encounters the ghost of the ancient warrior who originally vanquished the Dark Ninja, who explains that the Dark Ninja intends to sacrifice Alex's girlfriend to conquer the world. The spirit of the ancient warrior fuses itself with Alex's body, lending Alex his strength, skills, and courage.

The game is composed of four different rounds roughly based on the missions from the original Shinobi, which are divided into three stages. The third stage is each round is a boss battle. The rounds are as follows.

  • Round 1 - Set in a city. The boss is "Kabuto" (a parody of Ken-oh), a warrior in samurai armor who spits fireball and shrinks into a smaller size after sustaining damage.
  • Round 2 - Set in a harbor. The boss is a fleet of tiny helicopters spitted by a robotic face (a parody of both, the Black Turtle attack chopper and the Mandara Master).
  • Round 3 - Set in a bamboo garden. The boss is "Robster" (a parody of the Lobster), who is an actual lobster.
  • Round 4 - Set in a mansion. The boss is Hanzo, who fights using several attack patterns similar to the Masked Ninja in the original Shinobi.

Shinobi Kid (original / working title)[edit]

Shinobi Kid with original Round 1 boss "Mari-Oh"
Shinobi Kid screenshot

In 2007, images and articles began to surface on the internet, that like Alex Kidd: High-Tech World, Alex Kidd was not originally intended to be the star of the game. Rather, the game was initially devised to be a 'cute' parody of Shinobi, in a similar vein to Kid Dracula was to Castlevania, Parodius was to Gradius and Star Parodier was to Star Soldier.

An article from Issue Four of S: The Sega Magazine (March 1990) printed the following article about Shinobi Kid:

Along with the price reduction, Sega announced that there will continue to be new titles released for the Master System, and many were on display. As well as games already featured in S there were new up-and-coming titles such as Ultima IV, Golfamania, Shinobi Kid, Assault City, Slapshot plus Super Monaco GP and Simple Fighter (both announced but not shown) and R.C. Grand Prix from Absolute Entertainment, although none of the previous third party licenses (Activision, Parker Brothers, Epyx) plan to release new titles for the Master System.

Of these, Shinobi Kid was about the best. The tune is from Shinobi, but the Character is a small kid. He has some of the same moves and a new power: instead of walking through the screens, he can grab the occasional lamp pole or bar and start spinning faster and faster around it. Pushing the button releases him and he flies across several screens, knocking out any bad guys along the way. The screen scrolls horizontally and sometimes vertically downward into a maze and then back up to ground level. At the end of each level, after he rescues all the tied-up hostages, he must fight the end-of-level boss. One is called Mari-Oh (as a sideswipe at Ni****do's Mario character). Defeat Mari-Oh and he shrinks down in size and disappears.

Changes[edit]

The boss of Round 1, called Kabuto in the released version of the game, also had a different design in the prototype. He was originally named "Mari-Oh" and was designed as a pastiche of Mario, the mascot of rival game developer Nintendo. The character behaved like a combination of Mario and the Shinobi villain Ken-Oh, hence the name. Mari-Oh shares two qualities with his Nintendo namesake: he attacks the player by shooting bouncing fireballs and after sustaining enough damage, he shrinks to a smaller size. Although, Mari-Oh was renamed Kabuto in the finished, with a redesign that downplayed his likeness to Mario, his attack pattern remained unchanged from the prototype.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Sega Retro 85%[1] (10 reviews)
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 92%[2]
90%[3]
Joystick 91%[4]
Mean Machines Sega 90%[5]
Sega Power 80%[6]
Sega Pro 88%[3]
S: The Sega Magazine 88%[7]
VicioJuegos 84/100[8]

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World was critically acclaimed upon release, with an average aggregate score of 85% from Sega Retro, based on ten reviews.[1] Computer and Video Games magazine gave the game a score of 92% in its September 1990 issue. The reviewer Robert Swan stated that the "game is brill" and a "combination of Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Shinobi" that "works really well." He praised the playability that "becomes progressively more difficult as you go along," and concluded that it is a "great game" overall.[2] In 1991, "The Complete Guide to Sega" issue of Computer and Video Games gave it a 90% score, describing the game as "probably the best in the Alex series so far" and "a hilarious mixture of Alex Kidd and Shinobi." They stated it is "a platform chop-socky game" with "top-notch" graphics and "excellent" sound, including "cutesy version of the Shinobi title music!" They concluded that it is "Dead funny" and "playable as heck," recommending readers to "grab hold of at the first opportunity!"[3]

Sega Pro magazine gave the game a score of 88% in its inaugural November 1991 issue, describing it as a "huge game" with "so much to do that addiction is guaranteed." They stated that it is a "one-player only game but with something this good you wouldn't want anyone else to intrude" and concluded that it is "Great fun."[9] The October 1992 issue of Mean Machines Sega gave it an 88% score, stating that it is the "latest and greatest Kidd game." They described it as "a parody of the Shinobi landscape" and concluded it to be a "a humorous and very playable cart" that is "Recommended."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://segaretro.org/Alex_Kidd_in_Shinobi_World
  2. ^ a b "Alex Kidd in Shinobi World: By Sega". Computer and Video Games (106). September 1990. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Complete Guide To Sega". Computer and Video Games. 1991. ISSN 0957-669X. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  4. ^ Joystick, issue 9, page 92
  5. ^ a b http://www.smspower.org/Reviews/AlexKiddInShinobiWorld-SMS-MeanMachinesSegaGamesIndex
  6. ^ Sega Power, issue 23, page 55
  7. ^ S: The Sega Magazine, issue 10, page 4-5
  8. ^ "Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Master System)". VicioJuegos. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Sega Software Showdown". Sega Pro (1): 19. November 1991. 

External links[edit]