Keith Courage in Alpha Zones
|Keith Courage in Alpha Zones|
Keith Courage in Alpha Zones is a 1989 science fantasy action platform video game by Hudson Soft that was released for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16. It was the initial pack-in game in North America for the Turbografx-16, before being replaced by Bonk's Adventure in 1991. The game was originally released in Japan on August 30, 1988 for the PC Engine (The TG-16's Japanese counterpart), under the title Mashin Eiyūden Wataru (魔神英雄伝ワタル), which is adapted from the anime television series of the same name (Spirit Hero Wataru).
The player controls Keith Courage. Struck by a giant meteor, the world, in the game, has been invaded by creatures from another planet. Burrowing deep within the Earth's surface, the planet of B.A.D. (Beastly Alien Dudes) seeks to take over the world. As a member of N.I.C.E. (Nations of International Citizens for Earth), Keith's mission is to defeat B.A.D. and bring peace to the world. Armed with a sword, Keith must first defeat the outpost guards. Then, enter the Underworld. Here Keith activates the awesome Nova Suit. A secret force left to him by his fallen father, he is half man, half mechanical monster. Nearly invincible, his sword cracks with the power of lightning, as you wreak havoc on the fearsome Dudes. His goal is to reach the Robo Zone (the seventh Alpha Zone), headquarters of B.A.D. Succeed here and the player will win the game, recapturing the Earth and restoring humanity's place in the universe. Four friends offer Keith advice, swords, bombs, and extra lives. The player's goal is to collect the stolen riches left behind by the invaders and buy your way out of trouble with money.
The game is a platformer action-adventure game, but it sports two different styles of play depending on whether the player is above (overworld) or below ground (underworld). There are a total of seven levels in the game, each of which is broken into two areas, the overworld and underworld. Overworld areas consist of simple rightward travel and platform hopping. In the overworld, one controls Keith Courage in his human form, using a dagger to fend off enemies which take the form of birds, moles, and even cats that drop from the sky. Upon reaching the end of the overworld level, Keith is transported via rainbow to the underworld, whereupon he adopts the Nova Suit. The underworld levels are more complex and menacing than the colorful overworld, with aggressive nightmare creatures and a larger landscape to travel with more of a focus on navigating not only horizontally but also vertically. At the end of each underworld level is a boss. In the overworld, you can go into buildings at times and buy power ups.
In the overworld, Keith is a simple adventurous human with a short sword and three heart containers. The overworld, while simple, is where Keith will collect coins and spend those coins to obtain "bolt bombs," health regeneration, and better equipment for the underworld by going to houses that have NPC's to talk to.
Transporting to the underworld places Keith in the Nova Suit, a suit of armor that grants him extra hearts on his health bar and a better sword depending on what was purchased in the overworld. Additionally, Keith is now able to use the "bolt bombs." When used, bolt bombs are similar to bullets that are fired in the eight cardinal directions depending on how many are left.
- Wataru Ikusabe / Keith Courage - The main character.
- Himiko Shinobibe (忍部 ヒミコ Shinobibe Himiko) / Nurse Nancy - Nancy heals Keith for a price.
- Shibaraku Tsurugibe (剣部 シバラク Tsurugibe Shibaraku) / Weapons Master - Weapons Master sells weapons to Keith.
- The Prophet - The Prophet warns Keith of danger.
- Wise Wizard - Wise Wizard sells bolt bombs to Keith.
Differences between the Japanese version and the North American version
The gameplay of the two versions is the same but the story is different. For example, the main character's name is Wataru Ikusabe (戦部ワタル Ikusabe Wataru), who is a primary school student in 4h grade in the Japanese version. The Nova Suit is called "Ryūjinmaru" (龍神丸) in the Japanese version, and is beckoned by Wataru with his sword. Ryūjinmaru is the embodiment of a dragon. The stage of the Japanese version is called "Sōkaizan" (創界山), which has been occupied by the king of Makai (魔界, which means "World of devil"); it is a seven-leveled mountain that is a different place from the real world, and Wataru is the "Kyūseishu" (救世主, the Savior) to liberate Sōkaizan from the devils.