Alex Kidd in Miracle World
|Alex Kidd in Miracle World|
Alex Kidd in Miracle World Western box art
Alex Kidd in Miracle World (アレックスキッドのミラクルワールド Arekkusu Kiddo no Mirakuru Wārudo?) is a side-scrolling platform game for the Master System video game console. It was first released in Japan on November 1, 1986, and then internationally in 1987. It was arguably the most widely known game in the Alex Kidd series, due to it being built into most Master System II consoles. As a result of this, the cartridge-based version of the game is now one of the rarest titles on the Master System.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is a platform game. The player must finish levels and overcome obstacles and puzzles in a 2D side-scrolling environment. Throughout the 17 stages, Alex Kidd faces many monsters, and the three henchmen of Janken the Great, before facing Janken himself.
Alex Kidd is the only playable character in the game. His primary skill is punching, which he can use to attack enemies, break certain types of rocks to access new areas and collect money. Breaking or stepping on certain blocks releases an evil spirit that will try to kill Alex. Any money Alex collects can be used to purchase items such as motorbikes and "peticopters" (small pedal-powered helicopters). At the end of most stages, Alex must face one of Janken's henchmen in a game of jan-ken-pon (rock, paper, scissors) and then collect the onigiri to move on to the next stage. Alex can take only one hit before he dies.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World does not have a battery save option or password system, meaning that when all of Alex's lives are gone, the game will be over. However, the game did have an undocumented "continuation" feature, where the player could continue the game with three lives from the beginning of the level where Alex had died, by holding the up button and pressing the 2 button eight times during the GAME OVER screen. This feature would cost the player 400 Baums (the in-game currency).
The game was built directly into the BIOS of the Master System II power base, enabling play right out of the box without the need to plug in any cartridge.
Characters and setting
Alex Kidd in Miracle World takes place in the fantasy world, known as Miracle World. The story focuses on the protagonist Alex Kidd in his search for his long lost brother Prince Egle who was captured by the antagonist of the game, the evil tyrant called Janken the Great, who had taken over the peaceful land of Radaxian.
Many centuries ago, on the planet Aries (known as "Miracle World"), there lived a boy named Alex Kidd, for seven years alone on Mount Eternal, where he studied and trained in the Shellcore technique, an ancient art that makes one strong enough to break rocks into pieces. This technique enables an Arian to alter the size and toughness of his fists through sheer willpower, and enables one to shatter rocks with one's bare fists. One day as he was leaving the mountain for his spiritual homeland, Alex encountered a dying man who told him that the peaceful city of Radaxian was in grave danger, and who gave Alex a map and a medallion. After the disappearance of King Thunder of Radaxian, Alex finds out that his first defeat was at the hands of Janken The Great, ruler over the planet Janbarik. Janken kidnaps the heir to the throne, Prince Egle (sometimes referred to as "Igul"), and his fiancée Princess Lora.
Many of the citizens are turned to stone through Janken's magic. Alex Kidd learns from a dying man that he is in fact a lost member of the Radaxian Royal Family, son of King Thunder and brother of Prince Egle. Alex sets out to discover the whereabouts of his father, rescue his brother, restore the kingdom, and destroy the monstrous minions of Janken. He must discover numerous magical artifacts and medallions to progress in the story.
After defeating Gooseka, Alex Kidd is on the island of Saint Nurari. He discovers that he is the prince of Radaxian, but when he was younger, was kidnapped by an evil Lord, and that now his hometown is being ruled by the tyrant Janken The Great. Alex then goes to the people of the village of Namui, where a man says that Alex's twin brother, Egle, is imprisoned in the castle of Radaxian. Then Alex goes to the castle Radaxian, beating Chokkina and Parplin on the way. In the castle, Alex rescues his brother who tells him he must find a personal letter from the Kingdom of Niban in a room of the castle, and the Medallion of the Moonlight, which is located in the Kingdom of Niban. Alex picks up the letter from the castle; to leave it, he must defeat Gooseka one last time.
Alex goes to the city where he defeats Chokkina definitively. After that, he moves into the realm of Niban, where he speaks with his Royal Highness Stone. Alex communicates that the Medallion of the Moonlight has been stolen, begging to be transported to Lake Rocks, where the Golden Crown is found, giving the stone to Hirotta. Alex goes to the castle of Janken, definitively defeating Parplin. In the castle is Janken, whom Alex must defeat to get the Medallion of the Moonlight. Janken offers to surrender if Alex can defeat him in a game of jan-ken-pon, but when Alex does so, Janken goes back on his word and attacks Alex. A battle between them ensues, and Alex is victorious as Janken's magic backfires, killing him and transforming him into a statue. After that, Alex finds Princess Lora, who says Alex's mother Patricia is in good hands, and that Alex must obtain the Gold Crown in order to reverse the effects of Janken's magic and banish his forces. Alex leaves for the Lake of the Rocks, where, after deciphering the stone Hirotta introduced, finds the Gold Crown, ending the game.
After Alex takes the Gold Crown, the game explains that Alex restores peace to Radaxian, and that the people who were turned to stone by Janken have returned to normal. In the city, Egle is crowned King of Radaxian, and Alex Kidd, with his martial arts, takes the position of Defender of the City, although his next goal will be to find his father, King Thunder.
In 1983, Nintendo launched the Family Computer (known in the West as the Nintendo Entertainment System) and two years later in the U.S. to great success, much of it due to the release of the video game Super Mario Bros., the first game created specifically for a home console.
Since Sega had failed to take 5% of the Japanese market, it was decided to rename and sell the "Mark III" in the West as the "Master System". More technically advanced than the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Master System never reached the same level of popularity in places like the U.S (selling only 125,000 MS consoles in four months compared to two million NES consoles), but in other markets such as Europe, Brazil and Australia, the Master System's sales fared better. This was the situation when Alex Kidd in Miracle World was released. This game (along with Wonder Boy) was meant to be Sega's answer to Super Mario Bros., but until Sonic Team created Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega was unable to compete with Shigeru Miyamoto's creation.
The game has been critically acclaimed since its release. In 1987, the French magazine Génération 4 gave the game a 99% score. In 1991, Sega Pro magazine gave the game a 95% score, stating that, with "so much to do and so many different ways of doing it, this is one of those games you will keep coming back to even when you have finished it completely." Computer and Video Games magazine in 1991 gave it an 86% score, describing the game as "Sega's answer to Mario" and concluding that the "absorbing gameplay will have you glued to your screen for hours on end."
In a 2008 retro review, IGN gave Alex Kidd a score of 9 out of 10 and an "Editor's Choice" award, calling it "an exceptional platformer with loads of action and some great puzzle-solving challenges" that "still holds up remarkably well." IGN also gave the Wii Virtual Console release a score of 9 out of 10.
The game was originally only available in cartridges. From 1990 onwards a slightly different version was integrated into the US, Australian and European versions of the Master System 2 and also some Australian and European versions of the Master System 1. There were two differences, first when changing targets in the game map, Alex is shown eating onigiri in the original version (and the 2008 Wii Virtual Console port), and a hamburger in the integrated version. The original version used button 2 to hit and button 1 to jump; these controls were inverted in the integrated version.
The game was released alongside Super Hang-On and The Revenge of Shinobi as part of Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd and Co., which was released for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in May 2012. This version allows play of any region version of the game (the European version retaining a 50 Hz framerate) and the Master System 2 variation.
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is the fifth title in the Alex Kidd series and arguably a sequel to Miracle World. It was launched in Europe in 1990 for the 16-bit console Mega Drive (Genesis in North America). The game continues the story of its predecessor, since it begins with Egle, the brother of Alex Kidd, ruling the planet Aries. Alex hears rumors that his father, King Thor, is being held prisoner by Ashra, the governor of Paperock Planet, so Alex embarks on a quest to rescue him. Although the parties still maintain that rock-paper-scissors is the game played to destroy a leader, there are also betting booths (called Janken Houses) in which to play that game. If Alex wins, he takes the object being placed as collateral for the bet. As compared to the original game, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle has higher definition graphics, more detailed game scenarios, and the main character is larger. However, the game has only eleven stages, six less than in Miracle World.
- "Alex Kidd in Miracle World Game manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-07-11.
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- Game plot, review info and useful stuff (in German). Retrieved 2010-07-11.
- From Super Mario to Lara Croft:The hidden history of video games. David Martínez. ISBN 84-96121-51-8. Page 115.
- "The Time Machine Sega Master System History". puntodepartida.com. Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "The Complete Guide To Sega". Computer and Video Games. 1991. ISSN 0957-669X. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- Buchanan, Levi (January 25, 2008). "Alex Kidd in Miracle World Review". IGN. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- Thomas, Lucas M. (June 23, 2008). "Alex Kidd in Miracle World Review: The Master System's best platformer finally makes the jump to Wii". IGN. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Alex Kidd in Miracle World". Game Greaks 365. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- Kazin Mage (4 April 2006). "Alex Kidd in Miracle World". GameHall. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Alex Kidd in Miracle World". Génération 4 (1): 21. 1987. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Sega Software Showdown". Sega Pro (1): 19. November 1991.
- Official website (in Japanese)