Alex Kidd: High-Tech World Review

Developer: Tonka Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 1989 Also On: None

Alex Kidd was Sega’s earliest character to be used as a mascot. Considering this, it would be safe to assume that the company would have made some effort at making sure any game that featured him was done well. Alex Kidd in Miracle World was a fantastic game and The Lost Stars was a below average follow up, but, one year after that disappointment, the gaming world was plagued by the third installment: Alex Kidd: High-Tech World.

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Playing this game, it makes me wonder why in the world they even bothered. It should be noted at the outset, however, that this was a refurbished game in actuality. It was originally released in Japan as Anmitsu Hime, based on a popular cartoon series in the country. The original version is much better, since it makes sense, and why Sega decided to change it for the PAL and NTSC markets is beyond me.

The graphics are vibrant, displaying an overall good usage of the Master System’s color scheme. Lots of detail in the characters, though most of the backgrounds tend to be fairly bland and continuous. That’s not the big issue. The big issue is that this game has been altered from its original form. The main character has been changed into Alex Kidd, with some minor alterations to his “family” and “friends.”

Due to this, and the fact that it’s generally done poorly, character animations tend to be a bit lacking. This, and the fact that everyone aside from Alex is in overtly Japanese attire, causes it to not work well. Overall, the graphics are decent, but because they were just hacked to make a new game, I have to give only average marks here.

Obviously, following the graphics category, this game uses the same music from the original with no alterations whatsoever as far as I know, thus completely ruining my opinion of its sound. The music is fitting, and the sound effects are fine, but they’re just kept the way they were with no obvious additions.

There are essentially four sections to this game. The first of the four involves a text-based search for the pieces of a map to find an arcade that Alex wants to go to. The second and fourth sections of the game involve platforming levels where Alex uses evasive abilities as well as throwing stars to get by ninjas. The third section of the game involves searching for a pass to get by a samurai who is guarding the entrance to the arcade. The first section isn’t too bad, but the third section is a long, drawn-out search for a pass which is very difficult to find, and, in the platforming sections, none of Alex’s powers from the previous games have been carried over. The game has obviously borrowed heavily from the Japanese game on which it was based.

There is no creativity to be had in Alex Kidd: High-Tech World. I’m sure it’s difficult to take an original game and hack it up to make something new for a different audience, but when you look at some of the programming that comes out of it, you’d think they would have just stopped and said “okay, no, we just can’t do this, let’s actually work on a new game,” but they didn’t. Marks are nearly straight to the floor in this category. The only points I can give are that Sega actually tried to do something with this, sad though it is. It was definitely a different Alex Kidd game, just not original because it was hacked.

I actually enjoyed the puzzle levels, and if it weren’t for the agonizing pain generated by the platforming, I seriously would have come back to this to give it another go. It was fun to move around the castle, solving puzzles to get Alex’s map to High-Tech World. Of course, that sounds ridiculous, but it was somewhat entertaining. The platform levels are just too terrible for me to want to come back to this. They completely drain your abilities and lead you to nearly despise all of existence.

When you first turn it on, you’ll notice that it even has a password feature. That would have been a great idea had you received more than one password in this game. No joke, you can’t generate passwords at all, you only receive one after you get all the map pieces right before the first terrifying ninja level. That’s the only password you’ll receive in the whole game and it makes you wonder why they bothered adding a password feature to begin with.

High-Tech World was yet another disappointing sequel to Alex Kidd in Miracle World. It’s just a total shame that Sega would do something like this when the Master System was suffering due to Nintendo’s strangle hold on the video game market. It would have made more sense had they decided to give it their all and make a completely new game, but something tells me that money was becoming an issue. Otherwise, I don’t believe this sad title would have even been considered.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 2
Gameplay: 2
Creativity: 1
Replay Value/Game Length: 1
Final: 2.4
Written by Stan Review Guide

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