Alex Kidd in Miracle World

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Developer: SegaPublisher: Sega
Release Date: 1990Also On: None

Alex Kidd in Miracle World is to the Master System what Super Mario Bros. is to the NES. Every system seems to have had a spokesman of some sort, and Alex was one of the earlier Sega characters to be presented in this way. Others include Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone and later Sonic the Hedgehog. This was the first game Alex appeared in for the Master System and is easily the best of the four. It’s a great game, with only a minor control problem.

Miracle World has great graphics, really showing off the capabilities of the Master System. It was an earlier game, so there aren’t any backgrounds to speak of, but the color schemes are just superb. It also has interesting characters and enemies and plenty of variety.

Considering the Master System’s poor sound chip, and even if it had a better one, this game has great sound. The music is fitting, catchy, and well written. It is all very nicely done. Sound effects are abundant and well utilized to achieve some nice effects.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World takes the standard platform scheme and does a lot of different things with it. Among other things, Alex can jump, punch, use different items, as well as ride motorcycles and helicopters. There’s quite a variety of things to do, and plenty of secrets to locate. Bosses are odd in that you have several instances where you take them on in a “rock-paper-scissors” match. Later on they attack you after you win, but at first you just play against them. It’s very interesting. Alex can only take one hit, but this is nothing new and it really doesn’t affect the gameplay at all.

You go through different areas including land, water, air, caves and castles. The two castles near the end are pretty tough at times, giving this game plenty of challenge. The only real problem I have with it is the control. This is only present in a few SMS games and I don’t know why they did it here, but the buttons are reversed. Meaning, the button on the right jumps while the button on the left punches. Doesn’t sound odd until you try it out. It’s the reverse of what you’d be used to, and, more importantly, it’s simply not natural. It works better when the idea is just the opposite because your thumb rests that way so it works. This can make the game a bit awkward at times, but it’s not hard to get used to.

There is only one other problem, and that’s that the controls are a bit too sensitive. Alex will often fall off a platform you land on because he has a tendency to move in the direction you were pressing. This can get ugly on small platforms and later on when you have to swim through a tight maze of spikes. Still, overall, Miracle World is a great game, plenty of fun. It even has some puzzle elements thrown in as well.

This game was quite innovative for its time and remains so even to this day. There’s a ton of different things to do and plenty of variety. You don’t simply jump and attack, you ride vehicles, use magic, locate items, and so forth. The end even involves you solving a puzzle to capture your crown. They really did a lot with this game and pushed the envelope on the platformer genre.

There is plenty of replay value here. The game can be kind of difficult because of the control issue, but once you get the hang of it it’s a lot of fun. The difficulty is increased by a lack of continues, thus adding to the need to come back to it. Honestly, even after beating this game, I would definitely find the need in the future to play through it again. The length is just right, not too long, and definitely not too short. With the inclusion of the non-linear “Kid Icarus” style castles, it adds even more.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World is stock for anyone interested in the Master System. You simply have to own this game because it was one of the core titles that gave the console some sense of individuality, at least in the US. There are plenty of features to be discovered, excellent graphics, great usage of sound, and the only real problem is the control issue, but it’s not that big of a deal. This is simply a great game all around and a nice display of what Sega could have done for so many more games for the SMS.

Replay Value/Game Length:9