"Alex Kidd had one rough ride back in those good olí 8-bit days. In five games (letís try to forget about that BMX racer, eh?) he became the icon of the Master System. Although his cheery little face didnít make as much of an impact like platforming icons Mario and Sonic, he still left us with a handful (a SMALL handful) of reasonably decent and memorable (letís also try and forget about Alex Kidd in High Tech World, OK?) titles. A range including a simple plat former, a Shinobi cross-o..."
Alex Kidd had one rough ride back in those good olí 8-bit days. In five games (letís try to forget about that BMX racer, eh?) he became the icon of the Master System. Although his cheery little face didnít make as much of an impact like platforming icons Mario and Sonic, he still left us with a handful (a SMALL handful) of reasonably decent and memorable (letís also try and forget about Alex Kidd in High Tech World, OK?) titles. A range including a simple plat former, a Shinobi cross-over and this absolute classic: Alex Kidd in Miracle World.
Even when you first pick up the controller, you know straight away that Miracle World isnít going to be our average plat former. First of all, the typical ďgenericĒ platform styles that Mario laid out for us have not been mimicked at all. Collecting 100 items does not give Alex an extra life, after a certain stage set, Alex doesnít always fight a boss and he doesnít just have to plod his way through a series of generic levels that do little to differentiate themselves from each other. What does offer are plenty of varying levels, lots of cool gadgets to use when going through those levels and an utterly unique, overly original battle system that had never been seen before the power of JAN-KEN!!
Miracle World even starts with a creative touch. Instead of having to run right, you must head down a dangerous mountain. Youíll clamber along the edges, picking up those large sacks of money (which can be collected and conveniently used to purchase great items from your local Asian shop-keep) and using your martial arts skills (well, a punch) to break down blocks and smack enemies in the face. After you reach the bottom, youíll plunge into a sea, rife with annoyed fish and frogmen who appear to be rather hostile towards your presence. Be wary, as one hit will turn Alex into an unhappy little ghost and extra lives are a rarity (unless you purchase one), so be careful.
Collecting those bags of money that are scattered through out Miracle World does come to some use. After scaling mountains, swimming through rivers and hiking through jungles, youíll come across a few shops where you can purchase a nice variety of objects, which will aid to your success. You can fly through the land in your pedal-copter , blasting away any hostiles with your lovely cannon or you can lay waste to the environment in your motorbike. Some other items appear quite deceptive, the old walking stick will give Alex the ability to fly (without the button mashing that helicopter asks of you) and the ? Box (can you feel the excitement? What could this ? Box contain?) gives you a free helping of invincibility, for a short period of time.
After you whisk through the levels with or without the help of these awesome items, youíll occasionally be challenged by a number of men who have clearly been dropped at birth or have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Paper head, Scissors head and Stone head will block your way at various stages and challenge you to a Jan-Ken match! Best two out of three! When that famous tune begins, you have to quickly choose between rock, paper or scissors before the time runs out. If you lose the contest, the vile man will turn you into stone but if you are victorious, heíll get pissed off and decapitate himself. Donít get me wrong, the frustration of his loss doesnít lead to his suicide, not at all. His head will leap off his shoulders and come straight at you. Youíll be right as rain if you hop around and punch his lights out with that oversized fist of yours.
Lastly, youíll enter a castle that puts that irritating scrolling nightmare in Super Mario Bros. to shame. Each room you enter has a number of obstacles that have to overcome with your skill and will power. One room suddenly fills with water, forcing you to the next, which will probably have a series of ladders and blocks that you must work through. Then you will have to swim through incredibly small gaps, covered in spikes against the raging force of the current or youíll have to squeeze through small spaces avoiding the clasping vines that bob up and down in the water. Some rooms in the castle will lead you to nowhere and chances are that you will get lost and end up encountering one of the headmen again. However, if you keep on persevering and note your steps, youíll come to face with the nastiest monster in all of Miracle World:
Yes, this open-mouthed creature is the cause of your strife. Little did we know that Alex was a prince of this world, nor did know that this creature had Alexís mother hostage and may have an idea where Alexís father (the king of this world) has gone. Jan-Ken will challenge you and when you wipe the floor with him, (your skill at this game will be adept at this point) heíll start to spit fireballs that are ridiculously easy to avoid and will stand there as you punch his face in. Youíll laugh at his fate as his he ironically turns to stone right in front of your eyes (which is your usual punishment for losing.) Donít screw with the Kiddís! Jan-Ken learned that the hard way.
Alex Kiddís adventures may have started to wane a little after his third game but the classic platform action in Miracle World canít be compared to anything else. The unique battle system, the sweet selection of items, the various level surroundings and its variance from the basic platform layout from such an early stage clearly separates Miracle World not just form the regular Master System platform romp but from platformers in general. Itís a gaming essential as much as SMB or Sonic, even though its impact wasnít as heavy hitting as those two icons. Pick up a Master System and get it built in for free for no extra cost and keep some of Miracle World in your heart forever.
Community review by goldenvortex (November 11, 2005)
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