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Alex Kidd: High-Tech World (Sega Master System) artwork

Alex Kidd: High-Tech World (Sega Master System) review


"When it came time to make a sequel to the successful Super Mario Brothers, Japan got what looked like, at first glance, a simple expansion. However, when people actually tried playing it, they were thrown off by the sudden increase in difficulty. It looked like SMB, but it played like a different beast: enemies were placed in cruel spots, purple mushrooms instantly killed with a simple touch, platforms were harder to make, and warps sent you back to earlier levels. Essentially, Super Mario Bros...."



When it came time to make a sequel to the successful Super Mario Brothers, Japan got what looked like, at first glance, a simple expansion. However, when people actually tried playing it, they were thrown off by the sudden increase in difficulty. It looked like SMB, but it played like a different beast: enemies were placed in cruel spots, purple mushrooms instantly killed with a simple touch, platforms were harder to make, and warps sent you back to earlier levels. Essentially, Super Mario Bros. 2 was a mean son of a bitch.

America got something completely different. Nintendo of America were concerned that American gamers wouldn't stand the difficulty, and be turned off by the game as a whole. Who could blame them, really? I mean, SMB was a huge success, and mainly responsible for bringing the public back into playing video games after the crash. I'm pretty sure they were afraid that, with SMB2, they were going to drive people away from games as fast as they got them back into the media.

NoA, instead, grabbed a Japanese title, Doki Doki Panic, redid some things within the game, and slapped the name Super Mario Bros. 2 on it. Yes, that sounds like a cheap tactic, but that didn't mean us silly Westerners got something of less value. The "new" world of SMB2 was a vivid and varied one. After picking one of four characters, consisting of standard Mario, jumper Luigi, speedy Toad, and floaty Peach, you were launched into worlds with many challenges. You're given the task of climbing towers while dodging fast-moving enemies on platforms, digging your way down into the depths of a pyramid for a key, jumping from whale to whale, and using bombs to destroy walls underground. Along the way, you'll discover many secrets and alternative paths, ensuring different experiences every time you come back.

The US Super Mario Bros. 2 may have been a sneaky makeover of a Japanese title, but Nintendo of America made sure it was from a game that was enjoyable.

When it came time to make the next Alex Kidd sequel, Sega didn't even bother creating one at all. They went straight to grabbing a Japanese title, Anmitsu Hime, redid some things within the game, and slapped the name Alex Kidd: High-Tech World on it. Yes, that sounds like a cheap tactic, and us silly Westerners got a piece of crap. When the unfortunate few got this when it originally came out (*raises hand*), they were expecting an action platform game similar to Miracle World. They instead got a title that defied logic and common sense. What's worse is how the game didn't let them in on the "joke". It instead tortured them.

The first area of the game takes place in Alex Kidd's giant home, where he's tasked with searching for eight torn pieces of a map. Why? He wants to travel to an arcade, called High-Tech World, in the next town. The next town. This section of the game has zero action, only searching. Well... it's not what fans of Miracle World were expecting, but it could still be fun, right? Sega apparently weren't concerned about gamers having fun; if they were, they would have gone the distance and changed the completely asinine situations you were forced into. They're asinine because the solutions to most problems don't make any sense, and the game doesn't bother giving you any hints. How was I supposed to know I had to enter and exit a room four or five times to get a piece? Or that, to obtain a burnt piece (thanks, crazy old man), I had to call a complete stranger, and wait for him to come over, so he can give me an item that repairs the piece? And what's this nonsense about not walking out of the house? I have to find a hang glider I never knew existed, and then use it to fly out of the house? What?!

You have to keep in mind that this was before the Interwebs, before we could just go online to read a guide or watch a video for stupid games. Master System owners got this game, became stumped, and gave up. They never experienced anything beyond the house, only left with being teased by the game's demos, knowing they would never make it to these places. Sadly, High-Tech World doesn't make a drastic improvement once you make it out of the house, as players eventually found out years later with help. They were greeted with two dull action sections, and another inane "search" segment with more illogical thinking. Want to talk to a guard? He'll capture you (??), resulting in a game over. Need a ticket pass? You'll never figure out the solution to this on your own. Maybe during a moment of insanity.

The solution?

Pray 100 times.

. . . . .

Sega of America made sure Master System owners got screwed with this sneaky makeover of a Japanese title.

Rating: 2/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (October 12, 2009)

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