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Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Sega Master System) artwork

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World (Sega Master System) review


"An obscure gem featuring Sega's early and forgotten mascot"


Good 'ol Alex Kidd! Sega's early pre-Sonic The Hedgehog mascot had an interesting run on the Sega Master System. He saw himself in five different games across the console's lifespan including a couple platformers, a strange adventure game, a racing game and a Shinobi spoof which we'll be taking a look at in this review.

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is a tongue in cheek spoof of the original Shinobi game and early working titles for the game were actually called Shinobi Kid before Alex Kidd was attached to it. The game is a very late release for the console in 1990 and is well known in collectors' circles for its rarity and value and for one of the few games to be released with a blue labeled cartridge.

Alex Kidd In Shinobi World is broken up into four stages with two levels and a boss fight for each one. This game is one of the most colorful and bright games in the entire library which compliments the light hearted mood the game sets. The game is your standard platform fair but Alex Kidd has a nice repertoire of moves and three different weapons. His best move is being able to grab on to poles and spin which turns him into a fireball and allows him to fly vertically or horizontally killing enemies and breaking blocks and is used to find extra lives and many of the game's secret areas. Each of boss fights are typical fare for the time but they are fun and creative and are spoofs of Shinobi's bosses. None of the boss fights are very tough and even the final boss fight only took me a handful of tries to finish him off and rescue Alex' girlfriend (I know, another rescue the damsel in distress story).

A new player may have to spend a few minutes getting used to the slightly slippery feel of the controls but the game as a whole is pretty easy and one a casual gamer can pick up and play easily. I am able to play through the game now in about fifteen or twenty minutes but I don't mind coming back to it from time to time just for the simple game play.

As I stated earlier the graphics are colorful and compliment the game well but they are on the simple side and never wowed me. The bosses are also a little too simple looking and just needed some more detail as does the whole game. This game falls far short visually when compared to other great games of the time like Sonic The Hedgehog and Castle of Illusion. The music is pretty catchy and a lot of it is remixes of Shinobi and it sounds pretty good and I like that and could only imagine what this would sound like with added FM synth. The sound effects are surprisingly good, diverse, and full sounding even for system with limited audio which is another plus.

As a whole Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is a solid game and one of the better games in the Sega Master System library but it's just not "blow you away" good. It's just a bit too easy and it's over too quickly but for me it was a fun diversion and a good addition to my library albeit an expensive one. I'd recommend this game for platform game fans but you may want to hesitate unless you're a collector due to the high price tags this now commands but if you can find it for a good price then grab it as it should offer you a few hours of quality game play.


vgc2000's avatar
Community review by vgc2000 (April 18, 2021)

vgc2000's more extensive backlog of reviews can be found on GameFaqs. But some now live here.

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dagoss posted April 19, 2021:

I love that this game's first boss is basically Mario (it was initially named Mari-oh!).
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Masters posted April 19, 2021:

I remember liking this game quite a bit, but maybe that's just nostalgia talking. Nice review!

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