"Despite the fact that Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars is a fun game, itís hard to shake that ďthis isnít Miracle WorldĒ feeling. The fast paced platforming and tricky rock-paper-scissors Jan-Ken matches have been completely axed, replaced with something a little more linear. Donít get me wrong, even the most hardened of gamers couldnít deny that The Lost Stars is a cheerful romp through an insanely colourful (acid drop style!) world. Despite the fact that the game took everything that made its predece..."
Despite the fact that Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars is a fun game, itís hard to shake that ďthis isnít Miracle WorldĒ feeling. The fast paced platforming and tricky rock-paper-scissors Jan-Ken matches have been completely axed, replaced with something a little more linear. Donít get me wrong, even the most hardened of gamers couldnít deny that The Lost Stars is a cheerful romp through an insanely colourful (acid drop style!) world. Despite the fact that the game took everything that made its predecessor the success it was and replaced it with nothing that reeks of innovation, it still proved itself to be a rather enjoyable adventure.
After saving his brother and defeating the evil Jan-ken, Alex is faced with another problem. The evil monster, Jiggarat, has cruelly snatched all of the stars from the skies of Radactian, Alexís home city. Alex, being the prince of this troubled land decides to set out and regain the lost stars from the clutches of Jiggarat.
Forget Jan-Ken, your awesome battle system and your ultra Ėlarge fist that you could use to demolish rocks into pebbles. Theyíre gone. In fact, at the beginning, Alex has no means of defending himself against any foes or obstacle. Leaping is the only way to avoid enemies but donít worry because at the moment, enemy occurrences are few and far between. You have a bigger threat to your health than that. You see, this game incorporates a vitality bar into play (something similar to those seen in Adventure Island and Wonder Boy. ) This combines the elements of time and health into one gauge that automatically decreases whether you are hit or not or whether you move or not.
This may sound a little on the tedious side, and occasionally it can be. If an enemy hits you, Alex will scream in pain and lose a huge chunk of the bar. If you waste time, your bar will diminish, thus making your life rather difficult. It can be replenished if you collect the correct power-up but that can be a task in itself. Power ups float down from the sky but alternately flicker from one to another so when you jump to catch it, you may end up collecting one that you didnít really need. However, you can collect weaponry (the ability to shoot out a gust of wind) or a top up to your vitality bar.
Instead of offering us some cool boss battles or any Jan-Ken fights, Lost Stars cuts corners by slapping a rather difficult obstacle at the end of each stage. The toy level unleashes a freakishly unhinging teddy bear head that drops balls at you, while the factory world throws you in a force field maze of electricity. Some of these challenges are easy, only requiring you to press on past it while others need some quick thinking so you can get past them quickly and efficiently. Donít try the easy way out by sacrificing some of your bar to allow Alex to go into a state of temporary invincibility so you skim through them. If you are hit, you will be kicked back to the beginning of the screen and will have to retry the challenge with a small quantity of your vitality chipped off.
Baha! Thatís what you get for cheating! You bum!
You may be happy to hear that the game sports fourteen levels for you to dissect. However, you probably wonít be too happy to know that levels 7+ are simply remixed versions of the previous worlds with new enemies added and the amount of helpful items cut down. Itís a little on the disappointing side to see Alex reappear back in Toy Land after you have escaped from Jiggarat, especially when you've placed your controller down, satsified that you have finished the game . The fact that you have to replay the same levels again just to finish the game fully is a rather unnecessary and tedious process. In fact, the vast majority of players probably wonít be interested in playing a hardened version of the same game.
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars has some extremely bright and cartoon style visuals, which mop the floor with the basic graphics seen in Miracle World. The glossy and large characters inspire your imagination and the creative palette of colours massage your eyes gently. Miracle World looks basic and rough compared to the smooth overcoat that Lost Stars provides. It even diverts from its humble original arcade origins and creates a distinct style for itself rather than simply leeching off its older brother or its original source.
Itís a rather charming title to obtain for a collection or for a rainy day. Platform fans may criticise its deviant simplicity and fall flat on their face when their vitality bar empties. The fact that it repeats itself after it is the gameís only major flaw, playing the exact same levels again with small differences is a little on the cheap side and probably wonít be the hook for the majority of gamers. The inclusion of the vitality bar turns the rather simplistically designed levels into rather tough hikes that will keep you occupied for a few hours. The Lost Stars is something worth having for the platform fanatic or the insane Kidd fan but it probably wonít impress anybody else. Those who want to play it just to see how Alex Kidd games work would probably be better off playing the more diverse Miracle World before turning to this inferior but fun title.
Community review by goldenvortex (November 22, 2005)
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