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Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX Review

Publisher: Merge Games

Series: Alex Kidd

Developers: Merge Games, Jankenteam

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Genres: Platform game, Indie game, Fighting game


Link to Purchase

"Review Copy Provided by Merge Games"

It is an amazing time being a gamer these days as not only are we getting so many new games and original games but also so many of the games from the 80s and 90s are being remade and remastered which allows modern gamers the opportunity to play games that they either may have missed or may not have been born in the era when a lot of these games came out and allows those of us that grew up in those eras the chance to relive our childhood and younger years. Alex Kidd was the original mascot of Sega before Sonic was ever a thing and with numerous games in the Alex Kidd franchise that were made to try and solidify Sega as a having a mascot platformer to compete with Nintendo’s Italian plumber known as Mario. Unfortunately, it never really took off for Sega although it did establish a large fandom to the point where in 2021 Merge Games have made a remake of the first game for modern consoles. The question now is does this game live up to the original or is it just another cash in on the remake market we seem to be in? Let’s find out!

Story

Alex Kidd returns home to find his village taken over by the villainous Janken the Great that ended up defeating King Thunder of the city of Radaxian and ended up kidnapping both Prince Egle and Egle’s fiancé Princess Lora. Alex finds out that he is the lost son of King Thunder and sets out to save the kingdom from Janken the Great.


Gameplay

If you played the 1986 original, then you have played this one and it still as balls-bustlingly hard as it was back then. There is absolutely nothing that has been changed in this remake other than the option to go between the new graphics of the remake and the original Sega Master System version and the option of selecting whether Alex grabs onigiri, hamburger, or fish and chips for the end of level and post level cutscene.

Alex can walk, jump, and punch his way through the various levels along with needing to platform and take down enemies and blocks that stand in your way. Alex can punch various blocks that either block the way or that have either a star, question mark, or skull design on them which yield various boons and downsides. The blocks with the star on them usually hold money that can be used at various shops to buy items and lives that make your adventure slightly easier. Blocks with question marks can either yield items that you can use to increase your attacks or defenses, money, or can yield a grim reaper that will kill you if it touches you and is not killable. The final block is the one with a skull on it and when hit will have you stunned for several seconds which can be life or death if there are enemies nearby or if you are being chased by a grim reaper.

You will need to punch enemies to get through the levels with you needing to avoiding other enemies like the flames, thunder clouds, and the whirlwinds which cannot be killed and will kill you in one hit. The general gameplay has you die in one hit and so you will want to be incredibly careful as you progress through the levels. By default, you have 3 lives per continue with unlimited retries however if you lose all 3 lives then any items and money that you acquire will be lost which can make a lot of late game content incredibly difficult to get through.

At shops you can find items such as the Ring which allows you to throw flaming punches to fly across the screen that can destroy blocks and enemies that are lined up, a Broom which will allow you to temporarily hover throughout the level avoiding the need to platform, a bubble shield that kills any enemies you run into, and several more. You can also purchase level specific vehicles such as the peddle helicopter and the motorcycle; the peddle copter is incredibly useful and can allow you to breeze through levels insanely fast especially the platform heavy levels while the motorcycle can be utterly useless, and it isn’t often clear what blocks will and or won’t be destroyed if you run into it with the bike. Each of these vehicles can be destroyed if you run into a non-destroyable object and cannot be gotten again in a level except for at the start of the specific levels.

The last part of this game that is both unique for its time and even to this day very unique is the Jan-Ken-Pon better known as Rock-Paper-Scissors, When you reach the end of certain levels you will run into one of the three generals of the main badguy who will challenge you to a best out of three game of Jan-Ken-Pon. Each of the three villians is based on Rock, Paper, and Scissors and will always gravitate to using one over the other two as their preferred. The key to beating them is looking at the fact that they will always linger for several second on their decided throw giving you enough time to select what trumps their throw with your own. Once you beat them; you will then go on to a normal boss fight which will require you to hit them several times and then collect the Onigiri to complete the level.

New additions to the game are new levels and a few new modes like “Classic Mode” and “Boss Rush Mode” that you can dive into alongside the normal game.

Graphics

The upgrade from the 1986 original to this remake are substantial to say the least. The game uses the pixelated style of River City Girls and densely detailed backgrounds and environments. Alex’s new sprite looks amazing when compared to what it used to look like and animates fluidly with his trailing scarf and all.


You can change back to the original games’ graphics with the press of a button which will also change the music back to the originals as well. In many ways there isn’t a real reason to stay in the original games visuals yet you’ll want to when you reach a certain last level swimming section which doesn’t seem to play nice with you ion the newer art style.

Audio

The audio has been bumped up substantially in the remake with remixes of the old tunes that sound awesome. It’s amazing to compare and contrast the remakes music with the originals chip tunes as you really get to see how creative the original composers were with the limitations they had especially when you hear the remakes renditions of those older scores.

Downsides

The main downside of this game isn’t the difficulty, isn’t the length, it’s the controls. Even though this game is marketed as having improved and tighter controls compared to the original; I find that to be incredibly inaccurate because the controls are just as slippery and sluggish now as they were when I played the original on the SMS. Platforming can be an absolute nightmare given how imprecise moving and jumping can feel especially if you need to make consecutive leaps of faith. Thankfully, the levels are all rather short and can be completed without too much hassle.


The other issue I have with the controls is the input lag which plagued the original game as well as there are times when I am wanting to run or attack in a certain direction only to have Alex not do so and end up costing me a life. There were so many times in my playthrough where I would press a direct and attack and it would take a full second or more before Alex would even turn let alone attack which was incredibly frustrating but was the common feel of games from that era.


The last complaint I have with this game is that it is essentially just a face lift of the original and adds very little to the overall game which I guess is fair as it’ll get modern gamers who may be put off by older style graphics to actually give this game a real chance. I do wish this game went and redid everything the from the gameplay up the way the other Wonderboy games did.


Aside from that, I have no other real complaints with this game.

The Wrapup

This is a strange one for me as on one hand I enjoyed my time with this game and how it made me nostalgic for what was essentially a game from my childhood, on the other hand, I didn’t enjoy how brutal the game was and how it made no effort to change up some things that were in desperate need of some quality of life fixes. This is a game for those curious about games of yesteryear and may not have a method of playing them otherwise as well as those who grew up with the game and want to relive their childhood years again with the game. Alex Kidd In Miracle World DX is a fun little romp and blast from the past brought to the new era with a new coat of paint except for when you aren’t fighting with the controls. If you are patient and are looking for a new game to dive into then you can’t go wrong with this game, for all others this may not be worth 20 bucks when you have better games available such as Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World, Monster Boy, and Wonder Boy and the Dragon’s Trap.

The Verdict



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