After thirty years, we return to the World of Miracles to accompany the brave Alex Kidd on his adventure in this review by Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is perhaps one of the best known games played by gamers who grew up in the 80s and 90s. The reason for this is simple and it can be summed up in two words: Tec Toy! The company aggressively marketed Sega during the lifetime of the Master System and Mega Drive here in Brazil with animated TV commercials, programs on SBT and reprogramming games to include famous national pop culture characters like the Monica's Gang, Chapoline and TV Colossus.
Tec Toy even made games that are exclusive to the Brazilian audience that are not conversions from other titles, such as the Pica Pau game, Street Fighter II for the Master System and a Sonic Chaos conversion, which came out only for the Game Gear, for Sega's 8-Bit console. These are games that were not released in any other country and have absurd values on Ebay among collectors since there was no worldwide release.
Without a doubt, the company's action made the Master System's popularity explode here, leaving it as one of the most played consoles in Brazil, until it was overtaken by the PlayStation 2 and the easy access to pirated games that the console had. But before you could buy a bunch of game DVDs that might or might not work (it depended on luck), gamers had to either rent video game tapes from video stores or settle for games from the console's memory. And that's where the Master System shined.
Master System II with Alex Kidd in Memory
That was the main advertisement for the console. While the first version of the Master System came with games like Safari Hunt and Hang On and the Light Phaser Pistol, the second model chose to put in the console's memory the game Alex Kidd in Miracle World, the first game from Sega's mascot released in 1986 The game was a response to Super Mario, Nintendo's mascot, and featured an action platform game with new elements such as the Sukokako motorcycle, the Peticopter and the boss battle based on the popular game of Stone, Paper or Scissors (or Jankenpô ).
Originally intended to be an adaptation of the Dragon Ball anime, Alex Kidd in Miracle World was what many Brazilian players had to play throughout the week until they could go to the video store and choose another game to play over the weekend. Of course, that was no problem, it took several hours of gameplay to discover all the game's secrets until you managed to reach the end. You had platform sections that required precise jumps, surprises hidden in boxes, and even an item that was a much more complicated puzzle than what it was supposed to be.
Of course today, as an adult everything the game offers seems simple compared to modern games, but the new version of the game, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX tries to rescue that feeling of nostalgia when playing a game from the 8-bit era of his childhood and offer new gamers a good platform game with 2D graphics. So let's see what Merge Studios managed to deliver to us.
Back to the world of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a remake of the original Alex Kidd in Miracle World, released in June 2021 for PC com Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The game was produced by Merge Games and Jankenteam under license from Sega.
Alex Kidd DX started by developing a non-commercial fan remake in 2018, when indie developers José Sanz (“Josyanf1”) and Hector Toro (“Narehop”) showed the first footage of their work. The two eventually formed Jankenteam and got the green light from Sega to turn the remake into an official commercial product, announcing the game with a reveal trailer in June 2020 during IGN's Summer of Gaming event.
The game's story is the same as the classic one, but this time there are several new elements that help tell that story. In between the levels, you'll find petrified NPCs that you can talk to and they'll give you clues about the plot.
At Planet Aries, a young man with big ears trains to master the martial art called Shellcore, which allows its practitioners to increase the mass of their fists to perform incredible feats, such as breaking huge rocks. However, something is wrong in Radaxian's realm. The army of Janken the Great invaded the city and turned its inhabitants to stone, invaded the castle and imprisoned Prince Egul and Princess Lora. The king is missing and only one person can solve this problem now.
As the levels go by you'll find NPC petrified who will give you a few lines of dialogue about what's going on, trying to add an element of mystery to what happened in that place. You'll have a few dialogues with characters you've met before, like master Nurari or Egul, as well as some new ones with bosses Parplim, Gooseka and Chokkina, who have gained a little more personality.
It was normal, at the time of the original release, the story was mainly presented in the game's instruction manuals, so it was normal to not quite understand who was who and what was going on in the game. For example, Lora, the princess you rescue at the end of the game, is neither Alex's mother or girlfriend, but rather the fiancée of his brother, Egul, who starred in the game Pit Pot, released in arcades in 1985. Here you get a better understanding of the plot that isn't as elaborate as a current game, but it's still there to provide a backdrop for the adventure.
Minimum and Recommended Requirements
As a 2D platform game, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is absurdly light and runs on virtually any computer, allowing for a fluid experience with no dropped frames. The game doesn't even have recommended requirements. Despite that, the game is very beautiful and colorful, so if you are looking for a good game, light and fun, this is an excellent alternative:
|Operational system:||Windows 7 or higher|
|Processor:||1.80GHz or higher|
|RAM memory:||4 GB of RAM|
|Video card:||Intel HD Graphics 4000-5000 series (game in 720p)|
A great remake to a great classic
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a simple action-adventure platformer. Alex has three moves which basically consist of moving, jumping and punching. In the old game, the controls seem steadier and firmer, while in this game, Alex has a weird habit of falling right on top of enemies if they're close. In other words, if you're going to jump, make sure there's no one around.
With about 20 levels, very short and with beautiful multicolored layouts, they are simple and smooth scrolling, with basic obstacles, underwater adventures, dungeons with single-screen puzzles and even a small dose of target shooting action. side scroll. If you know the old game, you'll see the levels you already know with a beautiful cover of renewed graphics and a neat pixel art.
The new stages fit well into the levels and give the narrative a feeling of continuity with more fluidity. You don't leave a forest anymore, for example, and fall straight into a volcanic cave. Now there's a level between them that makes everything more organic in the transition from one setting to another.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX crosses that line between the modern and the ancient just by touching up the art and music, but without leaving aside the essence of what made the game a classic. With the push of a button, the game is presented with the original look, with its pixel art authentically recreated, but keeping the art style beautifully reworked and improved. Certain details of the characters that were not noticeable before are now visible and easily recognizable.
(When I was a kid playing Alex Kidd in Miracle World, the “little ghost” that came out of boxes with the '?' sign looked much more like a seal than a hooded ghost holding a cane)
A few levels have been added to enrich Alex Kidd's story, but they are extremely faithful to the limitations and design of the Master System classic. New art is arguably the most valuable addition to this remake, with charm, polish and care put into every asset. The new Alex Kidd is beautiful to look at, especially when compared to the crude 8-bit version. If you're a more purist fan of the franchise, maybe you get the impression that he's become very “Americanized”, looking like cartoons like Ben 10 or Steven Universe. It's not a problem, but you might miss that oriental feel of the original game.
The bosses got a little more personality and the fights were also modified, to give a little variety. So, it's quite possible that you'll be caught off guard by bosses if you keep hoping they'll attack you just like in the Master System game. Despite the complaint from foreign reviews saying that the battles in Jakenpô are random and unpredictable, the truth is that nothing has changed from the original version to here:
Gooseka– Stone, Scissors;
Chokkaina– Scissors, Paper;
parplim – Stone, Scissors.;
Gooseka 2nd meeting – Paper, Paper;
Chokkin 2nd meeting – Stone, Stone;
Parplim 2nd meeting – Stone, scissors;
Janken – Paper, Paper;
Even the Telepathic Stone, which you find on Mount Kave, is easier to get in this version than the old one by Alex Kidd in Miracle World. You can easily predict your opponents' thoughts, as they choose what they will definitely show just before the music changes key (you know the part that plays a “ta-nan-ta ta-ram-ta” before the screen switches to the words “Jan Ken Po”?) giving you enough time to choose what you will show if you have the Telepath Stone in your inventory.
Another complaint of the gringo reviews is the supposed randomness of the question boxes, and again, they still follow the same order as in the Master System era, being Bracelet do Poder, Phantom and Vida Extra, always in the same order. If you broke a box and a Phantom came out, the next one will be 100% Extra Life for sure. So, it is possible to use this to your advantage and control the chances of reaching the end successfully.
In addition to the items you can get from the boxes, you can still collect money and buy other items that helped you on your journey, such as a shield, invincibility, the Float Staff and item that creates a lot of 'mini-Alexes' that attack the enemies.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World's songs have been fantastically remastered with the same familiarity and attention that went into updating the graphics. When switching between the two styles, I could hear the classic chiptunes become full and robust arrangements, but with the same identity as the songs that was not lost (it's interesting to even see how classical music gained a sad and gloomy air in one of the stages of game). Alex Kidd in Miracle World had some truly fantastic tracks on their soundtrack and this is held with the utmost respect with the DX remake.
Some later levels – like Janken Castle in particular – have themes that go head-to-head with big names like Mario, Zelda, Mega Man and Castlevania. Merge Games and Jankenteam understand what made Alex Kidd stand out on the Master System and that shows the consideration given to the presentation of this remake. Despite this attention, the songs, for some unknown reason, were changed, such as the Radaxian Castle song. Maybe it's because it was used twice and they created a brand new song to not have to repeat it in two scenarios.
Onigiri, Burger, Spanish Omelet or Fish and Chips?
In addition to the remastered game, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX includes some new features such as Classic Mode, which tries to faithfully recreate the Master System game, but even in this mode we noticed some changes, both in physics, which is still a little more similar with the remake than with the original. The Merge and Jankenteam team essentially had to rebuild the game through replication and emulation, not having access to the original game design documents or source code.
However, it is a mode that adds little to the game's replay, because, since the remastered game does not innovate in gameplay or level design of the stages, on the contrary, it only removes the few new levels that were included, being more interesting if you want to revisit the old game looking for an emulator and a rom that you can easily find on the internet.
The boss rush mode also adds little to the game, being more interesting if you want to play around in the game's Jankenpô disputes. Here the battles are really random and there is no way to predict what opponents will place. It might add a little more excitement to Alex Kidd's so-many Rock, Paper and Scissors games, but it's not really innovative or unmissable.
If you want a little more challenge, what will consume you a few hours of game is just hunting the collectibles that are scattered throughout the stages. You'll find items that are part of Alex Kidd and Sega's history, such as the covers of the Japanese and American versions of the game, a golden ring, a Master System console and some things a little more obscure from the character's history, like the Hammer of Egul, which he used in Pit Pot.
Discovering all these secrets will earn you a trophy, as well as talking to all the in-game NPC will also give you an achievement, but it's not something that complicated to get. If you're looking for an easy platinum game to earn some trophy points on your favorite platform, this Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a good way to get some easy dots.
Speaking of easy, the game is not that difficult. It's no harder than the original game. Perhaps there is, as I said above, a problem of magnetic attraction to enemies that are close to you if you try to jump close to them. If you try to jump between two enemies, for example, even though there's clearly a space between them for you, make no mistake. You will die. If you are trying to jump from a higher platform to a lower one and there is an enemy below, Alex will be magnetically drawn to him and you will die.
Some jumps even seem like they're easier to do if you switch to classic mode. There's no real explanation for this, but if you've played the game on the Master System, you'll get that feeling a lot of times.
As dying turns out to be very easy at these times, the game even includes an infinite lives mode that makes it more similar to current platform games. Although, even in limited lives mode, the game doesn't force you to restart from the first stage. And if you lose all your lives, you restart the last phase you played but lose all the accumulated money and items you have taken along the way, such as the Telepathic Stone.
A cosmetic but fun addition is the ability to choose which food Alex will eat at the end of each level. It can be an Onigiri (the traditional Japanese rice ball), a Hamburger (which was added in the North American version), a Spanish Omelet and a Fish and Chips cone. I don't know where those last two came from, but they're there in case you want to give Alex something different to eat.
After all, is it Good or not?
I'm suspicious of giving this verdict, after all, Alex Kidd in Miracle World was the first game I managed to finish and, as stated above, it was what I had to play all week until I could rent a cartridge on the weekend. So, is it hard to say he's good or not? To me he is excellent. It is one of the games that I have a huge affective memory and it is very difficult to criticize it with this veil of nostalgia over my eyes. Now, if we're going to make an effort to do that, then the verdict would be a yes for older gamers and a no for younger gamers.
There is a huge effort here to bring back the nostalgia of players from the Master System era to the DX version and, if that's the goal, then absolute success for the team at Merge and Jankenteam. However, the question remains: And what will come next? The ending of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX suggests that the next step, if it happens, will be the remastering of Alex Kidd in Enchanted Castle.
Which wouldn't be bad, after all the Mega Drive game is the only one that is a direct sequel to Miracle World and uses the same mechanics. However, it is not one of Alex Kidd's fans favorite games, mainly because of the gameplay. In it, to attack flying enemies you jump and, in a very precise timing, release the jump button so that Alex will attack with a kick, but it was very easy to miss that kick and die.
I dare say that, perhaps, the fan favorite, after Miracle World, is Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, but he is a parody of the game Shinobi and doesn't seem to add much to the mascot to make the remake of this parody. Alex Kidd in the Lost Stars is an adaptation of an arcade game that only had the function of eating players' tokens, so it wouldn't be worth the conversion either. Alex kidd in High Tech World also seems out of the question, after all, he's also just converting the game from Anmitsu Hime: From Amakara Castle for Western audiences.
So, the simplest solution is to remaster the Mega Drive game or, if it's feasible for Sega and interesting for Jankenteam, to create a completely new Alex Kidd game, incorporating the elements of those games. It would be a platform game, and at one point he has ninja powers, at others he's BMX, at another he'll have to answer a test. Take a little bit of everything and put it in a game that will bring an innovation to the franchise for gamers and still please fans who played these games during their childhood.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is sure to delight anyone who played the original game on the Sega Master System decades ago. Sega's mid-80s mascot may never have caught up to the pop culture phenomenon Maria found herself in, but Alex Kidd has left an indelible impression on all who have experienced it.
However, I don't see how anyone who hasn't played the franchise in the past or is used to modern platform games will find anything cool here. The game looks like the original game, for better or for worse. If you really love Alex Kidd in Miracle World, there's a good chance you'll love the Merge Games remake.
If you didn't like it the first time, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX has nothing that will change your mindset and can reinforce your opinion. If you've never played Alex Kidd in Miracle World before then this will be a good game for you to get to know the franchise and enjoy for a few hours, but there's nothing here that really stands out from current platform games like Kaze and the Wild Masks or The Legend of the Hero. Boss Rush and Classic modes are available after you finish the game, but offer very little content or added value.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX by Merge Games and Jankenteam is a highly marketable niche product. It's very likely that in countries where the Master System reigned during the 80s/90s, like Brazil and Europe, this game will be hugely successful, but for the rest of the world, including Japan, there just isn't enough here to bring Alex Kidd back to the modern era.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX
Producer: Merge Studios and Jankenteam
Distributor: Merge Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
- 2D graphics with beautiful large and detailed sprites;
- Faithful recreation of the original and rescue of a classic with all its nostalgic force;
- Perfect update of songs and stages;
- Excellent upgrade in story and characters;
- Very short and with little news;
- The difficulty is more in gameplay than in the game;
- Unattractive to new players or those unfamiliar with the franchise;
Now say in the comments: What did you think of Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX? Are you in the nostalgic group and loved the game? Not known the character? Take the opportunity to read more about all the history and games of Alex Kidd on our website.