Sega had many obscure mascots over the years and Alex Kidd is one of their earliest so let's revisit his first adventure in a new remake.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is an odd game. It was originally released back in 1986 which was 1 year after Super Mario Bros. debuted and it clearly borrowed elements from Nintendo's timeless classic. Aside from running around and jumping, Alex has to punch his enemies as well as blocks in order to clear any out of the way while revealing items and sacks of coins. One aspect about Super Mario Bros. that makes it a blast to play even nowadays is that Mario has momentum to him as you hold a button down to run and leap around the stages. However, Alex Kidd has much stiffer controls and an incredibly unforgiving hitbox which means that even being in the vicinity of an enemy can spell your demise. This incredibly frustrating aspect is compounded by the fact that Alex's punch has such a short range so when you try to hit enemies, you have to be perfectly precise or else they'll get the best of you. With all of that being said, how's the remake?
Unfortunately, just like Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (which is a very good game), Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is simply a reskinned version of the original. I say "unfortunately" because I don't find that Alex Kidd in Miracle World has aged well. Also, one curious thing is that Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is marketed as having better controls but it doesn't. In fact, I often swapped to the original game (which you can do by the tap of a button) in order to progress past the trickier parts because I found the modern version to have more ambiguous visuals at parts such as ceilings that you can hit your head on yet barely see. On the plus side, the music and modernized artwork is cheerful, appealing, and lively which is a treat. There are apparently more levels this time around, too, but upon completing the game, I'm not sure if I played them or not as everything was as I remembered it from the good old Master System days.
I may sound bummed about Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX but there is some fun to be had with it. For starters, if you're a hardcore fan of the original then you'll be happy that everything remains intact. One aspect that I enjoyed are the non-linear levels where you have to do a bit of exploring in order to progress and the vehicles are pretty cute and fun to control as well, especially the segments that test how far you can survive in order to make the stage ahead easier. Plus, the amount of secrets to discover throughout the campaign is nifty and can be rewarding although being able to completely master everything will almost certainly require a walkthrough.
On the downside, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX has kept the super-annoying rock paper scissors matches which make you lose a life whenever you fail. The thing is; these matches aren't random and you can win each one by simply using a guide. In other words, you're basically punished for not cheating. I wish these parts were swapped with a skill-testing mini-game because they're just not fun.
With all of that being said, running, jumping, and punching your way through Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is enjoyable at times, especially once you become accustomed to its clunky controls and start to master tricky areas with ease. I mean; it's a retro 2D platformer so of course there's some fun to be had! Sure, you'll inevitably become frustrated at an absurdly annoying jump every now and then or wonder how the heck anyone is supposed to swim between rows of spikes (it's easier than you'd think) but overall, you'll likely still have some fun times. The question is; will it be enough fun? Well, that all depends on your fondness for the genre and how patient you are.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a faithful recreation of a classic Master System game. With that in mind, I would have much preferred an unfaithful recreation because Alex Kidd in Miracle World isn't exactly a shining example of an old-school 2D platformer.
- + Fans will appreciate that it faithfully retains everything from the original game
- + New graphics generally look great
- + Lots of fun secrets to discover
- - Could have improved on the original formula because it hasn't aged all that well
- - Some visuals can be ambiguous
- - Far too many irritating moments