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Page 1:
Introduction
Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars
Alex Kidd: High Tech World/Anmitsu Hime

Page 2:
Alex Kidd BMX Trial
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

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Alex Kidd BMX Trial (BMXトライアル アレックスキッド) - Mark III (1987)

Japanese Mark III Cover

Released between Miracle World and the Master System version of The Lost Stars, Alex Kidd BMX Trial is the only title in the series to remain exclusively in Japan, probably because it requires the Master System's analog paddle controller, which was not released in other territories.

Alex Kidd shifts genres once again, with this one being a bike racing game. However, it is rather unusual, since there's no ranking and the only time limit involves reaching the end within 24 ingame hours. The goal of each race is simply to find the exit. Though the screen scrolls vertically, each stage is several screens wide, and loops continuously until you've found a tunnel to the next area. Most levels have several exits, each of which will take you to a different level from the others.

There are five stages in total, and the ultimate goal is to make it to Radaxian Castle. If you know what you're doing, you can accomplish this in a couple of minutes. Until you memorize the proper path, you'll probably just end up biking in circles.

The stages are filled with rocks, trees, cactuses, and other obstacles that will cause Alex to fall off his bike and lose a little bit of life. The exception is one level that takes place atop the ocean waves, where you ride on some kind of flotation device and need to avoid whirlpools.

There are several opponents in the race, but they only exist to knock Alex out of the way. Unfortunately they are quite aggressive, and there's no direct way to fight back against them. When you run out of health you lose the game. Scattered throughout the stages are wheelie ramps, which will grant Alex invincibility for about a second as he pops a wheelie, and jump ramps, allowing Alex to leap briefly into the sky. Power-ups include onigiri to restore health, clocks to reset the timer, and jet packs that allow you to fly.

Alex looks the same as he did in Miracle World, though the enemies – including tigers and kappa imps – are all new. The background details are amusing, like the colorful faces on the trees, and the goofy looking exits. Finding a physical copy of the game and the controller is expensive, while playing the game on emulators, either using an analog controller or a mouse, makes it very difficult to control.

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Alex Kidd BMX Trial

Alex Kidd BMX Trial

Alex Kidd BMX Trial


Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle / Alex Kidd Tenkuu Majou (アレックスキッド 天空魔城) - Genesis, PlayStation 2, PSP, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (1989)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

After so many departures, Alex's first (and only) Genesis outing goes back to its roots, with gameplay similar to Miracle World. The graphics are more colorful, although since this was a launch title for the Genesis it's still not too impressive.

Alex's father Thor has been found alive on the planet of Paperrock, so Alex attempts to save him from the evil Ashra. There are only 11 levels, compared to the 17 in Miracle World, but most of them are a bit more expansive, allowing you to find alternate routes in the sky, or in hidden underground areas. The types of levels are similar to the original game, although there are now a few Egyptian influenced stages. Most of the items and vehicles are the same, although there is a new pogo stick.

Unlike the original, which required that you use most items as soon as you bought them, you can now access an inventory screen to use them whenever you want. Also, when you hit blocks hovering in midair, it won't destroy them, but instead send them flying across the screen squashing anything in their path. If the blocks are next to a solid wall, they'll break like normal.

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle

Most of these improvements are for the better, but there have been some questionable changes. You can't just walk into stores and buy things anymore, you need to play rock-paper-scissors with the shopkeepers to get anything, in addition to paying money. Again, you can't see the other character's moves unless you have a special item, which proves most annoying when your life depends on it.

The controls are also even more slippery than they were in Miracle World. Not only are Alex's punches rather slow, but you can't punch in mid-air. Rather, you'll automatically jump kick after reaching the apex of your jump, and you need to position him so his foot makes contact with the enemy. Trying to hit anything like this without inadvertently getting killed is extremely frustrating. It's a shame, because Enchanted Castle comes up the poorer game compared to Miracle World.

There's some censorship between regions. At the end of a rock-paper-scissors battle in the English release, a large weight falls on the loser's head. In the Japanese version, the loser is stripped of their clothes, with, in Alex's case, a tiny elephant covering his naughty bits.

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Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle


Comparison Screenshots


Alex Kidd in Shinobi World - Master System (1990)

American SMS Cover

For Alex's last adventure, Sega tossed him back to the 8-bit Master System and decided to fuse him with one of their other franchises – Shinobi. This game was only released in North America and PAL territories (with the former being quite rare) and was never released in Japan. In an opening that seems suspiciously reminiscent of Sega's Dynamite Dux, Alex's girlfriend is kidnapped by a demon named Hanzo, and Alex himself is turned into a ninja by a deity known as the White Ninja, in order to go save her.

Several of the stages are reminiscent of levels from Shinobi, and the bosses take vague inspiration from them too. Even the main theme music is derived from Shinobi, just played at a faster tempo. However, some aspects from the Alex Kidd games remain, like the destructible blocks, the slippery controls and the swimming stages.

Even though it draws from both franchises, it's very much its own game. Alex attacks with a sword, which can be strengthened with a certain power-up. You can also find ninja throwing knives to attack foes at a distance, in addition to ninja magic to turn temporarily into a whirlwind. You can climb up ropes, bounce off walls Ninja Gaiden-style, or grapple onto pipes and spin until you become a fireball, flinging yourself at foes.

This is also the only game in the series where you have a life meter. You can take three hits, but there are numerous health restoration items, so it's not too difficult. You only get a single continue, but there are only eight brief stages (plus four boss battles) so it's a pretty short game.

What's interesting is that this was not always intended to be an Alex Kidd title. A few magazines revealed an early version of the game titled Shinobi Kid, starring some generic boy instead of Alex. It also reveals, amusingly, that the first boss was meant to be named "Mari-Oh", to make fun of Nintendo's famous mascot (he resembles the first boss of Shinobi, who is named "Ken-Oh").

Even though the sprite was slightly redrawn for the released game, it's easy to see the resemblance – he shoots fireballs that bounce like they do in Super Mario Bros., and once you deplete his life meter he shrinks and continues to attack. Pretty clever. The image below is from a preview featured in a 1989 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly.

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Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World



Cameos

Segagaga is a brilliant Japanese Dreamcast game where you get to take control of Sega to help it win the video game war (naturally, this was before they bowed out of the console race back in 2001). At one point, you run into Alex Kidd. When you meet him, he details the tragic story of his fall from grace – at first, he was strong competition for Nintendo and Mario (both names bleeped out), but was later forgotten in favor of Sonic the Hedgehog. Instead of starring in video games, he's now forced to work retail at one of Sega's shops. He gives the player character an inspirational speech about moving forward. He also laments that he's 38 years old and still looks like a kid. A very sad, but hilariously tongue-in-cheek look at Alex Kidd.

Sega Superstars Tennis, released in 2008 for a variety of platforms, contains a number of famous Sega characters, including Sonic and Shadows the Hedgehogs, Ulala and Pudding from Space Channel 5, Beat and Gum from Jet Set Radio, Amigo from Samba de Amigo, and a bunch of other cameos. Sega was actually cool enough to stick Alex Kidd in there, complete with his own stage. Unfortunately, his character model looks devastatingly awful, and his presence just seems kinda embarassing in both games. Similarly, Alex Kidd is also featured in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing in 2010, also released for many platforms. Here, he rides his Sukopako Motorcycle from Miracle World. His character model is much better than in Sega Superstars Tennis, at least. One of his voice clips even announces "I found the miracle ball!", a reference back to the voice clip from The Lost Stars.

Segagaga


Alex Kidd Complete Album - Soundtrack (2009)

In 2009, Wavemaster published a 2 CD compilation filled with music from the Alex Kidd series. It includes the full soundtracks to all of the Alex Kidd games, including Alex Kidd in High Tech World and Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, neither of which were technically released in Japan. It also includes three versions of the Lost Stars soundtrack - the FM and PSG versions of the Master System release, and the original arcade version. There's also an image song with lyrics, a goofy anime-style theme to the melody of the Miracle World theme song, performed by Sega composer Takenobu Mitsuyoshi. As a bonus, it also includes the entire soundtrack to Fushigi no Oshiro Pit-Pot, which was also composed by Tokuhiko Uwabo, and sounds similar to Alex Kidd music, though there are only a few tracks in total. The cover art includes Alex, of course, along with Stella (from The Lost Stars) and Princess Lora from Miracle World, as well as Sega-san, an original character from a four-panel gag manga P.S. Surii-san, which is drawn by the album cover's illustrator Ikao Haneda. She seems to appear on the cover because she also shares Alex Kidd's affection for onigiri. The manga is about moe personifcations of various video game companies and consoles - other characters include Three-san (PlayStation 3), Wii-San, Famicom-obasama, Dreamcas-san, and even 32X-senpai. More info at the VGMDB.

Soundtrack Cover


While not the most illustrious game series, Alex Kidd was featured in his share of enjoyable titles. At one point, Alex Kidd was going to be resurrected as part of the Sega Ages line for the PlayStation 2, but those plans fell through the floor.

Thanks to Guru Larry for the heads-up about Shinobi Kid, and Johnny2x4 for the info on the Alex Kidd Complete Album artist.

Shinobi World


Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars
Alex Kidd: High Tech World/Anmitsu Hime

Page 2:
Alex Kidd BMX Trial
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World

Back to the Index