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Title: Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Rom Player: Dega
Reviewer: R. Brown

Synopsis: In 1986, the Sega Master System II was born, and in an effort to compete with Nintendo's increasingly popular Super Mario Brothers, so too was a young Prince named Alex Kidd. The first (and best) title of the series, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, never quite reached the heights of Mario, or even Sega's later creation Sonic, but for the following reasons, I still consider it to be one of the best platform titles ever released:

1. The game was built in to the console. A free game - what's not to like?

2. Alex's nemesis, Janken the Great, and his henchmen only had one thing going for them: They were really good at "Rock, Paper, Scissors". In fact, most of his henchmen actually weren't even that good. Ok, so it hardly leaves you quaking in your boots, but frankly, no video game has ever quite been able to affect a truly daunting nemesis anyway, and Janken and his posse are good fun. For his part, Janken has fangs, a horn on his forehead, a mask, and wore what I could only conclude to be a pinafore with a big "J" on it. I like a bit of unique style in my arch villain. Sonic's Robotnik was just a fat, balding man who probably spent the greater part of his free time playing D&D, but I always got the impression that Janken was a bit of a party boy. I know which one I'd spend my Saturday night with, anyway.

3. Where Mario and Sonic were just running around, Alex liked to mix it up a bit. There were helicopter levels, motorbike levels, and swimming levels thrown in to the standard platform fare to diversify things. In a time when many game makers could've easily just released one of those levels as a whole game, Alex Kidd stood out as a bit of an epic.

4. The game actually promoted some pretty unwholesome activities for kids. Alex was only a child himself, but all he ate was hamburgers, he had violent conflicts with all manner of animals, he took pills to give him special "powers", he rode a motorbike, and he smashed everything in his way. As a five year old, I thought Alex was pretty darn cool (But then, as a five year old, I also had a bit of a crush on the Cookie Monster).

I suppose the reason that Alex Kidd in Miracle World isn't generally considered to be a definitive video game these days is that, unlike Mario and Sonic, it never had much success as a series. High-Tech World had its moments, and Shinobi World at least had some fast-wearing crossover novelty, but the Enchanted Castle and Lost Stars lacked the fun of Miracle World and none of them ever took off in a serious way.

Perhaps it's for the best - I'd hate to see Alex Kidd re-released as some sort of free-roaming 3D rubbish - but it's a bit of a shame that the legacy doesn't live on for kids today. If you've still got an old Master System II floating around, find a kid and let them play it for a while. If nothing else, it'll keep them off the streets but at best, they'll say, "Wow! This game is whack!" And you can say, "No son, it's 'gnarly'... Now go home and play Pokemon, or whatever crap you kids are into these days. This is my childhood classic."

Best Cheats: There are cheats, but it will ruin the experience. I clocked this game as a five year old. I think you'll manage.

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 10
Originality: 10
Overall Rating: 10

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