Review Information
Reviewer Name: Transatlantic Foe
Game Difficulty: Medium
Difficulty Options: False
Game Information
Full Title: Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Year Released: 1986
Game Type: Platform
Max Players: 1

Does this need one? It's probably the most famous game on the console seeing as it was packaged with the SMSII during the peak of its popularity (well, certainly in Europe). You're the cute hero with big ears and abnormally large fists who's off to defeat the evil warlord, rescue your brother, save and princess and so on.
It's a platformer with a twist. Over the course of your quest you'll get to use a bike, a speed boat and an improbably pedal-powered helicopter! You've also got power ups that can make you invincible, allow you to fly, shoot plasma arcs or throw ever-so-threatening tiny versions of yourself. Another neat touch is that you play Paper-Scissor-Stone to beat the boss characters! All this probably sounds really really awesome and in concept, it is. Unfortunately the execution is less than entertaining.

I know this game is pretty much universally loved by SMS hardcore types but I think it falls flat on its face. First and foremost it has absolutely, and I mean absolutely totally and mind-crushingly, awful collision detection. For example with the merman at the end of the first level, it's touch and go whether you punch him in the right place to kill him or you get killed yourself by touching him. Likewise the later octopuses. Plus the awesome RPG elements like the shop and the hunt for special items can't hide really lame platform level designs.

And finally I would like to say that the person who came up with the bit on the red castle, where you're underwater and there are spikes on the ceiling and floor with only a character width between them, should be taken out and shot.
Bright and colourful, often sickeningly so. But ultimately really rather good. The animation is rather limited in scope but giving everyone simple moves with only a handful of frames is far better than a range of abilities and precious few frames with which to look like you're pulling them off with.

The bosses, who have heads shaped like Paper-Scissors-Stone options, look comically bad but that's about all that's bad graphically. Well, that and you stick two fingers up when you choose scissors in a game...
Sound & Music
It fits with the cute graphics, I'll give it that. But unless you're insane or out of your skull on something you ought to be reaching for that mute button because the music is cute enough to make you hurl. It's also like an S Club pop song - brain-meltingly dreadful yet frustratingly hummable. If you play this, expect to be humming the theme tune for the next week or so. Like The Chicken Song (if you're old enough to remember that) but nowhere near as funny.
Punch/shoot and jump. It's that simple and it's really responsive. There's not much more to say. You can speed up or slow down your bike/speedboat easily and float your strange helicopter with consumate ease. I mentioned the collision detection earlier but it's worth repeating here. Nothing is more annoying than thinking you've made a jump only to lose your bike... and for what? I also challenge anyone to get the cash bags which are placed immediately below a block when you're in a helicopter.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
It's a moderately challenging game if you can be bothered to stick with it. There's enough frustration due to the collision detection to get you reaching for the off switch and another cart, but if you get around this it's actually a decent challenge. The fixed Paper-Scissors-Stone combinations is a bit lame, but then it'd be a bit lame to lose a life purely on a game of chance.
There are a ton of really neat ideas in this game but the execution is oh-so-poor that it beggars belief. That underwater section with the spikes in the red castle is enough to make anyone turn the game off in outrage, and that's if you aren't annoyed enough by the collision detection in the process. It's a massive, massive shame because the cash system with shops, the bikes/choppers/boats, Paper-Scissors-Stone and range of locations should lead to the best game ever invented. And though many SMS fans will tell you did, it has so many areas where it falls short.

Mind, if you have a Master System II then you've probably got this so you may as well play it a bit. If you've got Sonic on it, then you can count yourself lucky because you probably have to be a bit wrong in the head to get past this game's flaws.
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