UPDATE: This wasn’t supposed to be uploaded today, it was meant to be uploaded next week, so click here for Part 1.
Welcome back to the Alex Kidd retrospective. Well, no need for introductions, here’s our next game:
Alex Kidd BMX Trial (アレックスキッドBMXトライアル), developed and published by Sega and was released in 1987 in Japan only. Yep, it seems that this was the first game in the Alex Kidd series that was never released outside Japan. But I think there’s a good reason why.
We have a racing game where you play as Alex Kidd on a bike and race through multiple courses. Exits are in the form of monster mouths…just go with it. In terms of controls…well this is where I have to talk about the Paddle Controller. This was a Japan-only controller for the Sega Mark III, the Japanese Sega Master System which was only used for a few games, these include Galactic Protector, Megumi Rescue, OutRun, Super Racing and Woody Pop: Shinjinrui no Block Kuzugi. And this game was one of those games that required this controller.
Since this game was never released outside of Japan, I had to emulate it, but the problem was, I don’t have the paddle controller so I had to use the Xbox 360 controller and it controls tolerable. Oh well, it’s a decent game but challenging one nonetheless. It’s not getting an in-depth review because I didn’t experience it properly but I’m glad that I at least tried it out. On the bright side, this mascot was in a driving game years before Mario.
Next up is the game I grew up with, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (アレックスキッド 天空魔城 Arekkusu Kiddo Tenkū Majō), developed and published by Sega and was released in 1989 in Japan and in the US, then in 1990 in Europe.
Alex Kidd currently lives in Planet Aries. Continuing on from Miracle World, Alex discovers that his father, King Thor, is living on the planet Paperock. So Alex travels to said planet in search of him. Simple story but good enough, but after three games, we finally have a true sequel to Miracle World, the first game in the series.
So the game is very similar to Miracle World in many ways but the level design is much more linear, Heck, the final level is similar in length to the long and puzzling level in Miracle World. You can still run, jump and punch but you can now punch and kick. You can collect special items…though in order to get them, you have to play a game of rock, paper, scissors. In fact, to beat bosses, you must play rock, paper, scissors. Is this a good or bad way of battling bosses. If you play it on an emulator, no biggie. But play it without like me and it’s frustratingly annoying, though I lost a few times so…I may be lucky?
Controls are still a bit slippery but not as horrid as Miracle World. The music is highly memorable though it’s something I won’t listen to outside of the gameplay experience.
Overall…oh dear, it seems a lot of critics hated this game, but what do I think of it? Surprisingly, it’s my favourite game in the series so far…it’s still not a great game but compared to the other games I’ve played, it’s at least tolerable to me. I guess it’s because of nostalgia since I did play this game as a child via a Plug and Play Sega Mega Drive so that’s probably why I’m near forgiving of it. But I feel that the rock, paper, scissors approach for bosses and the annoying final level lets it down.
Oh well, at least you can play it on tons of consoles, like the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable via Sega Mega Drive Collection, Wii’s Virtual Console, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 via Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, PC via Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection and Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection: Gold Edition and Steam either on it’s own or as part of Sega Genesis Classics Pack 2.
Oh, by the way, in the English version of this game, if you or an opponent lose a rock, paper, scissors battle, you get squashed by a weight, but in the Japanese version, you or your opponent lose your clothes, leaving you with a fig leaf to cover your bits. I can understand why it was removed but come on, it was funny.
And finally we have Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, developed and published by Sega and was released in 1990 in the US and Europe.
Alex’s girl is kidnapped and a god turns you into a ninja for some reason. You know what to do.
So this game is a parody of Shinobi but still does a decent job at it. You can use a sword to cut through enemies, find chests to get health, or different power-ups to help you get rid of multiple enemies. You can even get throwing knifes and a powered-up sword as a one level upgrade from your sword.
The graphics are great with it’s cartoony affair and the level design is quite detailed for the Master System but still gives you the feeling of a parody considering it’s a Shinobi game with Alex Kidd as the main character. But the music is fantastic, one of my favourite soundtracks for a Master System game.
Overall, the game is tough but pretty good and is considered to be the best game in the Alex Kidd series, and I can agree, it’s a good game and a nice swansong to the Alex Kidd series. And if you’re a fan of Shinobi, you’ll like it too.
You can get it on the Sega Master System and on Virtual Console.
So that’s Alex Kidd, and after playing all his games in the series…I don’t care for the bugger. I’m sorry to those who want him to return but…what could you actually do with this character? I know there’s the rock, paper, scissors battles but those are random and annoying, his lore isn’t that interesting. So Alex Kidd will be remembered for warming the seat for Sonic the Hedgehog.
Alex Kidd has made cameos, including another Sega Master System game, Kenseiden. His name was on a grave in Altered Beast (what an unfortunate metaphor), he made an appearance in the Japanese-only Dreamcast game Segagaga (For the love of God, someone please translate it), and was a toy in Shenmue. However, he was eventually a playable character in Sega Superstars Tennis, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and was a summon attack in Project X Zone 2. Heck, he even made an appearance in anime, Sega Hard Girls (which I really need to watch) so at least he’s getting a bit of work.
Welp, that’s it then…see you next week for The Second Zelda Month.
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