Alex Kidd in Miracle World

There’s not a lot of games I hate and love simultaneously as much as I do Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Back when I got my Master System 2 you could leave out a cartridge and play the inbuilt Alex Kidd game. It was a bargain and a torture rolled into one.

Try Telling that to a Young Child

Nowadays I have some patience. As a young child I really didn’t. Alex Kidd demanded a level of skill that these days most gamers would just weep at. Obviously those who play Dark Souls are excluded from the cryfest.

The controls were basic enough, and the maps looked simple but it was a world filled (and boy do I mean filled) with instadeaths. Touch a creature and you die, fall into a swamp and you die, lose at Rock, Paper, Scissors and you die – yes really!

Alex Kidd screenshot of a dragon flying towards Alex
This is one of the first screens in the game. I died here a lot.

The problem was the lag. Something that modern gamers think they have to put up with but don’t. For some reason it always seemed that Alex Kidd’s reaction time was less than my own. Throw a punch and a dragon will touch you before it lands. Throw it earlier and you’ll miss. The timing took me forever to master. And yet for some reason I found the whole game so endearing that I did stick with it. I drove myself mad listening to that same music over and over. My Dad will still cringe to this day if I hum it!

No Saves for you!

Obviously we didn’t have save capabilities back then. This inevitably meant a long slog through a game before you were told you’d been playing too long and had to go get some outside time. Of course when you returned the console was off. Or had crashed. Gotta love technology.

Saves weren’t even desired in some games. Once you had played through fifty times you could easily clear a Sonic game in one sitting. Alex Kidd had such a steep learning curve however that getting to the end seemed impossible.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World map
The lengthy map that seemed to never end…
Vehicles – Your New Best Friend

Once I’d figured out that merely getting through each level alive wasn’t going to cut it something clicked. By methodically clearing as many monsters as possible you could get as much loot as possible. This allowed you to go on a spending spree. The power ring would shoot at enemies removing that awful punch plus everything is easier when you have a pedicopter (a mini helicopter that poor old Alex had to pedal) or a motorbike.

Alex Kidd screenshot showing a pedicopter
One pedicopter!
Janken Matches aka My Worst Enemy

The bosses in Alex Kidd took on a strange form. For starters their heads were shaped like fists in various forms. Secondly their battle of choice was Rock, Paper, Scissors aka a “Janken” match. Some of the rounds were the same every time. It was this game that first made me take notes. Write down the answers that are unchanging and you’re halfway there. Unfortunately later in the game they all got a bit random. Once again it turned out money was the answer as a globe you could purchase would allow you to read their minds. Some crafty wits and speedy fingers were all it took in the end.

Not all Stories have a Happy Ending

One brilliant day I got to the end. Like literally the last room. I don’t know how I did it but I did. I was on the final puzzle on my final life and I messed up. Again in Alex Kidd breathe wrong and its an instadeath. Yep, I died. And just like that I never went back to it again. Misson Failed. Until the Sega classic games started to appear on the Xbox and PlayStation. I took that game by the balls and put myself through relentless suffering as I constantly saved (hooray for that being added in) and died and reloaded and died. Eventually I got there. Do I feel vindicated? Sort of. All I can say is that anyone who found it impossible to play the remake should remember my pain with the original!

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