35 years ago, before Sonic the Hedgehog was even a concept, SEGA released a video game starring a young hero with the potential to become the company's mascot. We're talking about Alex Kidd in Miracle World, a platforming adventure about a young orphan destined to save the Kingdom of Radaxian from Janken the Great, an evil alien invader who just proclaimed himself the new king. It was a successful game, kickstarting a whole franchise, but sadly, all of Alex's games were born and died in the Master System era. Now, our hero is finally out of exile, and Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is not a SEGA exclusive anymore!
One of the first things old players will notice is that the game's story has been revamped, and it even includes a short intro sequence now! In the past, the events of Alex Kidd in Miracle World were explained through specific conversations with our allies and enemies, with giant dialog boxes sometimes occupying the whole screen. In this remake, however, there's not only a new intro but also several NPC that help bring life to planet Aries—even if they've been turned into stone statues by Janken—and all dialogues have been revised. Let's be honest here, the game's plot is simple and full of clichés, but it's nice to see it has been adorned to look more appealing to the new audiences.
New Graphics and Soundtrack
The last time we played this gem was probably over 20 years ago, but the catchy soundtrack was still on our heads. Not only DX remixed these tracks, but it also includes retro versions of them that are slightly different but of much better quality. That being said, when in retro mode, it feels odd to hear some levels use different background music from the original version, so it may take you some time to accept it and get used to it.
And yes, although Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a remake with modern graphics, it also comes with a retro mode you can switch on and off just by pressing a button. This is great because if you're new to the game, you can swap between retro mode and the new graphics for a few seconds to see how the original version looked back in the '80s; or if you are older and want to play in retro mode for nostalgia reasons, you might want to turn it off and check the updated visuals in a specific segment.
You're Gonna Go Far, Kidd
There's one problem with this remake, though. It's too easy! Well, not really... allow us to explain. Just like it happens with dozens of old arcade games, Alex Kidd in Miracle World was known for its difficulty level thanks to the lack of a retry/continue system. It didn't matter what stage you were on; if you lost all your lives, you had no other option than to start over from scratch, even if you lost in the final battle. Can you imagine how frustrating that was for a kid? But hey, finally defeating Janken and saving the day felt soooo rewarding!
To make things easier, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX implements a retry feature that allows you to continue your adventure at the cost of all your money and items. Oh, and if that's still too hard for you, you can activate an infinite lives mode in the options menu! There's no way you can't beat Janken in a few hours now! And you see, that's the problem. Alex Kidd in Miracle World is a short platforming game full of tricky segments and mini-bosses you must defeat by playing rock-paper-scissors. Coming back for more after being defeated was a fundamental part of the joy, especially when every new match against Janken's minions was an enigma. In our opinion, making it easier to complete only hurts the experience and only shows how short the game actually is... but hey, you can unlock Classic Mode and Boss Rush and play a little more!
We're happy to see Alex Kidd getting some love, and we're eager to see how the gaming community reacts to this game now it's available on all modern platforms and not a SEGA exclusive anymore—remember when SEGA was in the console business?
Better storytelling, improved graphics, and a few changes here and there (some mini-bosses have slightly different mechanics now, and you can change Alex's food reward at the end of a level)... We had a blast playing Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX!