SEGA Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd in Miracle World (PSN)

Did you know that SEGA had lots of other mascot characters before Sonic the Hedgehog came along? Some include Opa-Opa, the spaceship with wings and feet (from Fantasy Zone), as well as the bird Flicky (who also appears in many Sonic games). Another SEGA mascot from days of yore was Alex Kidd, who starred in a lot of 2-D platformers during the 8-bit and early 16-bit years. Now you can play his first adventure, originally on the SEGA Master System: Alex Kidd in Miracle World, downloadable on PSN.

The first Alex Kidd game is your typical 8-bit 2-D platformer. Our pointy-eared hero hops and bops his way through colorful worlds filled with crazy enemies and an infectious little tune that’ll get stuck in your head whether you like it or not! Aside from jumping, Alex Kidd’s main attack is punching enemies, boulders, and blocks with his ginormous fist. Sometimes he’ll hop on a motorcycle or helicopter for some vehicular fun. He can collect items to help him pass obstacles, and every so often he’ll have to challenge a baddie to a game of rock-paper-scissors. It’s clear that Alex Kidd was SEGA’s answer to Super Mario Bros.

Of course, due to its age, Alex Kidd in Miracle World isn’t without a few frustrations. It’s a one-hit-and-you-die game, and hit detection can be spotty sometimes. After you lose all your lives, you have to start from the beginning. There is a way to continue, but it’s a chore. Plus the rock-paper-scissors battles are just plain dumb. So while it was SEGA’s answer to Mario, it’s pretty clear as to why Mario won out in the end.

The neat thing about this downloadable version is that SEGA didn’t just slap the game up on PSN, they added an easy to navigate option-filled menu with goodies and extras. You can choose to play the US, Master System II, Japan, or European versions of the game. Select your screen size and button layout, read a well-written in-game manual, challenge a trial mode and upload scores to a leaderboard, listen to the game’s tunes, and more! Not to mention new trophies to earn. It’s similar to how SNK handles their PSN Neo-Geo arcade classics.

The same game is actually also available on Xbox LIVE as well, and it’s a better deal as you get two other games in the same package (Super Hang-On and Revenge of Shinobi) for 800 points. You can get those games on PSN, but you have to buy them separately. While I can think of much better classics, if you’re one of the five kids who owned a Master System and loved Alex Kidd, it may be worth the low price of this downloadable version for a quick bit of SEGA nostalgia.

Kid Factor:

Alex Kidd in Miracle World is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Comic Mischief. But it’s as safe as any Mario game. No reading skill is needed, and classics like this are easy to figure out and great for pick up and play gaming. Some might find it frustrating and difficult, though.

In the comments section, tell me some of your favorite non-Sonic SEGA characters.  Mine are Pengo, Opa-Opa, Tyris Flare, Ristar, Blaze, the Bonanza Bros., and Ulala from Space Channel 5!

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