Before Sonic the Hedgehog there was Wonderboy. Before Wonderboy there was Alex Kidd. He was Sega's first mascot to compete with Nintendo's famous plumber. Chances are good that you met him in mediocre games like Alex Kidd in High Tech World, Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars, Alex Kidd BMX Trial or his Genesis outing, Alex Kidd in Enchanted Castle. But before he turned into the pansy-hippy-like guy with huge sideburns, he was the star of one of the best Master System titles released: Alex Kidd in Miracle World.
Alex doesn't look like a hippy in his first adventure. If his surname wasn't "Kidd" I would have sworn he was a little monkey without a tail. He is a nice little fellow with an enormous fist to defend himself from fearful enemies like parrots, fish, frogs and scorpions. However he is also able to pick up or buy additional weapons like magic rings, a shooting helicopter or a deadly tricycle.
For an early Master System title Alex Kidd in Miracle World is inspiring for how well this game aged. The graphics are bright and colorful; the sound effects are excellent and even the music is still catchy. It won't compete with the newest Xbox 360 games, but this adventure is a lot more fun than a lot of older games.
With a lot of early games you might have fond memories of them, but then when you revisit them they turn out to be barely playable. Alex Kidd in Miracle World is one of those games that didn't suffer from this common flaw. Alex still moves fast and the level designs are excellent. The only critical comment I can make is that estimating jumps is sometimes very hard. The control is a bit loose on this aspect, which makes it easy to jump just beside a platform what can be frustrating at times. But the additional weapons make up for this difficulty.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World isn't very easy since you are only given three lives and no continues. But when you lose a life you start from the spot you died, which I appreciated. Another memorable thing about this game are the bosses at the end of each level. Alex can't hit them, but has to oppose them by playing paper-rock-scissors, which are callend "Jankenmatches" (I believe 'Janken' is the Japanse word for the game). Since those guys always do the same, it's easy to beat them in a new game.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is noticeable for being a 22 years old game that is still as playable now as it was when it was first released. Next to games like Golden Axe, Sonic, Bubble Bobble, Phantasy Star and Ghouls 'N Ghosts, it is a classic Master System title that is still worth checking out if you're into having a good 2D experience.