Alex Kid in Miracle World DX is a work halfway between the remastering and the remake. It is absolutely faithful to the original game without modifying its gameplay, but it qualifies its narrative, adds a new artistic and musical style, and brings new ways of playing it that add more depth to a mythical game.
Anyone who has owned a Master System 2 will fondly remember Alex Kidd in Miracle World. My first console was a Mega Drive, but Dani, one of my best friends, I had a Master System with this Alex Kidd. It was a tradition to spend weekend after weekend learning each rock-paper-scissors sequence, analyzing the movements of the enemies, calculating how many bags of money we had to take in each phase to be able to buy objects, and testing, testing and testing to be able to pass the game without dying. The original Alex Kid was published in 1986. In those years, video game design was not like it is now. The available hardware offered much less memory to program, the inspiration came from the game rhythms of the arcade machines, and the usability or the way to guide the player was not as friendly as now. Before, video games they wanted you to die over and over again, that you start the game again from the beginning, that you memorize everything that happened in each level, and that you reach the end using that mixture of memory, skill and patience. Dani and I managed to finish up, like this, Alex Kid after months of fun suffering. Yes, I said “months”, and that an Alex Kidd game, if you never die, it doesn’t last an hour.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a revision of the original that has kept this spirit absolutely intact. Enemy hit boxes are still very cruel; a light touch and you’re dead. Alex’s jump is still long and, many times, imprecise and with a slip when landing that knows how to drive you crazy until you master it. His punch has a laugh range; Its area of effect is so limited that you will have to stick so much to the final bosses that you they will kill by mere proximity. There are phases that last a breath and others so extremely frustrating that you will want to turn off the game and never turn it on again. Because that’s how video games used to be. They wanted you to die to squeeze out that short duration that the hardware of the eighties allowed them to implement. Knowing this, the Jankenteam development team, in charge of this revision project, could rectify all these qualities that today are seen as deficiencies. But that would be killing Alex Kidd, it would be turning him into a totally different game. Alex Kidd in Miracle World has to be like this today, yesterday and tomorrow: cruel and very arcade. And that remains.
That does not mean that this DX has nothing new or that Jankenteam has not done anything, on the contrary. In fact, it is one of the revisions of a game of the time that more affection, pampering and good sense has. To begin with, it proposes a new approach to the game, an infinite lives mode that allows you to be reborn in the place where you were killed. I wish we had this way Dani and I to train with the game. It is the best way to start playing, because it allows you to go through the whole adventure, know the title and know what you are up against.
It is one of the revisions of a game of the time with more affection, care and good senseOnce you have dispatched the game like this, the decisive moment arrives: get over it in its original mode. And you will have to, because the infinite lives mode does not allow you to extract all the achievements. To practice for this modality, you have an option to face directly with the bosses. In other words, Jankenteam has built a very, very comfortable bridge for that difficulty of 1986 to be maintained, but being able to face it little by little, at your own pace and without getting overly angry with the game. In this way, and without getting into matters of artistic or musical redesigns, they have made this DX version the best way to play Miracle World in 2021
A nice game with great music
Getting into the repainting work already done, I can only applaud the work of the studio. A colorful pixel art has been used, full of energy, with great force, rounded elements, color and personality. The redesign of bosses, castles and stages It is spectacular. It is a work that gives the title of Master System a sense of a cohesive world, and the adventure of Alex Kidd a very careful travel tone. The same can be said for music. It is stupendous. But there is something else.
The game, by pressing a button, allows change graphic style back to 1986 original. So we can see how the game was before and how it is now. In addition, and in a demonstration of good sense, the Jankenteam team is fully aware that if you make everything more beautiful and current, you also have to reinforce the narrative. And now, Alex Kidd is not a set of pixels without a mouth, and the bosses have much more expression. That is why in this DX there is a story that is told more clearly, a HUD that tells us how many lives we have left and how much money we carry. Dialogues and presentation of characters have been adjusted, and even NPCs that were not there before, more phases and extra content have been added. And if we switch to the classic graphics mode, all this has also been added. It is so well integrated that I have had to watch games of the time to make sure that these new dialogues weren’t there before.
Once we get through the game like this, we can unlock the retro mode, in which the classic adventure is shown intact. As you can see, there is a lot of love, head and heart in this game. But does that mean that this is a title for everyone? No, it’s not that either. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a video game designed for those who enjoyed the title at the time and they want to meet him again.
The truth is that the original video game has not aged well at allThe truth is that the original game hasn’t aged well at all. The level design is poor, the challenges are unbalanced, and it contains nothing at the video game level that is memorable to remember today. I mean that if you play Super Mario Bros or Sonic today, there are things that will continue to hallucinate you. Alex Kidd is a character to remember for his history as a Sega mascot prior to the appearance of the hedgehog, for almost having been a Dragon Ball game and for having been etched in the guts of Master System II. That is why Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is sensational for nostalgia and even for studying the original video game. However, it is not a cool retro video game without design issues.
But Jankenteam’s job, its mission and its vision was not to redesign this title, but to return it in the best way to our hands with all its flavor intact. And they have done that in an unbeatable, commendable way and even with good sense when it comes to asking us how much we should pay for this review. Its way of infinite lives to make a first approach, the redesign of its visual and sound aspect, and even the nuance of its narrative to give more packaging to the adventure, are elements put there by a group of developers and artists who love the original. . And for those who love it as much as they do, it is for those that this game is absolutely recommended. It was made for them, for Dani and for me. So thank you, Jankenteam.