Before Sonic the Hedgehog our friends Sega had Alex Kidd as their mascot. I grew up with the quirky humour of the original games on the Sega Master System (the 8-bit rival of the NES) - at the time these were some of the best games around. However by the time the Sega Genesis / Megadrive was in full force player's tastes had changed somewhat - poor old Alex had to make way to the blue speedy spikeball that was Sonic.
The gameplay is very much the standard platform hopping type of thing. You can jump, kick and punch. Simple huh? To spice things up you can save up and buy a helicopter, motorbike or even a pogo stick to get across the levels quicker. The one twist here is when you get to the end of level bad guy you don't fight him in the traditional way, rather challenge them to a game of rock, paper, scissors! It's all rather random but yet it still works (in a kind of strange way).
Alex Kidd controls a little awkwardly and the level design isn't anywhere near as cleverly designed as a Mario platformer. The one hit and die mechanics seem a little harsh at times too. Still all the elements come together to make a charming and fun game, just not a classic. Graphically, it's not really a massive leap up from the Master System titles and although the music is annoyingly catchy, only a fool would suggest that it makes full use of the hardware. This is a first-generation Megadrive / Genesis title and it shows.
Our advice is to try this if you are curious; it is a slice of Sega history after all so for that reason alone it's well worth a look - just don't go expecting a Mario-style platforming epic!