(Wii Virtual Console / Master System)

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars (Wii Virtual Console / Master System)

Game Review

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Darren Calvert

In this platformer from the 1980s, help Alex Kidd in a race against time to find the 12 missing zodiac signs.

Before Sonic came along and propelled them into the big time, the world identified a big eared lad by the name of Alex Kidd as Sega’s answer to Mario. Alex Kidd in Miracle World was a worthy alternative to Super Mario Bros in the mid 80s and when bundled with the Sega Master System in Europe it helped shift units like hotcakes. There is no denying that Sega’s big eared protagonist had something special about him.

This game is the second in the series (excluding Japan) and is based on an arcade game which was known for its unrelenting difficulty level. The Master System port is a much more sedate affair however; there is not really any challenge to speak of whatsoever. Unfortunately the innovative multi-scrolling level designs, block smashing and vehicle riding of Miracle World have been lost in favour of standard left-to-right scrolling levels, which don’t feel as interactive anymore.

The goal of the game is to make it to the end of each stage by traversing a hostile terrain and collect a zodiac symbol. Sadly Alex’s famed BIG punch has been lost in this outing; he has no alternative to leap over a series of bizarre foes such as a naked punk rocker that farts skulls out of his bottom and a dog who literally barks BOW-WOW at you. It seems like a backwards step to emasculate Alex Kidd in this way, he should be dishing out the pain, not hopping about like a pansy! You can pick up a power-up so you can shoot at enemies, but the game design is spaced out for you to jump over everything without too much trouble, so why bother?

Unlike the arcade game, Alex no longer has the traditional 3 lives – now you are essentially playing against the timer. A collision with an enemy or falling off the screen will reduce the time, or warp you back a few screens. The result is a game which is insulting easy to complete in a couple of hours with no real effort whatsoever. There are only six levels which loop a second time with a higher difficulty level in order to make twelve levels in total before you get to see the final ending.

The graphics are bright and colourful, but lack the charm of Miracle World’s more detailed sprite work. The backgrounds and enemies are so weird and wonderful that this isn’t really a concern. The music is the usual jolly 3-channel ditty which goes with the territory with Master System games and there is even some rough sounding 80s digitised speech thrown in here for good measure which would have impressed at the time.

Conclusion

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars was a missed opportunity by Sega to build up the reputation of the Alex Kidd series. It completely dismisses all the elements which made the original so much fun to play and opts for a lazy Wonder Boy style platform jump-a-thon but without any sense of challenge or fun. Things don’t get much better when Alex visits High Tech World in his next Master System outing either. It’s not difficult to see why eventually Sega would look elsewhere for a mascot worthy of representing their brand. Oh Alex, you’ve made a fool of yourself!

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User Comments (45)

That_Guy_from_Faxana

#2

That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

The first Alex Kid game may be a bit overrated in my book, but still enjoyable. It kept me wondering about the sequels, and now I guess I should stay away. Judging from the review and filmclip it´s a dull affair, competing with Hi- Tech World about being the worst game to bear the Alex Kid name. Pity about the lad, hope Shinobi World is okay at least.

Digiki

#3

Digiki said:

I haven't played it, but it doesn't look 3/10 brutal, the only thing that I can see from the review to push it to that conclusion is the length.

Adamant

#4

Adamant said:

Hi-Tech World isn't a real Alex Kidd game, anyway.
And it's somewhat doubtful it will se a VC release.

Terra

#6

Terra said:

Hardcore Gaming 101. Where would we be without it? Lost, that's where.

Anyway, 3/10 seems a bit low for this. Sure, it ain't great but i don't think it's that bad, having played it years ago. 4 or 5 maybe but not a 3.

Cheezy

#7

Cheezy said:

I don't think it's a bad game, at least the arcade version anyway.

Doogle

#8

Doogle said:

A 3/10 seems just about right to me, I remember this monstrosity from when I was a nipper. I inherited my older bros Master System II and this game. It really is a horrible mess to play with terrible collision detection and stupid gameplay where you have to jump over everything. It's so annoying when you just want to bounce on heads Mario style. I'd probably give it a 2/10 myself actually!

Adamant

#9

Adamant said:

@Dazza "That's like saying that Super Mario Bros 2 should not be accepted into the holy canon of Mario"

Well, SMB2 was eventually released in Japan as a Mario game, and material from the game has been used in many later games. Hi-Tech World was not only never released as an Alex Kidd game in Japan, but what little plot there is is directlycontracticted by Enchanted castle. Plus, it's original version is a licensed game they won't put on the Japanese VC, making it rather unlikely they'll release it elsewhere too.

KeeperBvK

#11

KeeperBvK said:

"Plus, it's original version is a licensed game they won't put on the Japanese VC, making it rather unlikely they'll release it elsewhere too."

Cratermaze is a Doraemon game in Japan, so they haven't got it on VC yet, but we (unfortunately) did get Cratermaze, so it might very well happen again.

brooks83

#13

brooks83 said:

Who knows KnucklesSonic, maybe you might disagree with the score they gave. I know you were really wanting this to come out, maybe you should still try it out anyways

Yasume

#14

Yasume said:

Drake:

"After Miracle World the Alex Kidd games really started getting worse with every installment. This one is still ok, but don't bother with the rest, if they release them!"

Based on this comment, I'd say that if Drake reviewed this game it had probably scored a 6 or 7.

DrakeStaff

#15

Drake said:

I'd probably have given it a 5, it's just barely acceptable in my book!

Will

#16

Will said:

I moved out of my old house three months ago. I have been living without a broadband connection in my new home now for that time, still monitering this site from work. In that time....... NOTHING has been released for VC to make me miss my Wii being online. But these last few weeks have been particularly poor. Sigh, I live in hope for Revenge of Shinobi...

marktheshark

#18

marktheshark said:

@17, That guy from Faxanadu

Like that's gonna happen, there's a few people out there who would want to see High Tech World come to the VC.

KnucklesSonic8

#20

KnucklesSonic8 said:

@brooks83: Mostly because I never tried an Alex Kidd game before but always wanted to. The RPS bosses were a turn-off for me from getting the first one. XD I may come around though.

But I dunno if it's worth risking points especially when I'm being very cautious lately whilst I'm trying to save.

@Will: Not even Ogre Battle? I mean, I'm not getting it but everyone's been praising it highliy.

Viral

#21

Viral said:

@Will: I was wondering about your lack of witty comments. :)

Overall, I think that this game is a miss rather than a hit in my books. I've downloaded the two that are already available in the UK and don't like either one of them (my wife likes one of them). Back to finishing Adventures of Lolo 2 : Castle level! :)

Bass_X0

#22

Bass_X0 said:

The RPS bosses were a turn-off for me from getting the first one.

They were easy once you knew that they used the same pattern every time but that the pattern changes if you get one wrong. I listed the correct move you had to do for each round of each boss on the Alex Kidd page. Look it up and make a note of them if you get it.

Bass_X0

#24

Bass_X0 said:

I would and have. I never played this one though but the first one sounds better.

Twilight_Crow

#26

Twilight_Crow said:

A 3 :O, a thought this was gonna be a 6, what a shame, I like how it looks and all the jumping, but if it is that short I'll have to pass.

@KS8
I totally recommend you Miracle World, forget the bosses (just follow BASS X0's instructions on them :P) the level designs are just great imo, I found them challenging and entertaining; the vehicles are nice, and it's just so colorful, I simply love that game :).

Viral

#29

Viral said:

It's not fun. My wife has all the cheats written down on the actual Master System in the attic...

Wii_is_MYcrack

#31

Wii_is_MYcrack said:

Actual Master System in the attic!
What a place for a classic piece of hardware.
I have all my old consoles plugged in, set up, and ready to play on a bookcase.

What a shame to read

brooks83

#32

brooks83 said:

I bought Alex Kidd in Miracle World last June because of how hyped it was, and I played it once and didn't like it and regretted buying it. I haven't given it another chance since then until tonight. I played it again and I have to say it actually is pretty fun! If you download it, don't be like me and give up on it early on, give it a chance and you will really like it.

President_Leever

#33

President_Leever said:

Why didn't they just skip this port for the arcade original? 2-player mode, better challenge, better sound. 'tis redundant!

Viral

#34

Viral said:

@31: Yes, it's in the attic. I'm in the process of trying to buy a house so it will be given it's proper attention when we've bought our new home. I'll also have to get Altered Beast out...that game always makes me laugh.

Viral

#37

Viral said:

@Will: Loves it completely :D

Yeah, I finally broke down and ordered Metroid Prime 3 for £7.50, talk about a steal right?

Shinnok

#38

Shinnok said:

So, here's an interesting question. Did anybody actually download this game?

Viral

#40

Viral said:

Poor guy Metroid133....that sucks. I'm actually waiting for Metroid Prime 3 to arrive this week and hopefully I finish Zack & Wiki before it gets here. :)

KnucklesSonic8

#41

KnucklesSonic8 said:

I tried a ROM of this just yesterday to see and boy is it annoying to hear "AAAAAHHHHH!!" whenever Alex Kidd gets damaged...

Metroid133

#43

Metroid133 said:

Guys it isn't that bad. :P Is it easy? YES! :P It does have some redeeming qualities....the music is somewhat good. Good thing its only 500 points. _

Roo

#45

Roo said:

I quite liked this, but can see where the reviewer was coming from. Not so sure about the 3/10 though...

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