Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX Preview: Another Classic from the Brutal Past Returns
Alex Kidd is the latest series from Sega’s 8- and 16-bit era to get the modern-day remastering treatment. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a revamping of the 8-bit Sega Master System platformer. The full game releases on June 24, but we checked out a demo to see how things are coming along.
The three levels included showed off the variety of gameplay at work in Miracle World. The focus is primarily on familiar platform running and jumping with lots of block smashing. Gold blocks reveal coins used to buy things in the shop and power-up items. A variety of enemies populate the landscape waiting to be punched or just avoided, and there are plenty of regular blocks that can be destroyed or jumped on.
Being a fairly straightforward and faithful recreation of a game from 1986, the gameplay here is very familiar for anyone who’s played a side-scrolling platformer in the intervening 30+ years. Admittedly, a lot has changed since then and Alex Kidd is more than happy to vividly display how things used to be. Alex, despite being a martial arts master, is also a one-hit kill sort of guy. As in, he gets hit once and it kills him.
Unlike Mario, he also can’t bounce on top of enemies to kill them, which just feels wrong at this point. What Alex can do is find (or purchase) power-ups to give him an advantage in this harsh, unforgiving Miracle World. Shields, power attacks, and other goodies all provide a temporary edge.
Some of those goodies are vehicles. The demo included two levels where Alex purchases a ride. One is a motorcycle that allows you to plow through enemies and jump obstacles. Another is a sort of helicopter balloon thing that turned the level into something resembling a shoot ‘em up. What’s interesting about these levels is they’re still platformer-centric and getting the vehicle is optional.
The vehicles can be destroyed as well, leaving Alex to run and jump the rest of the way. It’s an interesting spark of creativity that still holds up after all this time.
Another fun option is being able to switch between the original 8-bit version of the game and the new version at any time. Just press a button to see Alex in his original, primitive pixelated glory.
The new graphics, on the other hand, have managed a remarkably good compromise between the old days and modern tech. Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is still very much in the 2D-pixel art style, but the modern palette of color and high detail makes it look superb. The gameplay itself feels accurate to the original, with exacting, unforgiving jumps and attacks, multiple boss battles, and instant death everywhere.
The DX version does expand on the original game (which, incidentally, can be found in the Sega Ages collection on the Switch) in some key ways. For one thing, this version will have new and expanded levels with more story, enemies, and refined boss fights. There’s also a new "boss rush" mode for those who just really like beating up large angry things.
Much like the recent Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World, Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is shaping up to be a lovingly redone version of a game from a bygone era. Stay tuned for more.