Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Review by GavLuvsGA
"An Underrated Classic"
I remember ages ago being mesmerised by "Alex Kidd in Shinobi World" for the Master System, which I watched some other kids playing. Flash forward about eight years, and I return home to find that my Mum has bought me this game from a car boot sale. So, I switch on and start to play.
Gameplay - 8/10
It's good, if flawed. Some of the levels seem a bit too easy and straightforward, but it's certainly impressive for a game that was made in 1989. Gameplay is mostly straightforward, but there are lots of cool extras - vehicles that you get to ride through the levels (a gyrocopter and a pogo stick, for example). There's also the "one hit and you're dead" system that was so popular with old games (Donkey Kong arcade for example), which provides a level of challenge seldom seen nowadays.
This game is also different from many others with the use of Janken (that's "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to you) in order to procure items. Usually this takes place in various "Janken houses" throughout the levels, but occasionally you will need to play this against a "boss". To make things a little easier, you can get a mind-reading device in certain places to help you in this task. The "bosses" themselves are a little unevenly spread - the first two suddenly show up on consecutive levels, after a long time without actually having to face one.
A lot of the levels seem like very short (compared with games of today) side-scrolling levels, but there is more to it than meets the eye - secret caverns and doorways, for example, and the game gets more interesting towards the end - with an upward scrolling level that can get very frustrating, and the final level is absolutely massive, and puts Bowsers castle to shame.
The only thing I didn't like here was a rather annoying gyrocopter level where for some reason, you are sent back to the beginning of the previous level (leaving you to scale the mountain again) if you are careless enough to get killed.
Story - 8/10
Not terribly original - Alex's father has been kidnapped, and Alex must save him. However, the story is saved by an interesting twist at the end, which I will not spoil here.
Graphics - 8/10
They're not exactly the masterpieces that the game cover suggests they might be, but again, they're way better than most other things of their time. All the levels have their own sense of identity, and the bright colours are pleasing. The visuals are often incredibly funny, particularly when a character loses at Janken and gets crushed by a large weight, leaving a pair of feet underneath. A couple of the characters look kind of weird (especially the bear guardian), but overall, the graphics are fine.
Sound - 9/10
Again, the sound is much better than almost anything else that you would have heard in those days, and considering that it's more pleasing than many tunes heard in recent games, that's quite impressive. I also like Alex's "Janken Fess" cry (or whatever it is he says) when he plays Janken.
Play Time/Replay Value - 9/10
Again, this game compares well to just about any other game made at the time. You will probably storm through the first few levels, but after that there is plenty of challenge to keep you going, and lots of replay value.
Dust off your Genesis, buy this and play it. You'll be hooked.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/29/05
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