Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Monkey Shinobi!"

Alex Kidd has taken on plenty adventures over the years and it just doesn’t seem to stop. With the final installment in the Alex Kidd series, you take control of the monkey-like hero, but this time, you’re in a Shinobi setting that really put the game further ahead of the rest of the pack. For those of you who like the action games on the Master System and are fans of the Alex Kidd series, then you should have no problem sinking your teeth into this game. Plenty of action, detail, audio and control make for one of the best games created for the Master System, regardless of the lack of popularity that the title received!

The story takes place with Alex hitting on his woman, only to have her spirited away by an evil clan of ninjas. Now Alex, not being the type to simply sit back and let such a travesty happen, dons some ninja gear and heads off looking for his woman. Through several different stages, you’ll find that there are some pretty intense battles and the theme of the game is simply taken from the original Shinobi game. Although the story line is pretty shallow, and most of the action is easy enough to blaze through, Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is possibly one of the best in the series.

The Game Play

As with most of the other Alex Kidd games, you simply have to run through and bash whatever happens to get in your way with a myriad of ninja weapons. You’ll use a sword and spears to get through the stages and the enemies that you face off against have some pretty weird patterns and weapons to use against you. The further you get into the game, the more of the platform stages seem to turn into a themed Shinobi look-alike that has the same feel and overall play of the ninja game. The difficulty that you run into here though is pretty nil, and you should be able to run through all of the stages without any real problems.

Now, throughout your quest, you’ll be able to use magic against some of the bosses, and you may find that the use of the longer-range weapons is easier to work with than using the sword. While the sword tends to work on most of the earlier enemies, the boss characters require a little bit of strategy and timing in order to defeat. Although veterans to this type of genre should have no trouble picking up on the game, beginners might need to work with the game a little bit in order to get the right effect. Once you’ve played through the game though, you’ll find that it doesn’t have any sort of replay value that a good side-scrolling game should have!

Control isn’t an issue here though, with most of your moves being extremely easy to pull off with just a little bit of practice. Using the magic in addition to using your weapons is nothing difficult and anyone who takes just a couple of minutes through the first stage to learn the control will master it easily. The directional pad holds up fairly well throughout and the jumping is about as precise as it can be if there are no errors on the gamer’s part. In the later stages, the use of magic becomes a paramount issue, so be sure to learn how to whip out the magic spell when you need it the most!

The Visuals

The visuals that you find here in Shinobi World are nothing short of amazing. With plenty of detail and color in every stage, you’ll find that the game is simply teeming with the original Shinobi overtones. The bosses and the enemy characters that you go up against are all transplanted and then given a slightly humorous tone in order to keep with the childish feel of the Alex Kidd series. The cartoon-ish parts of the game will keep any action gamer amused for a couple of hours, though the stages themselves seem to be a little too short for my liking. You’ll see that even the smaller details such as the magic usage is something worth seeing with Alex Kidd turning into a mini-tornado!

The Audio

Most of the tracks that you’ll find throughout the title are lifted straight from the Shinobi game and placed here in Alex Kidd. However, before you start thinking that some ageless themes have been simply lifted and copied, there is a humorous tone to everything in the audio section of the game. From the boss battles to the beginning of some of the stages, those of you who have played the Shinobi line will immediately catch onto the tunes, even with the small modifications. The sound effects on the other hand have some Shinobi roots, but you’ll still find that some of the more annoying sounds such as Alex dying a horrid death is enough to make you want to scream.

The Verdict

Alex Kidd in Shinobi World is one of the best in the series and for the Master System, it is one of the key games. Although the game has been surpassed in the years since the end of the Master System line, there is enough here for anyone who likes a good action to find some comfort and fun. With plenty of references to the Shinobi game that range from the way that the game is played, to the way that it looks and sounds, fans of that series should have a ball with this. Even with the limited popularity that the game carries, it should be a definite collection piece for anyone with an old Master System laying around!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/07/02, Updated 09/07/02

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