Another old mascot, Alex Kidd, gets a sequel thanks to the fans
Going hard on the Janken.
In the wake of the glory of Sonic Mania, it feels right to quickly highlight another piece of (unofficial) work that's come out recently and turned a few people's heads. A man by the name of Ian8bit has come out with the final version of his sequel to Alex Kidd in Miracle World that's called Alex Kidd in Miracle World 2 (naturally) -- he's had the idea for 5 years, been working on it for two, and as far as ROM hacks go it's not only pretty good, but it's also not Sonic or Mario!
It is certainly nice to see Alex, the charming looking saviour of Radaxian and master of Janken himself, get some love. He was after all, Sega's big mascot back in the 8-bit days, when Alex Kidd in Miracle World hit the Master System and became one of the system's best games. Following this original game however, Alex went off in various strange directions with varying results -- there was a quick BMX game made for the Sports Pad (BMX Trial), a perfectly acceptable Arcade platformer (Lost Stars), a terrible platform/adventure hybrid hacked out from a Japanese licensed game (High-Tech World), and a fantastic crossover title (Shinobi World). Finally, there was Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, his only 16-bit outing and one that was basically an inferior retread of Miracle World, before Alex, Opa Opa and the rest of the 8-bit mascots were retired in favour of one spiky blue hedgehog. Alex Kidd is kind of obscure in the US and Japan, but due to the Master System's popularity over here and Miracle World being the built-in game on most Master Systems, he is something of a well known retro icon in the UK and other Master System-loving countries.
Miracle World 2 follows much the same formula as the original game, with a few little graphical improvements here and there. You still get the usual power-ups -- Alex can do things like ride bikes and pedalcopters around and shoot fireballs out of his exceptionally large fists with the right boost, there's still the emphasis on quick Mario-sized levels with the odd bigger one thrown in, and naturally you can expect to see a fair bit of Janken too. The creator, Ian8bit, has given credit to a program called KiddEd (created by Calindro) for giving him the ability to realise this sequel to the game -- something that provides some proper Alex Kidd action when the original series itself didn't exactly end up producing all that much.
Being that this is a ROM hack, Alex Kidd in Miracle World 2 for the fair price of absolutely nothing, and it can be downloaded right here. The ROM's easily playable on your emulator of choice, or the more faithful might want to slap it on a flashcart and play it on your Master System or Mega Drive. As a rom hack that not only gives a character that's not as well known as most a bit more life and also stays true to the original game's design and vision whilst providing the odd twist and original music into the bargain, Miracle World 2 is certainly worth taking a look at. Just try not to get the old Janken theme stuck in your head while you do it.