Alex Kidd: High Tech World (Sega Master System)

September 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

alexkiddhightech1To the arcade!Alex Kidd: High Tech World -- Ninjas??

Having been a Nintendo kid, I find the Alex Kidd series kind of strange.  If I had to use one word to describe it, I think it would be “disjointed.”  This probably stems from the fact that a couple of entires in the series are actually just rebranded versions of other games.  (In fact, Sega’s other early franchise series, Wonder Boy, has a similar history.)  The series kicked off in a not-so-disjointed fashion with a couple of standard platformers: Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars.  But then it just turned kind of weird after that.  There was an odd Japan-only BMX game, which I know almost nothing about, and then there were Alex Kidd: High Tech World and Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.

Alex Kidd: High Tech world is actually a rebranded version of a Japanese Master System game called “Anmitsu Hime: From Amakara Castle,” a game based off of some anime I’ve never heard of.  Naturally, the US anime-audience being what it was in the 80s, that was not going to sell over here.  So, Sega slapped their mascot onto the game and called it a day.

But, what is it, exactly?  It’s actually a fairly interesting combination of adventure and platforming.  But instead of being an adventure/platformer, it’s literally a set of alternating sections of gameplay.  Sega also managed to throw a few tongue-in-cheek self-references into the mix, too.  In fact, the basic premise is that you’ve just found out from your friend that there’s a new arcade in town and you really want to go play the new Sega arcade games.  And you have to get there before 5:00, with the clock ticking the entire time.

The first section is an adventuring section where you have to find all 8 pieces of a map that will lead you to the arcade.  The second section is a platforming section where you work your way through the woods, battling ninjas (why the hell are ninjas trying to stop me from getting to the arcade, anyway?).  The third section is back to adventuring, where you’re in town and you need to find a pass to get through the city gate.  The fourth (and final) section is another trek through the woods where you battle more ninjas and various wildlife.

So, is it any good?  I mean, I like adventure games.  I like platformers.  Alternating between the two is kind of a cool idea.  But unfortunately, it’s not so hot in execution.  So yeah… It’s alright, I guess.  It’s a neat idea, and I like all the Sega references, but it could have been a lot better.

The main problems are that the adventure sections are filled with instant death-traps and obtuse puzzles, while the platforming sections are just kinda tedious.  And on top of all that, it’s a very short game.  Giving me the option of putting on armor and immediately killing me when I do is not cool.  Neither is giving me no outward indication that a staircase is broken until I go down it, thus killing me.  And a puzzle where the solution is to pray at an altar 100 times in a row?  How the hell am I supposed to figure that out?? (This made me think of Takeshi’s Challenge…. Oh, and I also don’t care that I just spoilered that puzzle because you never would have figured it out on your own, anyway.)

As for the platforming sections, they’re short and difficult.  You will die a lot, and you will repeat what essentially amounts to about two minutes of gameplay over and over.  And then you will learn the patterns and it will be easy.  At that point, the platforming sections will last you all of… Well… Two minutes.  In fact, once you learn both the adventuring and platforming sections, I suspect the entire game could be completed in about 15 minutes!

Final Thoughts: It was a cool concept — melding classic adventure and platforming gameplay into a single game.  Unfortunately, it kinda feels like the developers just phoned it in.  Add in a few more adventuring sections (with more reasonable puzzles) and a few more platforming sections (that are based less on memorization) and you might have a pretty good game.  But as it stands, Alex Kidd: High Tech World feels more like a prototype for a potentially good game than an actual good game.  Play it if you’re curious, otherwise, you can safely skip it.

Alex Kidd: High Tech World -- AdventuringAlex Kidd: High Tech World -- Status ScreenAlex Kidd: High Tech World -- Platforming

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About Tim
My name is Tim. I live in Madison, WI. I'm a retro gamer.

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