Virtual Console Wrap-up – 3/9

Last week saw the release of a rather rare and classic game in Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. In fact, the releases have been pretty good for the past few weeks. Now, if you’re like me, you’re thinking, “Hey, where’s the mediocrity?” Well, it seems Nintendo thought that too, because this week, we’re getting Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars. Well, zip-a-dee-doo-dah, how exciting. What does the rest of DHGF think?

Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
System: Sega Master System
Original Release Date: 1988
Price: 500 Wii Points

Bryan Berg: I was one of the roughly 2000 people in America who grew up with the Sega Master System instead of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Any one of those 2000 people can tell you how awesome Alex Kidd was. He was Sega’s first mascot, predating Sonic The Hedgehog by about five years. He was in a ton of games for the Master System, games that were pretty cool for its time. But that’s the problem – these games were great 20 years ago, but haven’t held up too well over time. Need proof? Check out the Alex Kidd game that appears on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection and try to play it for more than ten minutes. Then, imagine a game with crappier graphics, sound, and gameplay, and you have the Alex Kidd series for Sega Master System. Look, if you want to play Alex Kidd, lay out the $30 and play it (and 40 other games) on the Genesis collection. Don’t feel bad about skipping this one – unless you grew up with Alex Kidd and still have sentimental attachment to the series (I, for one, do not), there’s no real reason to check this game out.

Christopher Bowen: I remember saying that the Alex Kidd that came out a couple months ago wasn’t worth the money because it hasn’t transferred well over time. Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars, in my eyes, is even worse. I remember playing the Arcade version awhile ago, and the only notable thing about it – other than the drifty controls and the cheap hits – was the machine telling me “THE CUSTOMER IS KING” whenever I dropped in a coin. Those elements transfer themselves to the Master System, and make a platformer that was OK for it’s time, but certainly not very good now with better options available.

There are only two games worth playing with Alex Kidd in them: the first is Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, and the second is Segagaga. Everything else is rubbish. And I might play Shinobi World later and determine that I don’t even like that, so beware on that note.

Nathan Birch: Well after a couple weeks of interesting stuff, we’re back to our regularly scheduled VC program; trickling out the backlog of Master System ROMs Sega dumped off on them at a rate of 1-a-week.

So anyways, Alex Kidd…the last one on the VC (Miracle World) was kind of okay-ish. Some of us really liked it (although I didn’t)! So this one must be okay too, right? Well no. Alex Kidd is a horribly inconsistent series.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World knew it was an 8-bit game and worked well within those confines, while The Lost Stars on the other hand desperately wants to be a 16-bit game. The spirtes are too big, the graphics are over-rendered and garish, and the game is filled with horrible horrible 8-bit voice samples (you’ll want to erase the game from your Wii after a minute of hearing the noise Alex makes when he’s hit by something). All the complexity of Miracle World is gone, you just run from left to right jumping over horribly designed enemies.

So yeah, pass on this one. Oh and Nintendo, if you insist on sticking us with Master system games, at least give us Phantasy Star. You know it’s the only Master System game people still give the slightest damn about.

Ashe Collins: Alex who? Wow. And here I thought we were on a roll of decent games coming out for the VC. Guess they’re going for scraping the cesspool of sewage that’s flowing into my basement from the sewer right at this very minute.

Yay.



Mark B.: On one hand, I really don’t get the consistent and less-than-subtle Master System loathing over the past few months, since that’s what I grew up with and all, so I’m going to pretty much state, for the record, the game isn’t as bad as all THAT now.

On the other hand, as I said when discussing inferior sequels back in September of last year, “Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars was an arcade game based on the Alex Kidd character that had about zero to do with the original game, but at least featured two-player co-op and would have probably been a tolerable way to waste ten minutes in the arcade. As a console game, however, aside from the fact that it lacked the two-player gameplay of its arcade counterpart, The Lost Stars was particularly disappointing because it was a MASSIVE step down from the original game. Gone was the puzzling complexity of some of the stages. Gone were the usable items like the pedalcopter and the bracelet that shot energy. Gone was Alex’s ability to fight enemies without some type of power-up. Gone were the vertically-scrolling stages. Gone was any of the challenge of the original game (in The Lost Stars, death only reduced your stage timer a bit, and you popped up right where you died, meaning you could simply eat a death or two to get through the stage faster if you were so inclined). The end result was a game where you ran from the left to the right as fast as possible, avoiding everything in your path, to beat the game. That’s it. For fans of the original game, it was a huge step backwards and a major slap in the face.

In other words, you’ll play this, at most, twice, maybe, and get bored with it. Buy Alex Kidd in Miracle World instead, if you haven’t already. I don’t care what anyone says, THAT game is still good times.

And on Wii Ware this week, we finally get Gradius ReBirth, which looks amazing and, even though it’s twice as much at 1000 points, I say go for that instead.

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